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BBC ‘worst for on-screen portrayal of gay people’

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  1. Is there any truth to the rumour that the BBC has been steeple jacked? Will the educational system be next?

  2. The BBC has paid huge amounts of money to the likes of Jonathan Ross with his homophobic comments.
    This, tax paid for corporation, is a disgrace in many ways not least its out of date portrayal of LGBT people.

  3. Time to get the calculators out Pink News:

    “In 39 hours of output, the gay charity said that BBC1 showed just 44 seconds (1.7 per cent) of positive and realistic depictions”

    44 seconds out of 39 hours is in fact 0.03% and NOT 1.7%

    Unless my knowledge of maths has disimproved?

  4. Well no LGBT person should be paying their TV license fee.

    The BBC clearly does not give a toss about its gay audience so it’s a bit hypocritical to expect us to fund them.

    Don’t pay it – simple as that (although it’s probably a good idea to contact the BBC Trust to explain why you will no longer be paying your TV license fee.

    Personally I’m not convinced the BBC’s internal study will achieve anything. The institutional homophobia of the BBC is too deeply ingrained (as shown by their steadfast refusal to even acknowledge how homophobic Chris Moyles is) for a mere report to address.

    Contact the BBC Trust to tell them that you won’t be paying your TV license fee any more. They can be reached at:

  5. We should stop being victims. Getting a bit boring now…

  6. Mumbo Jumbo 22 Jul 2010, 10:13am

    This BBC report is taking comments on the issue:

  7. Sorry if you guys have read this before, I’m aiming it at any media folk that are out there…

    A totally subjective call/plea from me to TV programmers… not that any of you will be reading this.

    Ok, on the plus side at last a gay specific programme, I don’t think there’s been one of those for a while (oops tell a lie Beautiful People)

    I know, how about for once doing a gay drama about folks that don’t live in any of the large cosmopolitan centres, that don’t want to move to any of those centres to escape the supposed “drudgery” of their everyday lives and who aren’t high flying media executives, but have solid consistent lives and are part of communities that are more than being in a gay dream bubble, you know the sort of lives that 99.9% of the gay folk in this country live… You can talk about subtleties in homophobia, you can get a lot older types of character in there too. People that have lived and have stories to tell about their pasts and histories to tell folk in the future, and whose lives are just as valid, worthy and full as any media created stereotypes…… where not all the women are glamorous lipstick lesbians, where not all the guys are fay vulnerable and limpwristed.

    Deal with gay homeless folk that live on the fringes. Deal with a story of glbt folks getting older. Elderly matriarch couples could be in there, get some rough builders types in there happy with who and what they are, wolf whistling at fit blokes they see walking by. Get foreign workers in there, get the recession in there, get what happens to your body due to the fact that we’re are living now with HIV but some of the therapies are still quite detrimental to our bodies, get what’s happening with young gay folk in there by the creation of GLBT groups in schools … all of it topical and relevant

    And for f**k sake I don’t mean do a non-comic version of Daffyd Thomas from Little Britain, or some sort of dour 1950’s/70’s earnest living in the provinces and how dark depressing it is and how everybody wants to escape to the “utopian/hedonistic” freedom of the cosmopolitan centres, I mean I like going to London or Manchester once in a while, but I don’t have the monies or type of job that allow me to be there all the time and more than that I wouldn’t want it if I was offered it…. I sometimes call the London gay folk” conveyor belt fodder”, cause of the whole ugly “not interested in you, move along, next!!!” attitude that is prevalent in the scene down there, I’m generalising hugely but you get what I mean… sorry this is a bit of a bugbear of mine, I wish I could write better as I’d love to come up with a script about this.

    How about dealing with some of the extremist heterophobia that can come out of our mouths… I know I’ve said a fair bit or 2 when incredibly angry or backed into a corner

    Making gay related TV doesn’t mean it has to be escapist or camp, for once please think outside of the box and try relating to the 99.9% of gay folk that live in this country.

    Thank god for Emmerdale. And the realization that gay folk are just as complex, deep and random as other folk and are more than just the summation of their sexualities

    OK, I think I’ve said enough now, time to shut up.

