The internet is in outrage following a recent episode of Celebrity Big Brother UK, in which famed singer Ginuwine rejected the advances of fellow housemate India Willoughby. In the episode, Willoughby and Ginuwine can be seen having a dialog among the housemates, when Willoughby asks whether or not Ginuwine would date a trans woman.
“Would you go out with a transexual woman,” Willoughby asked to the group. “For me, this is the problem, because I think I feel like a lot of guys would not go out with somebody like me even though I’m a woman.” At which time, Ginuwine interjected, asserting that “some would though. I believe it’s your choice too,” Ginuwine explained. “I would choose not to. That doesn’t make me scared.”
The conversation escalated when Willoughby repositioned the question to examine Ginuwine’s position on dating — the idea being that Ginuwine would, in fact, date her if she were a woman rather than a trans woman.
“I’m a woman,” she explained. “Forget about any Ts or anything in front of it, I’m just a woman. So, on that score, you would date me wouldn’t you?”
“Not if you told me you were trans,” he replied.
“I’m not telling you I’m trans,” she said. “I’m a woman. So you would date me then.” To which Ginuwine agreed that he would.
It was at this point, lines were crossed as Willoughby advanced on Ginuwine, wrapping her arms around him and going in for a kiss — which he abruptly denied.
After seeing the rejection play out, many fans have taken to Twitter to express their outrage with two side in the war of words. One side suggests that Ginuwine’s unwillingness to date trans women and his rejection of Willoughby is bigoted and transphobic, while the other side stands with the R&B singer having the right to choose who he shares his body with. Some fans, including The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne The God, have taken the discussion a step further, claiming that Willoughby had sexually harassed Ginuwine.
The optics of the situation do tend to lean towards Ginuwine’s defense. We can see a group of adults having a conversation, when one person asks about romantic preferences. Upon finding out that a person in the group isn’t attracted to them, they push the envelope to the point of wrapping their arms around the person and trying to make them share a kiss. If the roles were reversed, heads would likely roll. In many ways, this is strikingly similar to a scenario straight out of the Human Resources training videos. But this situation has raised many questions about our society’s stance on certain issues.
If a person has the right to choose who they share their body with, is it wrong to discriminate against an entire group of people? Was Willoughby wrong for making unwanted sexual advances towards another person? As Charlemagne put it, “If someone tries to hug you and kiss you, and you don’t want them to hug you and kiss you, you can reject their advances. And making someone believe they can’t reject your advances because they will receive backlash is exactly why there is a #Timesup movement and a #Metoo movement going on right now.
Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set including writing, design, and photography. Nick now resides in Austin, TX after earning a degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on journalism from Texas A&M University—Commerce.