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Comment: Continued LGBT discrimination at the BBC would let down a new generation

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  1. The BBC seems to becoming more pro-religion too, is this just a coincidence?

    1. The Christian religon thinks it’s new job is to infiltrate every and all business to gain control over them for their own ends. Much the same way as the CIA infiltrates other countries and governements to take them over like the American Christans are doing in the middle east. They do this by causing fights between groups like the Christians are getting the blacks in American to fight the gays. When they kill each other off then the CIA or Christians or the mad men walk in and take over.

    2. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 5:44pm

      They seem very pro christian and islamic fundamentalism these days.

    3. Craig Denney 2 Apr 2012, 8:55pm

      Even today they splashed the whole of the church service in remembrance of the Falklands on the news channel. None of the other news channels did that.

      Every opportunity they get to put a Vicar in front of the camera, they take it!

      1. I agree, this seems to be a fairly recent development. Less than impartial pressure from the top?

  2. The BBC ignores trans issues even more than it ignores gay issues – only Waterloo road had a trans character, who only appeared for one episode and was characterised by stealing other pupils’ underwear – great. Other BBC programmes have been actively transphobic, such as Lee Nelson’s vile sketch where the audience were encouraged to guess which woman “used to be a bloke”. The BBC are anti-LGBT bastards these days.

    1. Well said Steven.

  3. Yes everybody knows that the Christians in the west and the Muslims in the east are the two mob groups or terrorist gangs that have influence over who does what and who makes money and who does not. They have become the great Satan they talk about by oppressing minorities who do not go their way and pay them protection money.

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 2 Apr 2012, 5:20pm

    It’s no coincidence given its recent negative comments about civil marriage for gay couples, while giving more time to religious opponents.

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 2 Apr 2012, 5:33pm

      They can stick their license fee where the sun don’t shine.

      No representation No fee.

      1. Walk the talk mate

    2. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 5:46pm

      I also won’t go near a television these days. The only one I see is my mothers.

  5. Everything seems to be carefully cheery-picked on the BBC. I mean all you have to do is look at the news. I can’t remember the last time i saw a LGBT story mentioned on there.

    1. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 5:50pm

      Not only that, the death of Michael Causer was not reported by BBC NW, yet I have seen other far less important things reported as horrific. Last week a lady had acid thrown on her in Manchester which is pretty nasty, but this was apparently a huge and important story – contrast the deaths of LGBT people who get almost nothing. It is truly appalling and something very strong needs to be done about it. I would say we need to start holding marches and rallies outside the BBC or they are going to be able to brainwash our people withj bigotry.

      1. It was the under-reported torture and murder of Michael Causer that mobilised me into activism, to be honest. And you are absolutely right about rallies, and getting the BBC to take notice. Doesn’t need to be at Broadcasting House: what about the next Question Time venue, for instance?

        1. Anyone know where the next QT is, I would join a rally and am sure many more would too

          1. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 8:57pm

            I did question time many years ago – it’s a very controlled away from it venue with an entrance that is carefully controlled, and there is a practice run through before hand, so that even the audience would have problems making a point. There must be other places, or just lots of places…

          2. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 8:58pm

            Actually media city in Salford is reasonably close to me. Anybody been there?

          3. Spanner1960 3 Apr 2012, 9:27am

            Question Time is predefined. The audience hands in forms with their questions on beforehand, and the chair knows them before they are asked. The show is nowhere near as spontaneous as you might think.

          4. @Spanner1960

            Whilst I think it would be good to see many people in the audience at BBCQT, its true that it is predefined (in an attempt by the producers to have a representative audience).

            However, it is also a flagship programme of the BBC and I took Adrian’s suggestion to mean that a protest could raise the profile of the concerns about the BBC bias and generate publicity, and that this need not take place at Broadcasting House or TV Centre, but perhaps at one of the BBCQT recordings. With enough people, enough volume and words in the ear of friendly journalists (eg PN, LES, Guardian etc etc) about the protest – some significant publicity could be generated, forcing the BBC to sit up and take notice.

  6. The BBC will pay for and develop programming for channels like BBC Alba – a tiny minority of people who can all also speak English. And yet our minority, although much larger, is not only so grotesquely under-represented that it isn’t even funny, it is actively discriminated against.

    Of course, not all LGBT people want the same from TV. But then presumably the same is true in terms of – not all Gaelic speakers want the same from TV. But they get broadcast hours made for them every week, and we get virtually nothing.

