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CBB’s Ann Widdecombe tries to claim she ‘doesn’t judge’ gay people as house turns on Courtney Act

Courtney has been attacked for daring to discuss Ann's homophobia.

By Will Stroude

For a series that began with refreshingly open discussions of gender and sexuality issues, it’s sad to see the darker turn things have taken on Celebrity Big Brother recently.

As the Channel 5 reality series enters its final days, former Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe has been installed as the bookies favourite to take home the title, while former Drag Race star Courtney has found herself increasingly isolated by housemates – apparently for the crime of daring to point out that Ann doesn’t believe LGBT are worthy of equal treatment under the law.

It all came to a head on Monday night’s episode (January 28), when Courtney – real name Shane J – was nominated for eviction by Ashley, Jess, Amanda, Wayne and Shane L, who all cited his attitude towards Ann as the reason they wanted him out the house.

He was also nominated – unsurprisingly – by Ann herself, who accused the former Australian Idol contestant of “upsetting” the other housemates. Later, the drag performer was ranked as the ‘least loyal’ and ‘least honest’ housemate by his fellow contestants as part of a task.

It all came after Shane clashed with former Coronation Street star Amanda Barrie earlier this week, when the bisexual actress insisted that Ann’s record of voting against LGBT rights during her time in parliament “doesn’t affect” her.

Ann gave her two cents on the ongoing tension during Monday night’s episode, saying she was “grateful” to Amanda for defending her.

Speaking in the Diary Room, she told Big Brother: “You see, Amanda and Wayne do not regard the Big Brother house a platform solely about gay rights, it’s about people.

“As Amanda said to me last night, ‘It’s not about gay rights: It’s about people rights’.

“I think that was exactly the right approach and I think they’ve shown the right side of themselves, whereas Shane has adopted a polite but confrontational attitude throughout.

“I think that’s a pity, because there is so much more to Shane J than his sexuality.”

The 70-year-old former Conservative MP, who opposed all LGBT rights legislation during her 23 years in parliament, continued: “To Amanda, the fact that I’m a Roman Catholic and against civil partenrships, doesn’t mean anymore than it means to me that Amanda is an Atheist and is a practitioner of a civil partnership.

“That is not what defines Amanda, it is not what to Amanda defines me.

“I don’t judge any of my friends, it doesn’t matter whether you’re black, white, old, young, gay, straight. It doesn’t matter what you are as long as you’re a decent human being and are kind to others.

“The ironic thing is that Shane J was going around with a shirt yesterday going ‘Be kind’, and I did rather laugh at that later on.”

In fact, Ann, irony is claiming you don’t judge others while repeatedly denying them their basic rights at every opportunity.

In no particular order, here are the LGBT rights issue that Ann voted against during her time as an MP: Equalising the age of consent for gay men, allowing gay people to adopt, removing the Section 28 ban on the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools, allowing gay people to enter civil partnerships, baning discrimination against gay people in the provision of goods and services, and making it easier for lesbian couples to acces IVF treatment.

So Ann, tell us: when is the right time to talk about your problem with gay people?

Celebrity Big Brother continues on Tuesday night at 9pm on Channel 5.