Blogger Chrissy says she knows why India Willoughby reacted so angrily to being misgendered.
So, this year’s Celebrity Big Brother has already brought us it’s first eviction. From a personal viewpoint, I felt sad that India Willoughby, an openly Trans Woman, was so swiftly ejected from the house. Public opinion towards her seemed particularly negative and even nasty at times. One might argue that her behaviour in the house did little to warm her to the nation, but I would counter that this is missing a huge point.
WATCH RUPAUL STAR PEPPERMINT GIVE HER ONG EXCLUSIVE RESPONSE TO INDIA’S TREATMENT IN THE HOUSE
India’s time in the CBB house was most definitely measured by her perceived difference from the other housemates. As the sole Transgender participant, she found herself in a social no-man’s land that was clearly defined by the gender binary.
Even the premise this year pits Females against Males. The house seemed to have great difficulty fully understanding which camp she sat in. On the one hand, they claimed to accept her as a woman, while simultaneously referring to her in the wrong gender.
However accidentally, this is still fundamentally wrong and it is not a little thing that she should be expected to laugh off.
Misgendering cuts to the core of Transgender people. Now, in the real world, it happens and sometimes it’s our closest friends and nearest and dearest who are the worst offenders. I take a different view to India, in that I mostly tolerate and even understand the occasional slip-up.
People who have known me for decades are easily forgiven for an occasional lapse. I like to think it’s encouraging that they still see me as the same person at least. Because I am and there is no getting around that.
India’s zero tolerance approach to being misgendered is something I understand all too well though but, unfortunately, it did not serve her well. Right up to the moment she left I don’t think many of her fellow housemates fully understood the impact of careless comments upon her. Hopefully, I can explain just a little of what that feels like to you.
Imagine that you are invited to a party by a friend. You know nobody else there but are greeted warmly by the host, names are exchanged and it’s all air kisses and Prosecco from the get-go. As the evening progresses, the host starts to introduce you to some of their friends. Only they don’t. They get your name wrong. And with every introduction the name changes again and after a while you are no longer sure yourself whether you were Stephen or Stephanie on arrival. And you feel kind of small there, surrounded by strangers, as it dawns on you that you are not even important enough to these people to have your name remembered. Unless you are particularly robust, that tends to smart. And that’s kind of how an unexpected “He” feels when you have transitioned…only it’s even more powerful.
So regardless of what you might have thought of India personally, please don’t minimise her treatment within the house; some of it was appalling and some of it downright ignorant.
Before you rush to judge her, imagine walking a mile in her Jimmy Choo’s first. Only then might you appreciate why she is so defensive all of the time. She should never have had to be.