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Not even the BBC’s Pride network knows why the broadcaster quietly dropped vital charities from its transgender support page

Vic Parsons July 15, 2020
LGBT groups unite to defend trans charities after removal by BBC

The BBC Editorial Policy Department was today sent a letter by the UK's 10 biggest LGBT+ groups who have united in support of the transgender community. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

The BBC Pride network has vowed to “challenge any transphobic activity” but admitted it still doesn’t know why four LGBT+ charities were quietly dropped from the BBC’s transgender support page last week.

The co-chairs of BBC Pride said they had spent the last week trying to find out the “rationale” for removing the information about the charities from the BBC Action Line website, but “disappointingly” they “have still to receive a response” from Editorial Policy.

The LGBT Foundation, Mermaids, The Gender Trust, and The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) were all listed on the BBC’s “Gender identity: Information and Support” page as recently as June 29.

But last week (July 10), it came to light that signposting to the four charities on the transgender support page had been stripped away with no explanation, leaving behind no information for those seeking help.

The co-chairs of BBC Pride, Su and George, apologised for not being able to provide a quicker or fuller update on the changes to the page.

"Since we were made aware last week we have been trying to establish why the links were removed and what plans there are to restore them," says the BBC Pride statement.

"We have been speaking directly to Editorial Policy to understand what the rationale was for removing these resources. Disappointingly, despite several conversations with Ed Pol, we are still to receive a response."

This lack of clarity comes just weeks after BBC News was branded "institutionally transphobic" by a group of senior MPs and LGBT+ activists.

The BBC Pride statement continues: "We know that until there is clarity around the decision, people are speculating about the reasons for the change. As co-chairs we wanted to let you know that resolving this is a priority for us, as it has been every day over the past week.

"We’ve also been supported by our colleagues in central D&I. It is frustrating for us, but more importantly we’re acutely aware of the concern and anger that the situation has created, particularly for our trans colleagues and communities.

"Finally, one thing that we are clear on is that BBC Pride will stand up for trans and non-binary colleagues and we will challenge any transphobic activity."

The page in question – which is marked "Gender Identity" and was last week stripped of information – now links to the "LGBT Issues" page that is also accessible from the BBC Action Line homepage.

The "LGBT Issues" page contains information about Switchboard, the LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, The Rainbow Project, SAIL NI, and LGBT Helpline Scotland.

It also links to the NHS page about gender dysphoria and advises those who may be struggling with gender dysphoria to go to their GP.

This means that Mermaids, The Gender Trust, and GIRES – the three trans-specific charities of the four that were dropped – have seemingly been permanently removed from the BBC's website.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We understand this issue is hugely important for some audiences so our Action Line LBGT Issues page links to gender identity information on the NHS website, which also links through to additional relevant resources."

 

 

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

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