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Lesbians and bisexuals ‘not represented enough’ on the BBC

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  1. Let’s hope there are no more disgraceful fiascos like the ‘Should homosexuals face execution?’; and that if somebody like Chris Moyles engages in homophobic slurs that he will be treated in the same manner as Carol Thatcher was when she said the word ‘golliwog’ off air (ie fired).

    The results are interesting however. Although why the BBC felt the need to consult heterosexual viewers about gay representation seems dodgy. I doubt they’d specifically seek white people’s views about their representation of black people.

    And Pink News – why is Ben Summerskill quoted in this story. He himself admits that his organisation Stonewall does not represent LGBT people. Therefore his (and Stonewall’s) opinion is irrelevant.

  2. HelenWilson 30 Sep 2010, 8:54am

    Steven Green of Christian Voice has been on BBC TV and radio twice this week with his particular brand of homophobia.

    No LGBT person was allowed right to reply against him!

    I doubt things like this will change, or get some sort of programming that will cover LGBT issues.

    They will just add a lesbian storyline to Eastenders and say they have covered us.

  3. If anyone from the BBC reads this article please be aware that Stonewall no longer represents LGBT people (not as long as Ben Summerskill is at its head)

  4. I wish we would stop having those all knowing, oh wise one, patronising comments from Ben Summerskill on any of these issues……anything he says now just pisses me off!

  5. Quote: It also found that one in five people is uncomfortable with seeing gays and lesbians on television”
    I suppose you can’t prevent people from making themselves feel uncomfortable at the sight of a gay man or a lesbian woman on television, I suggest these are probably the very people who would benefit from seeing gays and lesbians realistically portrayed on television, maybe it’s the few stereotypes of gay & lesbians they do see on television that exaggerates their feelings of discomfort.

  6. Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2010, 10:32am

    “It also found that one in five people is uncomfortable with seeing gays and lesbians on television”

    I think this is because the BBC refuse to treat the LGB community as normal contributing human beings. Instead we are subjects of special, usually controversial, storylines. Often portrayed in a bad light and finished with when ‘normal’ life resumes. It paints a picture that LGB people only have drama in there lives and ‘the norm’ can’t possibly happen. I can remember a very outdated comment that went that a man couldn’t possibly love another man like the love between a man and a woman. I believe the BBC go by that very comment and treat us accordingly.

    If LGB people were seen as frequently on TV as in life maybe more people wouldn’t even bat an eyelid just as they don’t for most of our straight counterparts. The BBC chooses to be bias over it’s treatment of the LGB community, yet they still expect us to pay for the damn licence fee. Something I resent when I hardly ever watch any of their channels.

  7. HelenWilson 30 Sep 2010, 10:35am

    People said they felt uncomfortable about people of colour being on TV, they did not ban them though!

    I personally feel uncomfortable when I see white middle class heterosexual Christians on TV, ban them all NOW.

  8. HelenWilson 30 Sep 2010, 10:38am

    Oh and don’t transgender and intersexed people exist too BBC? How can society ever begin to except them if you don’t acknowledge their existence too.

  9. Rob McDowall 30 Sep 2010, 10:48am

    What an utter joke! 1 in 5 people feel uncomfortable with seeing gay people on TV, get a life, honestly. I feel sick when my senses are abused by seeing Gordon Brown, Tony Blair et alia prancing about on TV, but I don’t winge about it.

  10. Tv always makes lgb people stereotypes and totally ignores transcended people.
    I don’t care if people dont like seeing us that’s their problem we are a part of life and must be fairly represented but I don’t think it will happen just look at the Christian & syed fiasco… Real life you just don’t make such an issue of sexuality but no a soap makes us all camp pink loving flamboyant … AHHH! stereotypes make me so mad.

  11. Grant Denkinson 30 Sep 2010, 11:09am

    Where can this report be found?

  12. I took part in this and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one fed up with LGBT characters who are only introduced for a bit of drama and are often utter stereotypes. I’d just like to see dramas where people just happen to be gay and it’s only one facet of who they are – ie they’re just portrayed as utterly and even boringly normal.

    I was shocked to read that 1 in 5 people are uncomfortable seeing gay people on TV. I agree with HelenWilson in #7 (and #2 too actually). I don’t see why we always have to ask straight people what they think about our human rights. I doubt the BBC would have asked a question about how comfortable white people felt about seeing black people on TV because it’d go without saying that obviously all races should be represented. However, it always seems OUR rights are up for discussion.

  13. “Gay and straight people were consulted” – and so were bi people.

