Loose Women makes show history with first ever transwoman panellist

Loose Women is set to welcome their new co-host, India Willoughby, who will become the first transwoman in the world to present an all-female talk show.

The veteran journalist, 51, will join the panel on Wednesday’s episode, having received high praise from viewers when she appeared on the ITV daytime show last month to share her inspirational transition story.

Copyright [Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock]

The presenter, who will achieve a world first when she takes her seat on the panel, is clearly very excited about the new project, as she admits she’s still having to pinch herself to make sure it’s not a dream.

“I just can’t believe it,” she revealed. “I absolutely love the show so it’s beyond my wildest dreams to be a guest panellist. My history will add something different to the mix and it’s the perfect fit for me.

“All the Loose Women have overcome some sort of adversity, they all carry battle scars and that’s what makes them interesting people. Mine just happens to be my body.”

Copyright [Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock]

Speaking to The Mirror, she continued: “I didn’t want to be considered a novelty. I’ve turned down several TV offers. I want to be working on merit and that’s why it was so perfect for me, because I’m just a girl next door.

“If I can help others in my situation by becoming a panellist, well that’s terrific.”

For the first 50 years of her life she lived as Jonathan despite knowing from a young age that she was in the wrong body, she continued to work as an ITV regional news reporter until she realised she couldn’t live the lie any longer.

Copyright [ITV]

Thinking back to 2010, she recalled: “I was doing a live interview when I caught sight of myself in one of the monitors. I was nice and smart in my suit but I knew I couldn’t go on because that person wasn’t me.

“I went home in tears, absolutely distraught. I bought myself a bottle of wine and drank it. At the end of the night I thought I was going to do myself in. I thought I would rather have a clean death to keep my secret a secret.

“Fortunately for me I’m a terrible drinker and I fell asleep, which in a way might have saved my life.”

Copyright [Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock]

After finding the strength to open up to her family, she decided to have gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, completing the £14,000 procedure just last year.

India is now keen to look towards the future and cannot wait to return to television following an overwhelming response to her original guest appearance on Loose Women.

She said: “I really do wish I had the courage to speak up when I was younger. But now that I’ve done it, life begins at 50 for me. I’ve got a whole lot of living to do and I can’t wait to get on with it.”