    1. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 5:51pm

      This is an excellent point so why isn’t it being addressed and answered? Is equality in this country for LGBT in a really serious state as it seems? I have to say ITV are awful as well.

      1. But the ITV business model is different. The BBC is supposed to cater to niche viewing and educational shows and other things that ITV cannot sell to advertisers because they are of minority interest.

        1. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 9:00pm

          Right, I see – I have to say the one brightspot on ITV is Benedorm. Can’t think of anything on the BBC.

  7. MarkThompson is a committed catholic. I rest my case.

    1. I have found they all do the Pope’s bidding.

    2. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 5:57pm

      Thank you , I did wonder about this. I seem to have had an awful lot of key prejudice from Catholics at key points in my life. It is time to start going on the offensive against them I think. I don’t know about a backlash against Gays, how about a serious backlash against the religious – I can see it happening. I starting to think I should ditch my own christian beleifs through what is happening. We need to start marching and protesting. If we don’t we will become oppressed. Where is the monitoring of Mark Thomson? Surely given this churche’s anti LGBT stance and that I know from personal experiience (my Gran when in hospital) that they issue instructions to behave in a prejudiced way. In my case two old ladies (in Wells, Somerset) were instructed by the priest church never to refer to me as female, and always used my old male name, literally at every opportunity so that it became harassement. “We all have to do what the pope says” as one pointed out.

      1. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 6:00pm

        Incidentally do you really wan to have to deal with something like this when you are visiting your terminally ill gran? I think this is getting realy quite serious with the religious.

        1. It’s because they know they’re losing the argument. It’s absolutely killing them, and as such their behaviour is getting more and more desperate.

        2. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 7:34pm

          I think also that they were also trying to tell my gran she had to obey these instructions herself, and refer to me by my old male name, and this caused her a great deal of upset in her final days. Also I have just thought two friends I had who went to Downside Roman Catholic school also went on to work for the BBC, and so alarm bells are starting to go off in my head!!!! Is there any statistical info available on RCs in the BBC? It seems pretty bad that he two heads are both RC people, what exactly is going on? we need figures.

          1. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 12:41am

            Well you could send them a Freedom of Information Act request?

          2. Personal details like faith cannot be released in FOI request

          3. @mo

            Specific details about individuals faith can not be released under FOI, however, statistics collected on either the entire workforce or senior managements faith that may have been collected could be justifiably requested and releaased.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 2 Apr 2012, 6:02pm

      Yes, indeed he is! The BBC is far from impartial when it comes to LGBT issues. It’s done a pretty poor job in my view under Thompson’s watch. I resent having to pay my licence fee just as I am with paying taxes without full representation, i.e. equal marriage. It needs to be held accountable.

  8. Ben Amponsah 2 Apr 2012, 6:00pm

    Mark Thompson = Arch Catholic and sad to say he has brought with him Arch homophobia. Light at end of tunnel is that he will soon be gone

  9. A very powerfully-argued and well-written article. Lots of food for thought. The times are changing … thanks in part to excellent journalism such as this.

  10. DIrector of the BBC Trust Chris Patten is also RC

    Who is surprised at the BBCs bias on the issue of equal marriage then?

    1. Exactly . . . what more can be said!!!

  11. I do hope things will improve with the replacement as LGBT issues have slid down very much and we do not have a service fit for current needs. It’s bad enough to remove LGBT poeple from CBBC but to lie to children by pretending gay people are straight is awful. Why no gay couple on Balamory or Grandpa in My Pocket? The news services also need to learn that homophobic crime needs to be taken seriously. Much improvement needed.

  12. There was, at least in my opinion, one shining light in BBC LGBT programming. That was the BBC2 comedy Beautiful People, inspired by the memoirs of Simon Doonan, which made it to two short series and was then abruptly cancelled in 2009.

    Yes, the main character was an unashamedly camp as christmas gay fifteen year old with a love of musical theatre and an occasional crossdressing indulgence, but it was written and produced with real wit, warmth and joy. It really dealt, albeit in wryly humorous fashion, with what it is like for a modern gay teenager to feel isolated and bullied and not to fit in.

    It had a very positive happy ending, which was important, and even more important it was also funny across the board – my straight brother found it hilarious too, and he’s certainly no connoiseur of the camp.

    Yet it was cancelled. And nobody seems to talk about it anymore.