    “The opinions of heterosexual people were detailed extensively in the research. The majority were comfortable with portrayals of gay people, although they were less likely to be concerned about positive and realistic depictions.

    However, just over one in ten of all respondents thought that there was too much portrayal of gay people on the BBC. Eighteen per cent were ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable’ about seeing gay people on television.” – what about the depiction of bi people?

    “n drama, they said they wanted to see realistic storylines around gay and lesbian relationships” – bi ones?

    “LGB respondents pointed to the need for clarity in comedy which references gay people” – bi ones?

    “”These findings confirm those of Stonewall research in recent years which show that both gay and heterosexual licence-payers want to see more realistic, incidental representations of gay people on their TV screens.” – and bi ones?

    God, it’s depressing that even here, the B-word was mentioned several times, a la Stonewall’s “mention them in passing but don’t discuss them”.

  14. I’m still hoping for a follow up survey to deal with transgendered and intersex representation, as well. Nonetheless I am glad the BBC did this, although they are going to have to do a lot more to rescue the situation they’ve created.

    Conflating the issues of LGB media representation and public perception was a mistake imo. Having taken the survey, I felt it produced a number of leading questions, built upon premises which I did not accept.

  15. I doubt the BBC would have asked a question about how comfortable white people felt about seeing black people on TV because it’d go without saying that obviously all races should be represented. However, it always seems OUR rights are up for discussion.

    That was the sort of reason why I chose not to respond to their survey. An organisation which had a responsible attitude to diversity and inclusiveness would never dream of having a public consultation about black representation, for example. It simply wouldn’t need to.

    I do, however, write a blog which some people might think relevant.

  16. Connor Wallace 30 Sep 2010, 1:21pm

    I’m sick to death of every gay character on TV (not just the BBC)being either a complete fairy (Sean off corrie), a husband stealer (Christian, eastenders), or a psycho self hating lunatic ( Aaron, Emmerdale). The “1 in 5” that don’t want to see gay people really would benefit from seeing realistic portrayal of gay people. And i don’t think Sean that horrible slapper Christian is helping anyone.

  17. It is no surprise gay people crying discrimination use hate terms like “psycho” and “lunatic”. Names which are designed to stigmatise and breed hate against people with mental health issues. Seems there needs to be an accurate and fair portrayal of people with mental health issues in the media. But I would not expect more from people hailing from that backward miserable isle of Hibernia, and most anti Irish sentiment is usually a well founded and rational prejudice based on facts and reality.

    BBC gay report is “flawed progress”

    Some gay issues still not addressed

    London – 30 September 2010

    “The BBC’s research on its portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people is ground-breaking progress. But is also flawed in key aspects,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the LGBT rights campaign group, OutRage!

    “The report does not adequately address complaints that the BBC gives proportionately little airtime to gay people or issues, and that its news coverage of homophobic hate crimes and gay human rights violations is often patchy. In the name of balance, the BBC too often reports extreme homophobic views, whereas it would not give a platform to similar racist or anti-Semitic opinions. It is guilty of featuring too many camp, stereotypical gay comedians and either neglecting or sensationalising transgender people,” he added.

    Mr Tatchell was commenting on the publication today of the BBC report, Portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people on the BBC:

    “The real bench mark is to compare the BBC’s portrayal of gay issues with its depiction of black issues. Quite rightly, the BBC has a zero tolerance of racism but when it comes to homophobia it seems to show more leeway. Why two different responses to prejudice?

    “At a time when the BBC national news was almost daily reporting the murder of young men and racists attacks, in 2008 it failed to report the homophobic murder of 18-year-old Michael Causer in Liverpool, other than on the Merseyside section of the BBC website. In contrast, the earlier racist murder of black Liverpudlian, Anthony Walker, received national BBC news coverage for days. This is evidence of the BBC’s double standards on racism and homophobia.

    “I salute those BBC trustees, executives, editors and journalists who have made positive changes to include and fairly represent the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities. Progress has been made. We need to acknowledge that.

    “Congratulations to the Beeb for its ground-breaking gay Muslim storyline in Eastenders, which has helped highlight some of the dilemmas faced by an often hidden section of the gay and Muslim communities.

    “But more remains to be done.

    In 2006, the BBC was stung when gay lobby group Stonewall published a damning report, Tuned Out, by Leeds University researchers. They examined 168 hours of prime-time BBC 1 and BBC 2 television programmes; finding that positive gay references totalled a mere six minutes, compared to 32 minutes of negative, disparaging coverage. In other words, gay people were five times more likely to be portrayed in negative terms than in positive ones. Over half of all gay references were jokes, which mostly played on stereotypes of sexually predatory or effeminate gay men. Lesbian and gay issues were rarely mentioned in BBC factual output. Overall lesbian lives and concerns were particularly poorly represented in BBC programming.

