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Celebrity Big Brother’s India Willoughby misgendered by fellow housemates Ann Widdecombe and Rachel Johnson

Meka Beresford January 5, 2018
Rachel, India and Ann

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Celebrity big brother star India Willoughby was misgendered by not one but two housemates on last nights episode.

The news broadcaster, who transitioned in 2015, entered the house earlier this week and met her fellow housemates.

India Willoughby (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

However, viewers were shocked when Ann Widdecombe referred to Willoughby using the incorrect pronoun – “he”.

It came as all the housemates were discussing how their parents chose their names.

Willoughby quipped that her mother named her after her favourite restaurant, an Indian.

Former MP Anne Widdecombe listens to a speaker at a Coalition for Marriage (Getty)

Ann Widdecombe responded: “I think he’s pulling your leg.”

India snapped back quickly: “I do beg your pardon.”

Later in the episode, Willoughby approached Widdecombe to address the incident.

“I just wanted to say I know you misgendered me earlier today,” she said. “That’s fine.”

Rachel Johnson (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Widdecombe tried to defend her actions claiming that if the house had not been discussing Willoughby’s transition so much she would not have misgendered her.

“It’s not a big issue,” Willoughby continued. “You know it hurts trans people when that happens, but it wasn’t deliberate.”

To which Widdecombe agreed that “it certainly wasn’t deliberate.”

Further controversy was caused by a clip from Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit On The Side showed that Rachel Johnson also used the male pronoun in reference to Willoughby.

Amanda Barrie enters the “Celebrity Big Brother” House (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Ashley James quickly scolded Johnson and corrected her use of the wrong pronoun.

Ultra-conservative politician Ann Widdecombe’s appearance in the house drew controversy given her history fraught with homophobia and transphobia.

The former MP for Maidstone and The Weald 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.

Her appearance on the show has caused some controversy given that the theme of this year’s show is intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, with tasks designed to challenge gender roles. 

India Willoughby enters the “Celebrity Big Brother” House at Elstree Studios (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Willoughby also drew controversy earlier this week after she claimed that she believed that gender fluid people “cheapen” the experience of transgender people.

“For people like me, it’s not a part-time thing and not a choice”, Willoughby said.

“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”.

People immediately took to Twitter to condemn the former newsreader’s outburst.

“India’s choice of words on #CBB tonight? Inaccurate, to say the least,” one person wrote.

Courtney Act
(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Another added: “I have respect for India and her journey. But that doesn’t mean she should put down other people’s journeys.”

Her comments came as drag queen Courtney Act is set to enter the house on Friday.

The RuPaul’s Drag Race season six runner-up identifies as gender fluid when not in drag, but uses female pronounces when performing.

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.

Adore Delano, Biance Del Rio and Courtney Act
RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio with runners up Adore Delano and Courtney Act (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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.

As well as a trans woman and a drag queen, there is also a bisexual contestant.

Former Coronation Street Star Amanda Barrie is the oldest person to ever compete in the house at 82.

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.

More: Ann Widdecombe, India Willoughby, LGBT, misgender, Rachel Johnson, Trans, Transgender

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