  8. No surprise there really. ITV is OK, the Aaron story in Emmerdale has been good and highlighted the problems some people have coming out I am not sure about their motives behind the forthcoming homophobic storyline in Corrie. I hope they manage to handle it in a positive light (if that’s possible) but that will remain to be seen. I am awaiting their anti-muslim storyline and racist one…..just to even things up. Or are they doing homophobia simple because it’s still OK for TV/media to attack us and get away with it? I do question their motives!

  9. This BBC report is taking comments on the issue:

    I can’t wait to see the replies *rolls eyes*

    I remember the hassle we had with the BBC’s message boards a few years ago with homophobic comments not been removed even after numerous complaints. One thread about a gay man beaten to death was hijacked by man and a woman flirting and nothing was done when they people complained to the mods about it. So it’s not just their TV output.

    To be totally honest I don’t thing that the BBC really cares and just because Stonewall has posted their finding doesn’t mean things will change.

  10. I’ve made the homophobic BBC pay out (so far) over half a Million pounds to gay youth groups around the UK. See here:

    Ha Ha Ha Ha

  11. Jane Anderson-Hawkes 22 Jul 2010, 11:00am

    I live in a small seaside town with my partner and our children. My partner works as a mental health nurse and I was a learning support manager but have just been made redundant. I’m looking for a job if anyone can help… 3 of the children work but one is still at school. We are going to Canada for a holiday in September…. Oh,and by the way we are gay women. Do you get my point?

  12. If the Stonewall report is completely reported by this article, I believe it is sufficiently flawed as to say nothing useful. Lots of reasons, here are a few:

    – Programmes showing homophobia may have a strong anti-homophobic message, and actually having a storyline which highlights the impact of homophobia

    – This “stereotypical” flag – a lot of gay people have “stereotypical” attributes. So there are a lot of issues here:
    … it would not be realistic if no gay people had any stereotypical gay attributes;
    … there is no mention of the percentage of heterosexuals displaying “stereotypical heterosexual” attributes (and it is the difference between treatment of gay and straight people that has some meaning)
    … the definition of a gay stereotype is very subjective anyway, and we need a list of the attributes to make our own judgement of whether they were reasonable.

    – Quite similar issues for “demeaning” and “negative”

    Ok, let’s consider this paragraph:
    “In 39 hours of output, the gay charity said that BBC1 showed just 44 seconds (1.7 per cent) of positive and realistic depictions of gay people, compared to 6.5 per cent for Channel 4 and 5.6 per cent for ITV1.”

    – We don’t know what the programmes were that happened into the “top 20 programmes watched by people aged between 12 and 18”. I’ve no idea what programmes are watched by this age group; but let’s say for the sake of an example that Coronation Street on ITV had two gay characters in the storyline at the time of the survey, that the surveyors decided to categorise Sean’s portrayal as positive rather than “stereotypical”. And perhaps conversely East Enders wasn’t in that top-20, or they didn’t happen to have the proportion of gay storylines active at the time, or they were portraying somebody experiencing homophobic bullying, or … such a list could continue for a long time.

    The bottom line is, I seriously question the validity of the survey.

    My own experience is that BBC tends to give good (in every meaning) coverage to gay people and gay issues. That’s my sense. Others may think differently, but then two gay people can watch the same thing and have polarised opinions about how positively or negatively gay people were portrayed within it.

  13. ::rolls eyes:: have you seen what BBC programmes Stonewall assessed? Blue Peter, Football Focus, Merlin, The One Show, Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

    For Channel five, they only included ‘The Gadget Show’.

    With that line-up is it any wonder that the Stonewall report comes out unfavourablly? It’s complete biased nonsense!

  14. tsuchan, well said. With one exception. When the BBC airs a program that depicts scenes that some people may find harrowing or offensive, or scenes that may affect you for one reason or another, eg: abortion, rape, murder etc, they tend to give an apology as well as information to helplines at the end of said programs.

    When they aired the homophobic scenes in Eastenders, there was NO helpline information, no apology, NADA! That, in my personal opinion, speaks volumes about the BBC and how ‘institutionally homophobic’ it really is!

    As to the actual study, I am in full agreement with the comments of tsuchan above.

  15. Tsuchan – you make some good points about the BBC but having you compared the 2 big shows – Eastenders and Coronation Street; or indeed the minority characters representation within Eastenders itself?

    In Eastenders the 2 gay characters are Christian and Syed. The entire focus on that story is the fact that Syed is a closeted muslim who cannot reconcuile his ‘diseased’ sexuality with his religion.