    “Sadly, there is little evidence that BBC coverage of LGB issues has improved significantly since Tuned Out was published.

    “Last December, the BBC reported on legislation before the Ugandan parliament that seeks to impose the death penalty for repeated same-sex acts. In response, the corporation’s Have Your Say Africa website hosted an online debate: ‘Should homosexuals face execution?’ The BBC would not, I suspect, hold online debates such as: ‘Should black people be lynched?’ Moreover, the BBC’s commentary announcing the debate put a very weak case against the execution of LGB Ugandans. To some people, it read like a tacit invitation for respondents to endorse the state-sponsored killing of LGBs.

    “This faux pas followed the furore over Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles using the word ‘gay’ as an insult and getting away with it. Indeed, the BBC governors ruled that the word ‘gay’ was an acceptable on-air synonym for ‘rubbish.’

    “The BBC 3 television programme, The Most Annoying People of 2008, included an interview with BBC Radio 5 presenter, DJ Spooney, where he was given free rein, without challenge or rebuke, to disparage lesbians: ‘Let the munters and mingers get each other. That’s cool. No one really wants them ones.’” If he had been a white DJ making similar remarks about black women he would have been disciplined or even sacked.

    “The BBC has few known gay, lesbian or bisexual people in senior management or trustee positions and it refuses to recognise that this represents a shortcoming in its diversity policy.

    “Are any of its 12 trustees openly gay? And who is the corporation’s most senior openly lesbian or gay executive? A BBC press officer told journalist Simon Edge that these questions are an outrageous intrusion. But the BBC would not think twice about saying how many executives or trustees are black or Asian.

    “This attitude is symptomatic of a bigger, wider problem at the BBC. Progress yes, but more needs to be done to make the BBC fit for lesbian, gay and bisexual audiences,” said Mr Tatchell.

  19. The BBC’s new Editorial Guidelines are due out by now. Wonder where they’ve got to?

  20. I’ve now had an opportunity to skim through the report, and it’s even more crude and simplistic than even I imagined such a report could be. Division of respondents into ‘comfortable’ and ‘uncomfortable’ amounts to a celebration of heterosexism, prejudice and – dare it be said – bigotry. As with the BBC’s earlier effort From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel report it would never survive academic review. I wonder how much licence-payers’ money went into funding it.

  21. I’m going to boycott the BBC (it’s all rubbish anyway). I know one person won’t make a difference to them, but at least I won’t have to face their hate. And if enough homos boycott them, if it became a ‘thing’ that gay people did until they changed, then it would make a difference. Although I know it’s a bit optimistic that gay people would ‘boycott’ them. Gay people never boycott anything, gay people are rubbish at protesting. We’re all too nice.
    Do I still have to pay the license fee if I don’t watch it?

  22. Peter from Brisbane 30 Sep 2010, 8:09pm

    Night after night we hear offensive Gay Hater’s on Radio 2UE, Sydney Australia, spew out the ugly Christian version of HO MO SEX UAL.
    This word is deliberately pronounced slowly to make it sound lurid and dirty.
    LGBT people are never allowed to challenge on air, these perverted
    callers as the presenter deems his heterosexuality and family status is superior to Gay families, and that Gay marriage is not an urgent issue in Australia.
    I wonder why the Green Party received a huge amount of votes and the balance of power in the Senate.
    This Presenter like Andrew Bolt insists that the Greens are Commo’s.
    ‘They are like a Water Melons. Green all over and Red all the way through’. Lies can be as effective as the truth if you can get someone to believe it.
    It is also noted that callers with Mental Health issues are cut off smartly from the programme, followed with earie, offensive music played on a Saw.
    There’s no doubt about these smug people! They censor our mouths shut, and are very willing to steal billions of Gay tax dollars to support their families and children.
    The same can be said about the non inclusive Murdock empire.

  23. “I’m going to boycott the BBC (it’s all rubbish anyway).”

    That’s not a good idea.

    The BBC remains the only publicly funded media outlet in Britain.

    Believe me if the BBC is broken up, we’ll be left with the likes of Rupert Murdoch (the Sun, the News of the World, the Times) and the Daily Mail determining media portrayal of LGBT people.

    The best course is to make sure that the BBC acts far more responibly and fairly in its representation of LGBT people.

    The BBC is a national treasure.

    We just need to make sure they realise that they have a duty to represent our communities honestly and fairly!

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