    1. I think that programmes like this are very important in a particular way. Most often when we talk about poor LGBT representation in the media, we end up talking about the lack of realistic LGBT role models and the rampant stereotyping. We complain about how the gay men are almost always shown as camp and catty and shallow, the lesbians are all either dowdy and gruff or plasticky straight fantasy lesbians, and trans people are either absent entirely or insulting comedy grotesques. And that’s often true, and it’s an important fight to fight.

      But that’s not the only battle. There is a danger that, in standing up and insisting that we’re not all like that, we implicitly demean and belittle those of us who ARE like that. Some LGBT people do fit the stereotypes. Some STRAIGHT people fit the stereotypes too for that matter. And that’s okay. These people should not be made to feel that their natural mannerisms or preferred modes of comportment are being stigmatised,

    2. And it is by making programmes that present people who do have these mannerisms and predilections as well-rounded, sympathetic, real people that we fight that. Beautiful People is a very good example, because even though it is a comedy we see it from the perspective of just such a character and get exposed to his psychological complexities, his dreams and fears, and his everyday life with a comedically weird but fundamentally loving and supportive family. Simon is not just a one-dimensional stereotype, he’s a likeable and well-developed personality. I found it very encouraging.

      Because surely our ultimate goal is a society in which you can go around just being yourself, however you normally behave, without being judged or sneered at or pressured into changing? In such a society everybody benefits – straight men perhaps most of all, because they won’t constantly feel the need to disavow or conceal and nascent preferences they have for things deemed stereotypically gay or effeminate.

    3. Spanner1960 3 Apr 2012, 9:29am

      I agree. It was the best show on TV, but was resigned to a late evening graveyard slot on the backwaters of BBC3. It felt like the BBC were ‘doing their bit’ for LGBT people, but trying to keep it as low profile as possible.

  13. So the BBC Trust

    Lord Chris Patten (Chair) – Roman Catholic, Trustee of “The Tablet”
    Diane Coyle (Vice Chair) – presumably Roman Catholic (contributed to the book “Catholic Social Teaching and the market economy” and is director of Enlightenment Economics who have conducted work with a focus on Catholic involvement in developing economies).
    Rotha Johnston, Governor Methodist College

    Thats 2 trustees with RC links and another with significant church links

    So BBC Executive:

    Mark Thompson (DG) – Roman Catholic

    Seems some very key and influential people are RC or potentially allies.

    1. Another Hannah 2 Apr 2012, 10:15pm

      The board OUGHT to properly represent all people I think Stu. How have they got away with this?

      1. They should properly represent all people – its so worrying that the RC church has infiltrated in such a way.

        1. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 12:57am

          At times like this I like to look at this National Secular Society’s you-tube clip: and after seeing the clip I feel much better.

  14. Judge how much BBC children’s TV has changed over the last two decades. Check out this clip from Grange Hill (originally broadcast in March 1993)

    Kids have just discovered that Mr Brisley is gay. Here he has to put up with prejudice from staff and pupils, but as the series progressed he became accepted and well-liked.

    As you can see, the issue of homophobia was tackled head on. Grange Hill had previously done the same with racism issues.

  15. The BBC does not have to represent every walk of life they do not have to cater for homosexuals with special content.

    I am pleased that most of the Directors are Catholics, respectible normal people.

    Stu, you really must not harrass individuals and or business that do not agree with your millitance, it’s not good behaviour and it is intimidation.

    Pipe down there’s a good lad.

    1. Now Aiden

      How strange you sound just like Matthew – he suggested legitimate protest was harassment

      Please don’t tell me you lack the intelligence to understand the difference too?

      1. Doesn’t he just. Poor Mathew, couldn’t muster up a decent legal threat to save his life.

        “Pipe down there’s a good lad.”

        No, we won’t. Its why you’re relegated to a gay site to spread your filth and lies, and we are winning rights.

    2. “The BBC does not have to represent every walk of life”

      Umm… How much do you know about the BBC? Isn’t that, like, their number 1 priority?

      1. @Tom


        Clearly, Aiden/Matthew in his anti gay militant rhetoric does not recognise simple facts.

        One of the key BBC core values is:

        “We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best.”

        One of the key BBC Purposes from its Royal Charter is:

        “Represent the different nations, regions and communities to the rest of the UK.”