    With Syed we have gone through all the stages – lying to himself; lying to his wife; lying to his family; getting ‘caught’ in bed with Christian; being forced into marriage; attempting suicide; entering dangerous ‘therapy’ to ‘cure’ him of the ‘affliction’ of his homosexuality. Meanwhile Christian gets gaybashed and no-one faces any consequences.

    The ENTIRE focus on those 2 character is the fact that they are gay.

    Compare Syed and Christian to 2 black characters on the show – Denise and Chelsea. Those 2 are also minority characters but their characters have been developed over time. The entire focus of their storyline is not about them being forced to hide at home for fear of being assaulted by the BNP once they leave their front door.

    Once the Christian / Syed story is resolved I expect the characters to be axed because there is nothing left for them to do.

    Coronation Street has the Sean Tully character. He may be a stereotyope but at least he’s part of the furniture in the show. His entire purpose isn’t just to illustrate how awful a struggle being gay is supposed to be.

  16. Peter & Michael 22 Jul 2010, 11:53am

    The BBC had an ideal opportunity to portray male gay pupils in a positive way in the last episode of Waterloo Road which featured the Prom evening. Although the gay girls we surmise were evident, nothing was shown of two male pupils, perhaps there are no gay pupils in Waterloo Road! What a boost this could have been to the younger gay generation whom feel left out of BBC programming. Why is everything so hetrosexual for young lesbian and gay people on the BBC.

  17. Galadriel1010 22 Jul 2010, 12:24pm

    I keep losing my posts, am I doing something wrong?

    My point earlier was: Torchwood? The Diaries of Miss Ann Lister? QI? Never Mind The Buzzcocks? Doctor Who, although not this series (where have my gays gone? I wanted Amy/Jenny action).

    As for Clarkson and Ross, it’s very easy to lambast them for stupid comments they’ve made in a very ‘that sounded funny in my head’ way, and completely ignore the easy, accepting way they are with gay guests like Barrowman on Ross’s show (when they flirted hugely) and Will Young on Top Gear (with whom Clarkson flirted). They treated Jeremy’s ‘crush’ on Will Young in exactly the same way as they treated Richard’s crush on Angelina Jolie, and it was brilliant.

    Please, BBC, set Barrowman on Clarkson and the Reasonably Priced Car. It will be /awesome/.

  18. Grant Denkinson 22 Jul 2010, 12:26pm

    Almost nothing on bisexualty. Again.

  19. Yeah, because Torchwood makes such a wonderful example of ‘positive’ depiction of gay people. An omnisexual playboy who molests pretty boys, girls, aliens, and whatever catches his fancy. When he’s not busy killing children, that is.

    If there’s one programme that puts gay people in a bad light that’s Torchwood. Apparently Russell T Davies’ idea od positive depiction of gay people is representing over and over again sex promiscuity and inability to commitment, from QAF onward.

  20. John(Derbyshire) 22 Jul 2010, 12:54pm

    Last Christmas Day`s Royle Family was a homophobic disgrace. Its no good just justifying homophobia by saying “well thats what Jim Royle would have said”. Any “comedy” show written by young straight men e.g. Craig Cash,James Corden is nearly always full of homophobic lines-they justify it by saying “well its only a laugh”. I`m waiting for next Christmas-and the next offering from James Corden-whos betting it`ll have homophobic (but only in fun) line sin it.
    As for Clarkson and co-well they only have gay guests on so they can take the piss-and as for Emmerdale- those two actors look just like straight guys trying to portyra how they think two gay guys should be. As for the “new” Corrie storyline-well here we go-back to the “being gay is the issue” storyline again!

  21. Galadriel1010 22 Jul 2010, 1:41pm

    @Kat: I am fiercely ignoring CoE. The first two series were great for normalising bisexuality, CoE was a disaster for /everything/.

  22. @SteveC,’disimproved’?! Shouldn’t that be deteriorated?!Before you chastise the Beeb about their maths,check your own grammar!

  23. Is this all? I loved the Eastenders story plot, it didn’t seem overly camp or stereotypical but it showed very well what some of us go through in a serious manner. As for Jeremy Clarkson, that’s him, ecentric and you should hate him and people do but he is entertaining to some including me. Anyway, this is Tv it’s got to be entertaining or interesting, which when with gay people it tends to have to be serious about what gay people face like discrimination, conflict between sexuality and religion, the self harm bit and stuff or a joke, sadly the only way I can think of is through stereotypes though a gay, non-camp comedian could do jokes about defying the stereotypes or even how straight guys scare about stuff.

