Long live Queen Courtney!
Courtney, whose real name is Shane Jarek, won nearly 50% of the vote tallied on February 3 during the reality show’s finale in which viewers decided between Courtney and 70-year-old fellow contestant Ann Widdecombe. Widdecombe is a Conservative Member of Parliament and Shadow Home Secretary who has a 23-year record of opposing all LGBTQ-rights legislation. Throughout this spin-off of the Big Brother reality game franchise, Courtney openly challenged Widdecombe’s intolerant views.
Courtney was awestruck that the British public backed her, as a grand approval of love and tolerance.
“My inspiration coming into the house was that teenage boy who didn’t quite know where he belonged or how he fitted in and feeling inspired by the Spice Girls—and not knowing what that meant but knowing if it was ok for them to be different then it was ok for me to be different,” she explained to Celebrity Big Brother host Emma Willis during the post-victory interview. “I guess it’s validation that it’s ok to be different.”
Australian-born Courtney was a runner-up of season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She competed on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, after which she released the single “Rub Me Wrong” that reached number 29 on the Australian charts.
Courtney made quite a splash when she first arrived on the series. A wardrobe malfunction, staged or not, revealed her “tuck” when she tripped and her skirt was ripped off.
A “bromance” blossomed for Courtney in the Celebrity Big Brother house with former housemate Andrew Brady. She revealed to Willis she has a crush on Brady.
“He’s just so comfortable with everybody and everything,” Act said. “If more straight guys were more like him, the world would be a better place.”
Though Courtney and Widdecombe showed mutual support by holding hands during the suspenseful announcement of the series winner, Widdecombe is still unmoved in her intolerant position on LGBTQ people. In addition to Courtney, the right-wing politician shared the Celebrity Big Brother house with contestants India Willoughby, a transgender journalist, and dancer/actor Wayne Sleep, who lives with his husband José Bergara.
When host Willis conducted an exit interview with Widdecombe and asked if the Celebrity Big Brother experience had opened her mind on LGBTQ issues, she said, “No,” and continued to espouse her negative views.
“Look, you don’t reason yourself to a position over a long number of years and then suddenly in the course of a couple of conversations decide ‘oh dear I got that wrong.’
“What I’m pleased about coming second is it’s an endorsement of free speech.
“Whether people agreed with me or not isn’t the point. I exercised my freedom to say what is unfashionable.”
In this case, we say it is better to be fashionable, loser.
Once again, Long live Queen Courtney!