Courtney Act tells children it’s OK to be queer and non-binary in groundbreaking CBBC show
Courtney Act joined CBBC as its latest Celebrity Supply Teacher with a message of LGBT+ inclusivity.
The Drag Race star turned national treasure quoted Oscar Wilde, thanked the Spice Girls for empowering her to be whoever she wanted to be, and told children “it’s OK for boys to like boys, girls to like both, or to not even be a boy or a girl”.
In the 20-minute broadcast, narrated by Julie Hesmondhalgh, Courtney Act spoke about identity, acceptance and kindness.
She began the lesson explaining how while growing up in Australia, she felt “different to the other kids”.
“I didn’t always see people who looked like me, or sounded like me, or felt like me,” she said.
“It made me feel like maybe there was something wrong with who I am. I felt isolated and alone and I was scared to be myself.”
But as she grew up, Courtney reflected: “I realised I wasn’t alone, that there are other people out there like me – I just had to look a little bit harder to find them.”
Courtney Act tells CBBC viewers: ‘To be confident in your identity you have to accept and love yourself first’
Courtney Act explained the concept of identity, saying it’s “all the different things that define who you are”.
“It can be your gender, your race, your sexuality, your religion or even your hair colour,” she continued, explaining that some people might try to tell others what their identity should be
“It’s really important that you find your own interests and hobbies and form our own opinions over time.
“It’s OK for boys to like boys, or boys to like girls, or girls to like girls or boys or both or all of the above or to not even be a boy or a girl.
Courtney added: “To be confident in your identity you have to accept and love yourself first,” adding the Oscar Wilde quote: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
The lesson ended with some tips for accepting others, with children watching encouraged to make friends with others who look lonely, to stand up against bullying and overall, to be kind.
Parents and fans watching at home praised Courtney Act for her inspiring words, and for being the “perfect role model”.
Oh WoW, that was just so lovely and so delightful.👏😍
Seeing @courtneyact on @cbbc #CelebritySupplyTeacher
Your such a perfect, Role Model, darling.😍
And a fantastic Educator. 👩🏫
I’m sure all the Children, appreciated, all your advice. 😘 pic.twitter.com/yu3TUZ3UI8
— shelley silver #BLM (@shelleysilver3) November 19, 2020
— sammy ♥ (@untamedlisten3r) November 19, 2020
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Yesterday my son told his class (during an anti bullying week discussion) that he likes to wear dresses and pink stuff. He was really proud to speak out and gets the courage to do so from seeing diverse adult lives normalised in children's spaces. He's going to love this!
— Lauren Dare (@Daresie) November 19, 2020
Courtney herself noted how the CBBC show was a full circle moment, coming 20 years after she was fired from a kids’ TV presenter job after pictures of her in drag were published in a newspaper.
“I was a bit nervous because of all the negative messages I had picked up about queer people not being appropriate for kids, then I realised – this is exactly why I should be doing this. Thank you BBC for this opportunity,” she tweeted.