    Now I do hate the gay stereotype but we shouldn’t try to stop these shows or anything, we should combat with shows showing non camp people or even make a documentary on the real gay people and also then also include the others parts of the LGBT community. I would love to see more serious shows, showing the difficulties in different areas of LGBT community or even a few shows, showing gay romances.

  24. I’ve argued with people from Stonewall who do these kinds of surveys before. I find their methodology deeply flawed.

    First of all, the social impact and artistic effect of cultural items like TV cannot be mathematised. It’s not a simple question of screen time, and positivity or negativity of portrayal is a very complex and nuanced issue – simply shoehorning individual items into a catch-all “positive” or “negative” category misses the vast, multi-faceted diversity that makes culture culture, rather than computer programming. What one person sees as a positive portrayal might very well be seen as negative by someone else, and likewise with stereotyping. What of a programme that plays with and subverts stereotypes – does that count as stereotypical or not? What of a programme that blatantly mocks stereotypes? Would Alf Garnett be considered negative portrayal of black people, and stereotypical, even though the whole point of the character was to mock outdated racist attitudes?

    As for Jonathan Ross and Chris Moyles and Jeremy Clarkson, well, surely these people are just as grossly exaggerated caricatures of stereotypical straight men as Graham Norton and Dale Winton are of stereotypical gay men? There’s an argument to be had about the appropriate use of such swaggering caricature, but let us not pretend its use is limited solely to gay people. When most of my straight friends watch Clarkson they think “the man’s an arse”, rather than “that arse is up there representing me and my confreres in sexuality! This is disgraceful!”. I’m not entirely sure why the second response is jumped to by so many gay men about Norton and the like, rather than the first.

    My most significant concern, though, is with the idea that each minute of programming can be classified as either “gay” or “straight”, and if it’s not gay it is by definition straight, because everything that isn’t gay is automatically straight. When you look at it like that, of course 44 minutes out of 39 hours seems paltry. But not all TV has a sexuality component. Most of it doesn’t. Just because it has gay people in it, that doesn’t mean it’s a portrayal of gay people’s lives. Is a nature documentary “gay” programming if it’s narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi, but “straight” if it’s narrated by Sir David Attenborough? What of a newsreader, whose sexuality nobody knows? Is that automatically “straight” TV, because people tend to assume that someone is straight unless proven otherwise? Surely that’s begging the question, though, to assume your premise from the outset?

    Sexuality is one small aspect of who we are, not a defining lens through which we must live our entire lives. We cook food and eat it – the BBC makes cookery shows. We drive cars – the BBC makes automotive shows. We take an interest in politics – the BBC makes political shows. And it makes shows that are streets ahead of every other broadcaster in the world in terms of quality. Yes, there are a few quibbles with programming which specifically covers direct aspects of the experience of being gay, and this can be addressed, but really our lives ARE catered for to a massive extent, because our lives are, basically, no different from those of straight people.

  25. Brendan it’s the 20 programmes most watched by young people.

  26. VP – how wouid you compare the representation of Christian and Syed in Eastenders with the representation of Denise and Chelsea?

    I fully understand what you’re saying in your post but to take Eastenders as 1 example there are glaring discrepancies between minority representations.

    Christian and Syed are ‘gay characters’ – they exist in the show because they are gay. Their entire presence in the show is based on the fact that they are gay. Their plotlines revolve solely because of the issues they face because they are gay.

    Denise and Chelsea are not ‘black characters’ in the same way Christian and Syed are ‘gay characters’ – yes they are quite obviously black actresses, however their skin colour is not the only reason they exist on the show. They have plotlines and stories which have nothing to do with their race.

    That’s my issue with Eastenders.

    If Denise and Chelsea’s roles on the show were related solely to the fact that they are black, they’d be dismissed as offensive tokens.

    I suspect that 1 or more of the Christian / Syed characters will be axed when their plotline ends. Because their characters have not evolved into anything beyond the token gay characters, they’ll become deadwood when the current story ends.

  27. Please don’t try to compare the social effects of stereotyping those who are in the majority and wield power with stereotyping traditionally oppressed and outcast minorities!

