When“Big Brother 17” opens its doors tomorrow on June 24, its first transgender houseguest will come with it.
CBS broke the news that Audrey Middleton, a 25-year-old digital media consultant from Villa Rica, Florida, entered the house last week. Middleton plans to use the show as a platform, much like Caitlyn Jenner is doing with “I Am Cait.”
“Audrey Middleton is a ’Big Brother’ super fan who applied online, like many other hopeful Houseguests, and was open about her transition in the application process,” CBS said in a statement. “It is customary for ’Big Brother’ Houseguests to share personal news inside the house, and Audrey plans to discuss her story with the houseguests in her own words during the premiere episode on Wednesday, June 24.”
Now of course, Middleton is not the first transgender contestant on a reality show but this is a major first for CBS’ reality empire, and a show like “Big Brother” has massive potential when it comes to representing an ordinary trans person without fame, publicists, or professional makeup artists.
Big Brother host, Julie Chen, got emotional on the June 17, episode of ‘The Talk’ while discussing the first transgender houseguest to ever appear on the series in the new season.
“You’re going to see something that you’ve never seen before in the Big Brother house,” Chen, 45, explained to her fellow co-hosts. “That saying holds true for me and the rest of the Big Brother staff.”
“Let me just say this to all of you ladies here at the table. Let me say this to everybody watching out there,” Chen noted on Wednesday. “Audrey told us she is planning on telling everyone in the Big Brother house that she is transgender. When she and all the other houseguests meet each other for the first time on the premiere night… When all of the houseguests are being sequestered as they always are at this stage of the game.”
“Big Brother” has also ran into problems in the past with racism, sexism and homophobia in its houseguests — most notably in season 15, when a black contestant was racially bullied to the point of CBS airing a disclaimer before the episodes aired. If Audrey sticks around, much of her story on the show will probably depend on how her fellow houseguests react to her, and how CBS treats their reactions in editing.
Big Brother 17 cast pics below. All 14 house guests. Go here for full cast bios.
Please stay tuned for All About the Tea’s Big Brother 17 coverage, which will include recaps, spoilers and exclusive news.
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Avigail is an Entertainment blogger at All About The Tea, who specializes in The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Potomac. Avigail has a background in marketing. She’s a Brooklynite living in the Bahamas, with a passion for travel, writing, reality TV watching, pop culture and spoken word.