RuPaul’s Drag Race star Courtney Act to enter Celebrity Big Brother house
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Courtney Act is set to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house today (January 5).
The season six runner-up will enter the house alongside five other male contestants after six female celebs entered the house earlier this week.
Courtney Act, real name Shane Jenek, identifies as gender fluid and uses they/them pronouns when not in drag.
However, when performing as Courtney they use female pronouns.
A source close to the star, who first found fame on Australian Idol 15 years ago, said that Courtney will is used to big personalities from working in the world of drag.
“Courtney has seen everything as a drag queen so nothing will faze her in the house.
“She’s a pro who won’t be intimidated by any of the big personalities in there and she won’t back down from a row,” they added.
It isn’t the first time a RuPaul star has competed in the British reality programme which sees 12 stars living together in a house.
Michelle Visage, one of the much-loved judges on Drag Race, competed in 2015 and finished in fifth place.
Courtney Act will join trans news broadcaster India Willoughby and bisexual actor Amanda Barrie in the house.
Other personalities include conservative politician Ann Widdecombe, Rachel Johnson (sister of foreign secretary Boris Johnson) and a whole host of reality TV stars from Ex on the Beach, Made in Chelsea and more.
Courtney Act’s entrance to the house comes as Willoughby said that drag queens like RuPaul “cheapen” the experiences of transgender people.
The 51-year-old made the comments while speaking to fellow housemate Maggie Oliver on Tuesday’s episode.
“For people like me it’s not a part-time thing and it’s not a choice.
“That word transgender can mean everything from RuPaul to someone who’s Bob one day and Barbara another day and I think that cheapens the seriousness of it,” she said.
The comments drew controversy online.
One person wrote: “I have respect for India and her journey. But that doesn’t mean she should put down other people’s journeys.”
“Think India’s problem stems from thinking about gender as a binary and not a spectrum! I hope Courtney Act and her have some enlightening convos together,” another wrote.
A third added: “India, I don’t think people confuse RuPaul with transgender. We all know RuPaul is drag.”
The 2018 series is intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, with tasks designed to challenge gender roles.
However, the ultra-conservative politician seems to contradict the theme given her long history of opposing liberal attitudes towards gender and sexuality.
The former Maidstone and The Weald MP vehemently opposed LGB rights with her voting history showing her blocking them at every chance.
She also opposes transgender rights, believes people can be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality, is anti-abortion, pro-death penalty and once argued pregnant prisoners should be shackled while giving birth.
Former Coronation Street star and bisexual actor Amanda Barrie is the oldest contestant to join the house.
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But it’s not the first time she’s taken a major decision in later life – she waited until 2003, age 67, to come out as bisexual.
Amanda said she spent years terrified that revealing her same-sex attraction would get her axed from her dream job on Coronation Street.
The CBB contestant is best known for her role as Alma Sedgewick in Coronation Street, a hugely popular character that she played from 1981 until 2001.
Millions tuned in to the ITV soap during her two decades, making Amanda and her character a household name.
It wasn’t until after she left the soap that she came out as bisexual, however, revealing the truth in her autobiography.