    Stereotyping rich white males is NOT the same, and does NOT have the same negative effect as stereotyping poor black people.

    Stereotyping straight people does NOT have the same negative effect as stereotyping gay people.

    It’s absolutely ludicrous to act as if straight people and white people suffer from, or are as affected by, stereotypes as gay people and black people.

    “Honky” (an American term) does NOT have the same power or negative effect as “n*gger”.

    “Goy” (Yiddish) does NOT have the same power or negative effect as “k*ke”

    “Breeder” does NOT have the same power of negative effect as “f*ggot”.

    It’s not that minorities are more sensitive or are looking to feel “victimized” as one commenter above indicated. It’s because of the dynamics of power and the vulnerability of the traditionally oppressed.

    I have to say that, even though tsuchen makes some good points, overall I think his/her assumptions are as flawed as the ones (s)he’s challenging. It sounds to me that the comment came direct from the BBC Public Relations desk. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it didn’t. Of course any such suggestion would be vociferously denied.

  28. On the Torchwood theme, series 1 & 2 on BBC3 then BBC2, the lead male character is in a relationship with a male team member. The relationship is portrayed in exactly the same way as a straight one would be, ie it just WAS.

    Torchwood moves to BBC1. The character Ianto Jones becomes a ‘gay boy who takes it up the ass’. A ‘pervert’. One guest character even points out ‘He is queer, I can smell it.’ The character is then killed off ending the only gay relationship between two men in sci-fi.

    In comparison, the straight couple end up with a house and baby.

    So thanks, BBC. Torchwood Children of Earth stated loud and clear ‘gay = bad. Relationship must end in tragedy. Straight = good. Get Happily Ever After.’

    BTW, the character Ianto Jone is being replaced by Oswald Jones, murderer and paedophile. Obviously much more acceptable in the BBC’s eyes.

  29. I cannot say anything about EastEnders, because I do not watch the programme. Or, indeed, any other soap operas. To be honest I think all of the soap operas are similarly sensationalist, artlessly melodramatic and unrealistic. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing of course, and I wouldn’t want to stop others enjoying them for what they are, but I think that if you’re looking for genuine and sensitive portrayals of anything in the real world, soap operas are not the place to find them.

    Which kind of leads on to another point about this survey. Even if its methods and analytical assumptions were valid in all other respects, it’s a survey of the twenty most popular programmes among 12-18 year olds. Are we to blame the BBC because those of its programmes which appeal most to young people are not the ones with the greatest positive coverage of LGBT people? A more sensible conclusion to draw would be that something in the general culture of teenagers seems to draw them in greater numbers to programmes where LGBT representation is minimal. The BBC just makes the programmes – the teenagers choose which ones to watch. Would we condemn an ice-cream manufacturer for the lack of a pstachio variety in his range based solely on a survey of the three most popular flavours he does?

  30. “To be honest I think all of the soap operas are similarly sensationalist, artlessly melodramatic and unrealistic.”

    Of course they are. That’s what all soaps are about.

    But it’s still true that Eastenders’ gay characters are in the show solely so they can have a storyline related to their sexuality and the problems they face because of their sexuality. That is the sole function of Christian and Syed on the show.

    The ethnic minority characters are allowed to participate in storylines which do not revolve solely around the fact that they are black or Asian.

    It’s not an important difference perhaps but it’s true.

  31. To StephenC, firstly I think the story line is designed to be more relevant to today. I personally loved the fact it showed our biggest problem, that conflict that can be created between religion and sexuality but is racism as bad today? that is an actual question for I don’t know myself but black people do have equal rights. But so many story lines are based around some sort of relationship, ok this is based on a gay problem but that is because their relationship is a gay one.
    Also, we do not know whether this couple are only there because they are gay, we shall see whether they will be axed or whether they get more story lines though in all fairness, I do hope their next story lines again relate to their sexuality but until that point, we can’t say whether they are there just to be gay.

  32. Paul Halsall 22 Jul 2010, 6:21pm

    It would be nice if some Cable or satellite system showed the US LGBT channel – LOGO – over here.

  33. Have I been missing a point all my life? As a gay person should I only watch TV with gay roles in it? In the 70s that would mean the only programmes I could watch were Are You Being Served and The Generation Game with Larry Grayson! And I wouldn’t call either of those positive gay images.

