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Forget India Willoughby’s CBB ignorance and praise Courtney Act instead

OPINION: Genderqueer student Darren Mew is thankful to Courtney Act for using Celebrity Big Brother to talk about those beyond gender binaries

Forget India Willoughby’s CBB ignorance and praise Courtney Act instead
Darren Mew says lets focus on the good narratives about gender coming out from Big Brother | Photo: Channel 5

India Willoughby gained a lot of respect as a journalist, BBC presenter, and activist. Not to mention when she became the first trans woman on Loose Women.

However, since going into the Celebrity Big Brother house she has caused controversy.

Initially, she claimed that gender fluid people ‘cheapen’ the experience of transgender people.

Going on to say, ‘For people like me, it’s not a part-time thing and not a choice. That word ‘transgender’ can mean anything from RuPaul to someone who’s Bob one day and Barbara another day, and I think that cheapens the seriousness of it.’

This caused a big storm on social media with people calling out Willoughby for her ignorance.

There is a big difference between transgender people and gender-fluid people. Many transgender people don’t even like to be put under the non-binary umbrella term – which is understandable.

The whole ‘drag’ situation

The Loose Woman then attacked ‘drag’ after one of the housemates Shane Jenek went into the house. Also known as the drag icon Courtney Act, they put another housemate in drag.

After getting put into drag for two hours, Apprentice contestant Andrew Brady, showed off in full out drag.

Willoughby didn’t like this. Hurling all sorts of abuse at the housemates for laughing at the transformation.

After running away from the room, the 51-year-old said that she was upset because: ‘I’m a woman, not what [he thinks] a woman! Not a man. A man walked into the room in a dress, and everyone laughed at it.

‘I’ve got something called gender dysphoria, which you can only resolve with medical attention. Someone coming in dressed that way, freaks me out.’

As social media never forgets, viewers were quick to call out that out. Willoughby had actually worked with and taken selfies with drag queens in the past.

They aired there confused and content towards the journalist, calling her a ‘liar’ and ‘disrespectful’.

Celebrity Big Brother’s genderfluid grace

However, the focus really needs to be on the ray of sunshine in the house that is Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act.

The gender-fluid, drag queen has been teaching the housemates and viewers on the gender spectrum, LGBTI issues – and generally just being an amazing role model.

She has had many conversations with housemates, educating them in a calm, kind and compassionate manner without attacking anyone or getting offended.

After being in the top three in season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Courtney didn’t get the best response as her portrayal on the season came off as a tad brash.

Since the show, however, she has spoken out on gender and sexuality so many times.

Recently, her bandmate Willam made someone misjudged transphobic comments. So Courtney took the time then, to educate the fellow drag queen.

Voice of reason

In her short time in the Big Brother house, Courtney has become a voice of reason and education, speaking about gender on a national level.

Explaining to fellow housemates, Shane Lynch, Ginuwine and John Barnes that India felt “uncomfortable” with Courtney when she first entered as “she struggles with a little bit is that someone might see me and see her and think that we’re the same thing.”

She then went on to explain why India was never a drag queen, what transitioning is and finished off by explaining what her gender identity was.

The best thing about this conversation Courtney had with her cis-gendered housemates? They didn’t mock or show any form of hatred toward India or Courtney’s identities. But rather sat, listened and expanded their minds.

Although it’s sad to see India Willoughby clearly struggling with some unresolved issues about her identity. As well as her place in the LGBTI community, what we need to be celebrating and focusing on is how Courtney (Shane) is educating a nation and giving a positive representation for non-binary people.

Courtney Act has already made her mark in the Celebrity Big Brother house and will go down as one of the most positive non-binary and LGBTI representations the house and the UK has seen.

On the inside track as National Student Pride’s press officer – I’m hoping an appearance might be in order?

Because Miss Act, we thank you!

Follow Darren on social media: @WhatDarrenSaid

Read more by Darren on Gay Star News:

Why wearing makeup is my way of putting a finger up to gender roles

Let’s make 2018 the year the non-binary community is embraced


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