Living in the UK, you will be no stranger to the Big Brother phenomena. Once a “social experiment” it’s now a platform on a lesser channel (After moving from Channel 4 to Channel 5) for former celebrities to get a second wind and unknown glamour models to get a push into the Z-List limelight. Still, there’s a handful of us that still give it airtime and this year its easy to see why.
January always heralds the start of the “celebrity” version of the stalwart reality show. This years offerings have come in the form of the usual ex-footballers and ageing boy band members. In a vain attempt to “celebrate” the centenary of the women’s vote, the decision was made to send all female ensemble into the house for the first few days. Amongst them ex-MP Ann Widdecombe, Veteran actress Amanda Barrie, Jess Impiazzi from Ex on the Beach, Rochdale Grooming Gang DC Maggie Oliver, Made in Chelsea’s Ashley James, Journalist Rachel Johnson, Mate of the Kardashians Malika Haqq. And India Willoughby.
India Willoughby made history by becoming the first trans woman in the world to present an all-female talk show. She is also a respected journalist and BBC news broadcaster. Born as Jonathan in 1967, India has a teenage son named Rhodes who she is currently “giving space”. She described her relationship with her son as different now since he could no longer refer to her as “Dad”.
But it appears that her son might not be the only one needing their space from the opinionated trans parent. Despite her struggles with gender identity it appears that India has a few prejudices of her own. When the time came for the male housemates to enter the CBB house, India was horrified to discover that one of them was a *GASP* Drag Queen!
Shane Jenek, also known as Courtney Act had already made a bold introduction during a major wardrobe malfunction as he entered the house. But he was warmly received by the existing housemates, save for one. India had already been melodramatic about several issues prior to Jenek entering the house. But his flamboyant nature and quirkyness was just too much for drag-phobic Willoughby.
On monday nights episode Jenek decided to drag up his fellow housemate Andrew Brady, and by all accounts he looked absolutely fabulous. Brady was blown away by the transformation and relished the opportunity to strut around with a glitter beard. Willoughby took the opportunity to steal the limelight. Becoming increasingly traumatized by the sight, she sat with her sunshades on insisting that she was going to keep her eyes closed. She then burst into tears and left the room before climbing into bed. Of course, it didn’t go unnoticed.
Calling his alter-ego “Betty Swallocks”, Brady confessed his new-found respect for women. “I have got some much respect for you girls, I shit you not.” The apprentice star said.
Andrew eventually changed from his alter-ego back into himself, and apologised to India if he’d offended her. India later came into the lounge area and said: ‘I want to explain why that upset me.’
‘I didn’t mean to upset you,’ said Andrew.
‘Well, it did,’ she replied. ‘I am a woman – not a special type of woman, a woman, okay?’ She continued: ‘A man walking into a room in a dress, inviting laughter, upsets me particularly, just because of my background. ‘I’ve got something called gender dysphoria, which is like something you can only resolve with medical intervention, and that’s what I’ve had to do. So somebody coming in dressed like that freaks me out. Transexual people with gender dysphoria have suffered over the years, a lot of laughter, and I know it’s not meant that way, that people who perform drag don’t do it intentionally… I just want to make it apparent to you why I got upset.”
Well, India, if you were just a regular run of the mill kind of woman why the upset? Is it possibly because you aren’t a regular run of the mill woman and are in fact a trans woman who finds the act of men dressing as women a little too close to home? Or is it another ruse to grasp the limelight? It appears that Miss Willoughby wants acceptance as a “real woman” quite badly, but wont allow her status as a trans woman to be forgotten either. Which hand does she want the glove on today?
As with most things, not is all as it seems. India’s own Twitter pays homage to several drag acts at Harrogate Pride.
One of the drag queens in the image even commented, saying that India seemed to have no problem when they posed for a pic together.
Whatever the truth is, India Willoughby is either a highly effected victim of her own demeanour or the show is just a platform for a dramatic caricature of herself. Either way, she’s certainly stirring the pot of the 2018 CBB house.