    Should I have no heroes and role models who aren’t gay? Sorry, but before and since I discovered the joys of girl on girl love, my number one hero is the man from Gallifrey.

    Can’t I enjoy a programme without analysing its gay or non-gay content?

    Does every soap need to have its token gay storyline just to fill somebody’s quota? Because you know that’s ALL they are. They’ve done everything else to death so get a same sex kiss in there!

    Now I’m going to watch Animals at Work on Iplayer then dig out my Torchwood box sets to watch them for their brilliant and inovative sci fi storylines and I don#t care who shags who or what in it.

  34. Okay. I think there are a few things it’s important to note. The survey only covered the top 20 programs watched by young people (The One Show?!). Output like Gay to Z which was on C4 in days gone by, or the Panorama special on homophobia a month or so ago, would certainly not have been popular enough to be surveyed, despite the realistic and sympathetic portrayal of gay people in those programs. The survey was never intended to cover all channel output, just that which is popular amongst amongst youth.

    I believe that the criticism of overly or singularly stereotypical portrayals of gay people by Stonewall is appropriate because the gay stereotype is essentially the proverbial sack that bigots throw us all into to give us a kicking. The stereotype does exist for a reason, and I’m hardly the world’s most straight-seeming (Instead of straight-acting. It’s not an act.) person myself. But when only people who fit into the stereotypes are shown on television, it legitimises and reinforces the belief that the stereotype is accurate and appropriate for all gay people when we know that isn’t the case. People need to see that it isn’t, because if the stereotype is allowed to persist, then it will continue to be used as a basis for discrimination and marginalisation. That’s why portrayals of people who do not conform to the stereotype are so important in the media and especially amongst the youth who are still developing their own views and opinions about the world. Call it propagandising if you want, Grange Hill was conceived with exactly that intention – teaching kids about situations they might encounter, how to cope with them, and what was right and wrong to do, in a method that was relatable instead of patronising and condescending.

  35. The whole area of stereotyping and power dynamics is far from simple or binary. It is very complex and nuanced. One simply cannot say, flatly and across the board, that the stereotyping of gay people is more offensive than the stereotyping of straight people, or the stereotyping of black people more offensive than the stereotyping of white people. The cultural impact of ANY presentation is dependent on a vast number of factors in both the presentation itself and the audience it reaches. Sometimes straight or white or male stereotypes can be far MORE damaging than gay or black of female ones, and can have just as wide-reaching social consequences.

    Take something like Daffyd Thomas from Little Britain for example. Now, a lot of gay people hate the character. He is about as excessive and silly a gay stereotype as it’s possible to conceive. BUT THAT’S THE POINT! Daffyd is a comic creation in no uncertain terms. He’s MEANT to be ridiculously over-the-top, and the presentation of him is so unreal it is impossible to take him as representing anyone who actually exists in the real world. The character is a deeply shallow person who tries to define himself solely as a flamboyant gay man, and a victim of homophobia where none exists. He is utterly ridiculous and delusional to the highest degree, precisely because he is meant to ridicule such gaudy stereotyping and hold a mirror up to show what it can become. He sends up both the traditional stereotypes of gay men, and those gay men who uncritically cling to such stereotypes in the vain hope it will make them interesting, unusual or special. This is further compounded by the fact that there are frequently other, much more normal, gay people on hand to provide a contrast. It’s simple, but it’s actually quite clever. In fact Daffyd is just another example in a long line of self-parodic playing up to stereotype that the gay community has used very effectively, alongside other strategies, as a weapon to challenge attitudes in the past 40 years.

    Now take the swagger of a Jeremy Clarkson or a Chris Moyles or a Russell Brand. To my mind this is far more pernicious than something like Daffyd, because these people, while exaggerated and stereotypical, are portrayed as legitimate role-models and examples of straight manhood that can easily be emulated. Gay men don’t want to be like Daffyd themselves, many straight men DO look up to and admire Clarkson and Moyles and Brand. It is well known that there is a problem with boys at school falling behind girls academically, and I think at least some of the blame can be placed on these kinds of poor, stereotypical role-models. The problem here is not that they ARE stereotypes, but that their stereotypical characteristics are presented as worthy and desirable and to be copied, rather than as naff, ridiculous and crude.

