Now Reading
MPs and trans campaigners accuse the BBC of being ‘institutionally transphobic’

MPs and trans campaigners accuse the BBC of being ‘institutionally transphobic’

  • One leading gay Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, is also raising concerns with the BBC’s Director General.
BBC Broadcasting House.

A cross-party group of Members of Parliament and leading trans activists have accused BBC News of being ‘institutionally transphobic’.

In a letter they raise concerns about recent BBC News coverage. In particular they cite JK Rowling’s anti-trans comments and UK equalities minister Liz Truss’ plans for trans law reform.

Moreover the letter claims there is a group of anti-trans journalists within the UK’s national broadcaster. And it says the BBC is giving them ‘free rein to take potshots at trans people’.

One of the signatories is gay Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT+ Rights.

GSN understands that Blunt will also raise the concerns with the BBC Director General Tony Hall. Hall is, in effect, the ultimate editor-in-chief of the organization.

Concerns the BBC prioritizes anti-trans views

Trans Media Watch coordinated the letter. They told GSN that they had been worried about BBC News coverage of trans issues for some time.

However, the BBC re-writing a report last week to include more anti-trans commentary was the final straw.

The original report was about a cross-party group of MPs trying to stop the UK bringing in new anti-trans legislation.

However, Trans Media Watch says BBC News then updated the story to add more anti-trans arguments.

Moreover, they claim BBC News is habitually taking an anti-trans view. As an example, they cite the broadcaster’s reporting of JK Rowling’s transphobic comments this month.

They claim the broadcaster prioritized anti-trans comments without giving space in the main article for a trans organization to respond.

‘The very definition of institutional discrimination and hatred’

The letter to Kamal Ahmed, director of BBC News, concludes:

‘You are treating the lives and existence of a significant minority not as a matter of dignity or human rights, but as a culture war within which your anti-trans journalists – and we are well aware that such exist at the BBC – are given free rein to take potshots at trans people.

‘Along the way, you are applying a new and different standard to the writing of stories with a trans angle. This is the very definition of institutional discrimination and hatred and it is time it stopped.’

Over 100 people have signed the letter, including politicians from major parties and trans and LGBT+ community leaders.

GSN has approached the BBC for a response and is awaiting a reply.

UPDATE: BBC responds

The BBC responded shortly after GSN published this story.

A BBC spokesperson said:

‘The BBC is committed to telling stories from the LGBTQ+ community and has a specialist correspondent dedicated to bringing these stories to a wider audience.

‘Our reporting of the consultation of the Gender Recognition Act and JK Rowling’s transgender comments both contain opposing viewpoints, as would be expected in stories where there is a public debate.

‘The BBC approaches every story with the same rigorous impartiality.’