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The BBC quietly dropped four LGBT+ charities from its transgender support page. Now, it’s empty

Vic Parsons July 10, 2020
BBC quietly drops LGBT+ charities from its 'gender identity' support page

The BBC removed vital information about charities offering support to those struggling with their gender identity. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

The BBC has quietly dropped four LGBT+ charities from an information page for transgender people seeking support.

The LGBT Foundation, Mermaids, The Gender Trust, and The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) are all registered British charities that provide vital support and advice for trans, non-binary and gender-questioning people.

As recently as June 29, they were all listed on a page on the BBC website called “Information and Support: Gender Identity”.

Pages such as this are often linked to under BBC articles or videos covering topics people may need further support or information about, including gender identity, sexual or mental health, and addiction issues.

But signposting to the four charities on the transgender support page has been stripped away with no explanation, leaving behind no information for those seeking help.

Mermaids, a charity that supports trans and gender-questioning children and their families, said it was concerned to learn that the BBC had removed trans charities from its trans help page, and called for an immediate explanation.

“We are aware of a number of editorial staff at the BBC who are unsympathetic to transgender identities and hope this is an unfortunate oversight, rather than a deliberate attempt on the part of these individuals to prevent parents and young people from accessing the support they need,” a Mermaids spokesperson said.

“We call on the BBC to act swiftly to rectify the situation. We also ask the BBC to clarify its position on staff publicly sharing subjective opinion criticising its own coverage of trans issues.”

The BBC has been repeatedly accused by the trans community of producing unbalanced, biased coverage on trans issues, with BBC News branded “institutionally transphobic” two weeks ago by a group of senior MPs and LGBT+ activists.

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, deputy leader of the SNP in Westminster Kirsty Blackman and Stewart McDonald MP were among 150 people who signed a scathing letter to the BBC on June 22 expressing “serious concerns” about its coverage of trans issues.

Lisa Power MBE, founding member of charity Stonewall; Christine Burns MBE, author; and Linda Riley, publisher of lesbian magazine Diva, were also among the signatures on the letter, which was sent to BBC News editor director Kamal Ahmed.

The BBC information and support page for gender identity.

The page on the BBC website called “Information and Support: Gender Identity” used to begin by advising people with gender dysphoria to visit their GP.

It then linked to an NHS page about gender dysphoria – the medical term for the strong sense of discomfort many, but not all, trans people feel at the mismatch between the gender they were assigned at birth and their true gender.

“The following organisations may also be able to help,” it then stated, going on to list the name of each LGBT+ charity, a brief description of its work, a link to the charity’s website and, in the case of the LGBT Foundation and GIRES, the phone number for its helpline.

The page also linked to the BBC’s “Bullying Support” page and “LGBT Support” page – which it no longer does.

Information about four charities that support trans people listed on the BBC website on June 29. (The Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

Now, the page now simply states “Please visit the BBC Action Line website”.

The BBC information and support page on gender identity now contains no information or support.

The BBC Action Line web page does not contain the word “transgender” or the word “gender”, but it does link to a page for information and support on LGBT+ issues.

“If you or someone you know needs support for issues about sexuality, the following organisations may be able to help,” the page states, listing six LGBT+ charities.

Asked for an explanation as to why signposting to four LGBT+ charities had been removed from its website, a BBC spokesperson told PinkNews: “We understand this issue is important to audiences and we’ll be updating this page content soon.”

More: BBC, GIRES, LGBT Foundation, mermaids, The Gender Trust

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