BBC review: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel under represented in broadcasting
The BBC has published a two year review, which looks at the way audiences and experts perceive the portrayal lesbian, gay and bisexual people in UK programming.
The review confirmed that a large majority of audiences are comfortable with the depiction of gay, lesbian and bisexual people online, on radio, and on television.
The research did suggest, however, that lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel they are under represented by all UK broadcasters, including, but not limited to the BBC.
The experts urged broadcasters to be more inclusive in news and current affairs programming, as well as to include more realistic depictions of gay, bisexual and lesbian people in dramas, and factual television.
The research aimed to build upon a study conducted in 2010, and both are part of the BBC’s aim to keep these issues at the forefront of achieving equality in broadcasting. The full report can be accessed here.
An independently run audience reaction panel, Pulse, will now be used by the BBC to track over time, audience views on these depictions, in order to help broadcasters meet the expectations of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Acting director general Tim Davie, chair of the BBC Working Group which commissioned the review, said: “The BBC has a fundamental obligation to serve all its audiences. In fact, it’s one of the BBC’s public purposes to reflect the diversity of UK life.
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“I’m proud to have led this work for three years, and this review underlines our commitment and sets a direction for the work to continue.”
The survey comes in two parts, and surveyed arund 3,500 people on the Pulse panel, which included more than 500 people who identified themselves as lesbian, gay and bisexual, as well as experts from Stonewall, the actor’s union, Equity, and the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.
The BBC has made a commitment to re-run the audience survey in a years time, and aims to track future changes.
The BBC looked separately at the representaton of trans people, and recently launched the Trans Comedy Award, a partnership between the BBC Writersroom and Trans Comedy, in order to encourage a more positive portrayal of trans people in mainstream comedy.
In the US, back in August, the sixth annual Network Responsibility Index was published by GLAAD, and includes details of networks and shows which have accurately reflected, or not, the LGBT community through their broadcasting.