    Some of the funniest and most socially useful comedy can arise from minority groups or those sympathetic to them sending up their own stereotypes. Think of things like Goodness Gracious Me! for the British Asian community or David Baddiel and Woody Allen for the Jewish community. The ability to laugh along knowingly with such humour is an important part of social maturity and the confidence of acceptance, and can actually speed along social integration. Obviously such humour is not the same as the crude and derogatory stereotyping of genuinely racist and homophobic comedians like Roy Chubby-Brown or Jim Davidson, but that’s my entire point – the impact and effect of stereotypes changes completely based on context, and any attempt to make simple, sweeping statements about their use in art and culture is a big mistake.

  36. Incicentally, this survey and most of the reactions here are based on complete misconceptions of the BBC as a whole, not only its programme content, but the thousands of people who work for the organisation, a significant proportion of them LGBT, because the entertainment business has always been open to them. So stop jumping on bandwagons and think outside of the reactionary box.

    And incidentally, everyone who commented here has completely missed the point about Children of Earth.

  37. Zack (27):
    What you seem to be saying, if I understand you well, is that people like me, who in many ways reflect a gay stereotype, are not suitable representations. Is that right?

    There are very many of us – by definition – who have much in common with the stereo-type. But we are a negative representation, gay rights was not made for us, it’s all about straight-acting people you’d be prepared to bet your shirt weren’t gay if you didn’t know they shagged other guys. Have I got it right?

    As for the rest of your comment, I’m afraid I don’t understand it very well…

    Zack> “Honky” (an American term) does NOT have the same
    Zack> power or negative effect as “n*gger”.

    Never heard of “Honky”… sounds like an Italian taxi driver.
    And what’s the meaning of presenting a word (“n*gger”) to support your argument about stereotypes? Your argument was about stereotypes, not insults.

    Zack> “Goy” (Yiddish) does NOT have the same power
    Zack> or negative effect as “k*ke”

    Maybe not, because most of us are not Jewish and do not speak Yiddish, and do not know what “Goy” means. I don’t know what “k*ke” means either, and I’ve still not understood any relation with your supposed illustration of gay v. straight stereotypes.

    Zack> “Breeder” does NOT have the same power of negative
    Zack> effect as “f*ggot”.

    “Breeder” – someone who breeds dogs? If there’s another usage, I don’t know about it. “f*ggot” is a word which many gay people take as an insult, and a badge of pride worn by plenty of other gay people”. What’s it got to do with stereotype?

  38. and now i remember why i stopped bothering with Pink News. Every discussion is hijacked by reactionaries who completely miss EVERY relevant point. I’m out of here.

  39. just want to say the conversation has shifted pages on the BBC and is continuing here

  40. Stonewall are right on this. How much more difficult it must be for young people (and older people) to come out when their peers are likely to see them as some sort of pantomime character as portrayed on TV. If black people were still portrayed as uncle tom characters there would be uproar. It’s as almost as damaging as frank homophobia.

  41. Mihangel apYrs 23 Jul 2010, 7:00am

    What we need are storylines where Adam and Yves live together as a gay couple and are shown in all the domestic situations, rather than big angst moments or having sex. That is, show gay people as having full lives, like everybody eose, but with a SS partner.

  42. By coincidence I posted an article about a gay TV character on my blog just hours before the Stonewall announcement (which I agree with 100%).

    You can read it here:

    Comments appreciated.

  43. Frédéric 23 Jul 2010, 7:43am

    Gay people should really stop feeling sorry for themselves. Being gay myself i know quite a few stereotype homosexuals. Four poofs and a piano are what they are, poofs and a piano. Nothing wrong with that. Neither is the storyline in Eastenders. It is a soap and needs drama. A gay accepted person, friendly and sweet without any conflict is dramaticly not interesting . ANd what about all the straight people in the series? Aren’t they stereotyped? All relationships sooner or later brake up, don’t they? In soaps people are not supposed to be happy!
    There are a lot of promiscuous gays around, i can tell you! But straights are just as bad. Why should we look nicer and better then straight people. Because we are not! We are just as good and bad as anyone else. That is realistic!
    However in soaps and other dramaseries i miss often gay characters. Why are detectives, docters etc. always straight? And if any gay subject comes around, we are dealing with gay victims or gay nurses of patients? That is not reality!
    Gays are everywhere, i live in a very tiny village in France and we have at least 4 gay couples and a Transgender living here! Openly! So there is more homosexuality around than programs show. I miss that and lots of the time I cannot identify enough with the characters, but that is another story and another complaint.
    In short I don’t mind watching camp gays on tv, because there are camp gays. I don’t mind watching promiscuous gays on tv because most of them are. But then again most straights are as well, so why on earth should we look better than everyone else? That is also discrimination! People in general are promiscuous and gays dare more easily admit to that. For youngsters being brought up with fairytales it might be confronting, but sooner or later in their lifes they will find out that all relationships have their turmoils. That is part of becoming an adult.