        The BBC Executive made this comment in early 2010, when explaining they were commissioning research about how LGBT were portrayed by the BBC (clearly senior management feel they have a duty to represent LGBT people – even if they fail!):

        “We are aware that people may have strong views, both positively and negatively, about how the BBC is portraying the LGB community across our services and that’s why it’s so important to hear what you’re thinking. Only in this way can the BBC be part of a real step change in delivering accurate, authentic portrayals of LGB people’s lives.”

    3. Spanner1960 3 Apr 2012, 9:24am

      Why not? People from every walk of life are forced to pay their licence fees, so one would expect them to be included to a certain degree.

      Nobody is demanding full on gay sex scenes any more than one would straight ones.
      All I am sure most of us want to see is a typical demographic going about their normal lives and jobs and just being part of the whole. Instead, we are notably conspicuous by our absence, except when it comes to light entertainment presenters and ‘gay love triangles’ in crappy soaps.

    4. Aiden, you really must not harass individuals who do not agree with your militance, it’s not good behaviour and, above all, it’s not respectable [note spelling].

      Pipe down, there’s a good little troll.

  16. By the way, excellent points made in this article. It’s high time the BBC started listening and taking action.

  17. This is nonsense. PN writers are obsessed with vilifying the BBC. They provide TV programmes for the whole nation, not just for the LGBT community. they have no agenda to put down any minority. get a grip.

    1. David Mason 3 Apr 2012, 9:07am

      My comment piece is based on the evidence. How, for example, would you explain away what I found about the Bullying message board and homophobic bullying issues? Also, why was help about growing up issues withdrawn?

      Why did management take over direct control of diversity issues with the setting up of a “Diversity Board” in 2005?

      It’s interesting to note that Newsround’s 40th anniversary survey finding about religion was ‘leaked’ well before the survey was published. Why that bit? Could it be anything to do with Mark Thompson’s stated belief (2008) that “quite simply religion is back?”

      There are too many coincidences for a reasonable person to conclude that the BBC does not have an agenda.

    2. Denes,

      Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music said in 2010:

      “We are aware that people may have strong views, both positively and negatively, about how the BBC is portraying the LGB community across our services and that’s why it’s so important to hear what you’re thinking. Only in this way can the BBC be part of a real step change in delivering accurate, authentic portrayals of LGB people’s lives.”

      This was part of meeting their need of the BBC Royal Charter purpose of “Representing the different nations, regions and communities to the rest of the UK.” LGBT people were and are deemed to be communities within the UK.

      So, all in all, I think Davids article yesterday and Adrian’s last week are honest and well thought out reflections of how the BBC are failing in their responsibility to be impartial about LGBT issues in the new or reflect LGBT people more widely.

  18. Spanner1960 3 Apr 2012, 9:18am

    One thing I have noticed with the BBC is it’s hellbent directive to include ethnic minorities in everything they make. I appreciate they have to be inclusive to a certain degree, because ethnic people make up a percentage of the population, and are also a percentage of the viewers, but I find it ridiculous to see black people in shows like “Merlin”, set in the 12th century when they simply weren’t in Britain then. This also applies to many period drams they make.

    Equally, LGBT people make up as much, if not more of the population as ethnics, but only seem to be dropped in when a specific gay/lesbian storyline is required instead of them just simply being part of the drama.

    The only popular shows I have seen where it has been included are Torchwood and to a lesser degree, Dr Who, and I suspect only at the insistence of the writers and producers, many of which are gay. It would be such a boost to the LGBT public image if they were simply represented as ordinary people.

  19. It is true that Chris Patten was one of the Tory peers who supported the so-called “wrecking amendment” to the Civil Partnership Bill in the House of Lords debates in 2004.

  20. I think that it is absolutely appalling that in these allegedly more enlightened times that the BBC appears to not just have dropped the ball with regards to positive gay representation but appears to have turned the tide. It is sad that I remember such progressive programming as the gay storyline in Byker Grove, That Gay Show, (I believe that there was also a gay news programme on Radio 5) etc etc when we had made a lot less progress politically with regards to equality legislation, and yet now there appears to be this whitewash. We should remain constantly vigilant to the BBC upholding its responsibility to serve our community. Just because we have made these in roads does not mean that the fight has been won and we can now be removed from representation. The BBC in not including positive gay representation in its programming, and in particular its Childrens programming, is complicit in creating a culture where gay children, men, and women are treated as inferior.

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