Love or hate Celebrity Big Brother, it's great that conversations like this are getting airtime...
Whether you’ve been watching this series of Celebrity Big Brother or not, there’s one clip that you really should take some time to watch.
In fact, you may have already glimpsed it circulating on your news feed.
Courtney Act, whose real name is Shane Jenek, is an Australian drag queen who became known through season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Shane is appearing in the famous house alongside India Willoughby, Britain’s first transgender television newsreader.
India caused something of a stir when she told her fellow housemates that she had a ‘phobia’ of drag queens, which lead many to criticise her for being a poor spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ community.
Shane, however, is proving to be an eloquent and non-judgmental voice in the house, helping to educate his celebrity housemates – and the nation watching at home – on issues relating to gender.
In a discussion with India, Shane showed understanding for where her dislike for drag queens could be stemming from: ‘We know that a lot of people just see us the same and we both know that that’s completely incorrect…
‘I think the tricky thing is that my feeling is that gender does exist on a spectrum.’
He continued: ‘I would say [it’s] like the Kinsey scale with sexuality from zero to six, where zero is exclusively heterosexual and six is exclusively homosexual.
‘I think that gender’s similar where you know if one is female and six is male I’m probably a four.
‘Gender can exist on a spectrum.’
He explained that people aren’t generally used to considering that there could be more than two genders, which can often lead them to opposing the idea that gender can be fluid.
Shane, at a later date, further elaborated to his housemates that India, as a transgender woman, would have always identified completely as a woman, never having seen herself as a ‘man’.
Describing the difference between Courtney, as a drag queen, and India, Shane explained: ‘Drag is more performance based, hers [India’s] is about her gender identity.’
‘She was never a ‘man’ but she had a man’s body.’
Shane also explained that he is comfortable with his body and has never wanted to be woman, but that he sees his gender as being on a scale.
He said: ‘I identify… if gender is on a spectrum, from man to woman, I feel like I’m more in the middle but on the male side.
‘Whereas she [India] is like a radical conformist when it comes to gender. Like… she’s as close to woman in her mind as one can get.’
Many have praised Shane’s compassionate and articulate way of describing the differing feelings towards gender.
‘This is how you maturely speak about the “issue” of Gender/sex. It’s not doing tweets like “if I had a pound for every gender.” Educate yourselves, listen and evolve,’ one viewer wrote.
Another added: ‘Regardless of whether you watch #CBB or not, @courtneyact’s articulation of sexuality and gender is thoughtful, sensitive and compassionate – worth listening to…’