This series of Celebrity Big Brother has confronted LGBT+ issues like no other and the whole country is talking about one housemate only: India Willoughby, the UK’s first trans newsreader and, according to social media, the most divisive character on the show in years.
The outspoken former Loose Women presenter has made headlines by challenging housemates on misgendering and claiming she has a ‘phobia’ of drag queens.
So who better to give us the ‘T’ than trans RuPaul star and LGBT+ champion, Peppermint? Watch her reacting live and exclusively for OutNews Global and AndyVision on Youtube now!
Viewers were quick to point to previous Twitter posts by the broadcaster and journalist showing her smiling next to drag queens and apparently looking comfortable. Then again, a picture never tells the whole story and some are asking whether the embattled reality personality is facing transphobia from within the infamous house and beyond.
It comes after Ann Widdecombe, Amanda Barrie and Rachel Johnson were caught misgendering India and the 90s popstar Genuwine said he wouldn’t date her because she is trans.
From the start of the show, India has repeatedly talked about her trans status and explained why being misgendered is so offensive to her. Fans of the show were sympathetic at first but when RuPaul star, Courtney Act entered the house, the 50yo stated she was afraid of drag queens and reacted when Apprentice star Andrew Brady dragged up with Courtney’s help.
The owner of G-A-Y had little sympathy for Willoughby, calling her ‘Pinocchio’.
Soooooooo @IndiaWilloughby says she’s Drag Phobic,
Really @bbuk??? coz her tweets say differently #CBBIndia = Pinocchio #CBBUK #cbb #CBBShaneJ pic.twitter.com/4oly4tYVei
— Jeremy Joseph G-A-Y (@JeremyJoseph) January 8, 2018
Meanwhile, thousands of others mocked her, claiming she was a liar and attention-seeker. But is that fair? Peppermint is more understanding, saying: “Many trans women…don’t want to be considered a drag queen.” She reacted to Widdecombe misgendering her, exclaiming: “I beg your pardon bitch!”
She continued: “There’s a crisis in the house, people don’t understand how to deal with trans folk…the people who are misgendering India in this case are not trying to hear India’s mouth. You have to check yourself. People are engaging in the conversation for curiosity’s sake but they’re not allowing themselves to really change.”
On Andrew Brady dressing in drag, Peppermint said he was a gentleman for considering India’s feelings but was not impressed that he branded a trans woman a “pr**k” and a “d**k head”.
Brady stormed into the garden and said “D*ck head. If I can do a good thing, apologise, take the f*****g makeup off and still get victimised it’s s**t. F**k you, you p***k.”
“A heterosexual male would never call a woman a d*ck…” Said Peppermint. “I do think it’s pretty interesting that he used that language…and calling women d*ck heads and pr*cks is not indicative of how most gentlemen would speak to a woman.”
After seeing actress Amanda Barrie question herself after misgendering India, Peppermint screamed into the Skype call in frustration.
Amanda Barrie laughed awkwardly and asked “Why do I do that?”
Peppermint had the answer: “Why do you do that? Because you do not see her as a woman!”
OutNews writers, Chrissy McKeag and Joanne Lockwood have reacted to India’s time in the house so far.
Chrissy said: “I am sorry to say I’m not impressed with India at all. She comes across as privileged and precious, and not in a good way. Misgendering is a fact of life for most trans women. It’s happened to me within the last 48 hours, and maybe it shouldn’t, but you learn to cope.
“Tears and tantrums is not what I want the public to think we are. Most of the people I know transitioning are far stronger than that. It’s a poor show for India so far but I’m hoping she can turn it around.”
Diversity consultant and businesswoman, Joanne Lockwood had similar concerns but respects India’s voice: “The vibe I am detecting from social media I am linked in with would seem to indicate, from a Trans perspective, that she isn’t representative of some of the Trans community – remarks that “she’d never been to pride” – but then not everyone has and it doesn’t make her ill equipped on that basis.
“In the same way Caitlyn Jenner debated with Piers Morgan, India is tackling Ann Widecombe. Some of the comments and perspectives are obviously her own, and why not? We should respect the right of public figures to stand up and speak their own opinions.”
“Sometimes just raising the profile to make trans individuals seem “human” is the important thing. We can all debate what the current thinking is, older trans individuals certainly do not reflect the view of Gen Z and maybe how they view the show is more important, as they are the future.”
What do you think? Comment here or on Youtube!