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10 percent of BBC staff should be gay by 2020, government insists

Nick Duffy May 18, 2016

The government says the BBC should ensure 10 percent of its employees are LGBT… despite less then four percent of Tory MPs being LGB.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale recently released his white paper on the future of the BBC, which has recently come under flack from the general public for narrowing the remit of the popular broadcaster.

However, a small section of the white paper also sets targets on diversity, insisting that “given its role and public service mission the BBC should lead the way in truly representing the diverse communities it serves”.

The paper notes: “The BBC has an important role in reflecting and serving the full range of diverse communities within the UK, including in terms of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, ethnicity, nation and region.”

It backs new workforce targets for the BBC, requiring “15 per cent of senior leadership roles for BAME, ten per cent LGBT and eight per cent for disabled staff… by 2020”.

It is unclear how the 10 percent figure – which comes from an internal diversity report – was reached. The size of the LGBT community is hard to measure as self-identification is often under-reported, but most workforces see between two and five percent of employees self-identify as LGBT.

The target for the BBC is nearly double that of rival broadcaster Channel 4, which has a specific licensing requirement to represent diverse communities.

A Channel 4 report last year set a target of 6% of staff identifying as LGBT by the year 2020 – up from 2.4% at present.

The Conservative Party currently has 13 Members of Parliament who identify as lesbian, bisexual or gay out of 330, while there are no MPs who identify as trans – meaning that the party is falling well short of the targets itself, with less than four percent LGB MPs.

More: BBC, diversity, England, Gay, LGBT, sexuality, Television

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