  44. “Four poofs and a piano are what they are, poofs and a piano. Nothing wrong with that.”

    You’re missing the point somewhat I think.

    If Graham Norton (or whoever) takes over Jonathon Ross’s Friday chat show do you think he will hire a house band called ‘4 P*kis and a Piano?’ So long as the band are Pakistani then using your logic there’s ‘nothing wrong with that’?

    I suspect that no-one would accuse the Pakistani community of ‘feeling sorry for themselves’ if they were appalled by such a name.

  45. Stephen_C (46) said: “If Graham Norton (or whoever) takes over Jonathon Ross’s Friday chat show do you think he will hire a house band called ‘4 P*kis and a Piano?’ So long as the band are Pakistani then using your logic there’s ‘nothing wrong with that’?”

    I personally would have no problem with a group calling themselves “4 Pakis and a Piano”, if that’s what they wanted to call themselves.

    I take the view that what’s meant offensively is offensive, and what’s meant affectionately is affectionate. Of course I’m not pretending there are others who hold a different view; but in that sense you’re parallel with “Four poofs and a piano” is entirely apt… there will be those who take offence, and others who leave the fence be.

  46. r/you’re/your .(-_-).

  47. Personally, I see far more gay people on TV than I do in real life, so the fact that there is very little gay screentime is fairly representative of normal life in my experience.
    However, it’s always good to see gay people portrayed and the fact that they’re gay not being the main point of their existence and in my TV-watching experience the BBC is pretty good for this – Stephen Fry on QI, Simon Amstell on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, John Barrowman everywhere, and little gay scenes in, yes, the odd Dr Who or Torchwood episode every now and then.

    As for comedians making jokes about us – like it or not, we’re a group in society, and comedians make jokes about most groups – if they weren’t allowed to, that’d be kind of like us just telling the world we can’t take it.
    But then, I laugh at a lot of inappropriate humour, so my sense of whether something’s funny or offensive shouldn’t be seen as representative of the general public.

  48. Steve Crossley 27 Jul 2010, 11:44am

    just to play devils advocat a little, Did anyone else feel the Coming Out of Michael on My Family was done really well??

  49. Galadriel1010 29 Jul 2010, 1:39pm

    @Oscar: I agree utterly. Maybe I have a skewed sense of humour, but i was reading through the TV tropes page on Top Gear and nearly crying with laughter this afternoon (bashed my head against a wall I was laughing that hard, then /did it again/). Yes, I find it very funny when Clarkson says that he associates the words ‘beige’, ‘obsessive’ and ‘homosexual’ with May, and May objects to ‘beige’, just as I found it hilarious when Clarkson… oh, just Clarkson and Will Young, the whole damn thing. Shagpile!
    We are a culture dedicated to taking the piss, in as many ways as possible, and Clarkson is an expert in this, largely because he’s as good at taking as he is at giving it.
    Torchwood and Doctor Who were brilliant for gay visibility – Torchwood was wonderful for its bi visibility, until the season Which Dare Not Speak Its Name (taken as a stand-alone, CoE was horrifically homophobic at times, and a lot of people only saw CoE.)
    As for Barrowman (bless his cotton socks, there’s no escaping him – I moved to Australia and he was on TV under a week after I got here on Hotel Babylon), Fry, Amstell, Toksvig, Perkins, the guy whose name has /completely/ escaped me but I’ll remember just after I hit ‘say it’ – the BBC gave them to all of us. Well, actually I think Footlights gave us most of that list, but one of them is probably on the Beeb every night. Hell, pick a day on Dave and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get all of them on BBC shows (Barrowman might have to sneak in in an advert for Watch, but I’ve seen him on Dave in his own right).
    Stephen Fry is a wonder for gay visibility all on his own. It doesn’t really matter what teenagers are watching, they all seem to think that he is God, or their favourite uncle, or sometimes both.

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