BBC's 'transphobic' reporting called out by LGBTQ human rights group

"The spread of anti-LGBTI and trans exclusionary rhetoric outlined in this report has a very real negative impact on people's lives," says ILGA-Europe's Evelyne Paradis.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

The BBC has been called out in the latest report from ILGA-Europe (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) for its anti-trans articles.

In its latest annual review, ILGA-Europe says there's been a rise in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric across Europe, which it says has led to an increase in hate crime.

However, it also concludes that there is a "groundswell" of determination to tackle this rise in homophobia and transphobia.

"It negatively impacts people's mental health"

The Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, Evelyne Paradis says in a statement: "The spread of anti-LGBTI and trans exclusionary rhetoric outlined in this report has a very real negative impact on people's lives.

She continues: "In country after country, we see how it negatively impacts people's mental health and their sense of safety, their access to employment and the overall ability to progress much needed legal protection.

"At this moment in time, it is essential we remind politicians, media, academics - and sadly even some civil society actors - that real people's lives are at stake in every country across the region, because of the political scapegoating of LGBTI people."

Looking at the UK, ILGA-Europe lambasts the rise in anti-trans rhetoric. It says: "In November [2021], trans people and allies held a protest outside BBC’s office for its transphobic articles. A number of LGBTQ employees quit the BBC due to concerns over its transphobic reporting."

The BBC is later mentioned again when the ILGA says, "The BBC for instance, ran an entire smear podcast series on Stonewall," referring to the Nolan Investigates podcast, which called the LGBTQ charity a "lobby group". The BBC defended the podcast at the time in the face of a wide backlash saying the podcast "explores policy-making within public bodies" and "The podcast reflects a range of viewpoints". 

ILGA-Europe says some staff quit the BBC due to the podcast.

It also mentions a letter from 39 LGBTQ organisations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UK's equalities watchdog, calling for it to 'step up" for LGBTQ communities. The EHRC has recently been the subject of a number of reports from Vice World News, who have spoken to former and current staff members at the EHRC about a rise in transphobia within the organisation. 

ILGA-Europe also mentions the alarm that the LGB Alliance was awarded charitable status by the UK's Charity Commission last year and the outrage that caused. An appeal is due to be heard on that this year. 

As well as an increase in homophobic and transphobic attacks and hate crimes ILGA recognises that there are efforts to combat this and to fight for greater protections in law. 

The annual review laments the delay on the UK's ban on 'conversion' therapy, which was originally promised in 2018 under Theresa May and only mentioned in the Queen's Speech last year. It also says that the reduction in the fee of a Gender Recognition Certificate from £140 to £5 was "one of the few positives in the UK government’s LGR law reform process for England and Wales."

The reports also points to numerous other reports from UK LGBT organisations that focus on LGBTQ bullying, education, and homelessness. 

A BBC spokesperson told Attitude "We reject this characterisation of our coverage. We are committed to providing expert coverage and analysis of LGBTQ+ issues and to exploring topics of legitimate public interest.

"We support all our colleagues to have fulfilling careers at the BBC and we’re fully committed to being an industry-leading employer on LGBTQ+ inclusion."

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