Bil Browning

Big Brother Argentina Gets Trans Housemate

Filed By Bil Browning | January 20, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Alejandro Iglesias, Argentina, Big Brother, gender identity, transmen

Big Brother Argentina has proven itself more liberal than the American version yet again. This year they've included trans man Alejandro Iglesias who came out to his fellow houseguests in the first episode. Contrary to expectations, he was not the first contestant voted out of the reality show. He is competing to win money for transition surgery.

Our version of Big Brother is so tame compared to other countries. While the show is set up on the premise of cameras constantly following contestants locked in a big house, in reality they get quite a bit of privacy. Alejandro-Iglesias.jpgOther countries include cameras in the showers and don't allow the house guests to have a moment to themselves. They show contestants masturbate, have sex, or simply walking around nude. There are same-sex kisses, deep conversations, and the occasional flirting.

While some contestants' history with porn [NSFW] (or future! [NSFW]) have made headlines, most of the time sexuality is swept under the rug unless it's as elementary as the basic Gay 101 questions asked to a couple of early contestants. On the pay-per-view online version of the show, the cameras show some nudity and sexual snuggling but that footage never makes in on the air.

Alex featured the video of Alejandro coming out to his fellow contestants a couple of weeks ago as a You Gotta See This video, but I want to expand it to talk about sex and mass media. I'll be part of a session at this year's Creating Change conference on the topic, so I'm curious to know: Do you see a time when US media becomes as nonchalant about nudity and sex as other countries? Would showing those aspects improve Big Brother or take away from it? How much sex is too much sex in the media? Does it change when if we start talking about LGBT-specific media as versus mainstream mass media?

What do you think?

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There have been trans Big Brother contestants in several countries... Russia... homophobic Russia had a very popular contestant in their version of Big Brother (who also was a porn actress). And, of course, England had a trans Big Brother winner in Nadia Almeida. The Netherlands has had a trans woman on Big Brother and she's a regular guest on many different Dutch TV shows. How about some other trans media personalities in other countries: Turkey's version of American Idol has a nationally known trans woman singer as one of the judges. Pakistan has a trans woman as the host of a nationally shown late night talk show. France, Germany and Italy have had numerous shows hosted by trans women Amanda Lear and Eva Robin's. Brazil had a trans woman, Roberta Close, with a nationally televised talk show in the 1990s. And the US, other than VH1/MTV/Logo... nada.

Thanks GiNa! I didn't realize there's been that many trans folk on BB in other countries. Think it'll happen here anytime soon?

I'm not a BB fan in the least, but... nope.

ShipofFools | January 22, 2011 6:29 AM

So far it's mostly been trans women in the media, but there has been one trans man on the German "American Idol" version about 5 years ago.

It'd take me more than masturbating to get me to watch BB. I mean, I'd rather see a porno (and not one of those porn sites that's just BB videos).

On the other hand, the quality of TV is miles ahead of most other countries. Some other countries do well, but few have the money to dump into it that the US does. Maybe we could consider it a trade-off.