#BBCWatch

The season bursts into life with daily transphobic dramas all across the UK

jane fae

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Image of the New BBC Broadcasting House. Captions in the form of a dialogue: Speaker 1: “So, no public comment on controversial culture war issues?” Speaker 2: “Correct!” Speaker 1: “But how do we know what’s a controversial culture war issue?” Speaker 2: “The government will tell us…”
Adapted from BBC New Broadcasting House by Zizzu02 (2013): available under Creative Commons 3.0 License

This week, the BBC doubled down on its demand employees stay neutral on culture war issues in the run-up to an election likely to feature a lot of culture war. If they genuinely intend to enforce that across the board, that might not be a bad thing.

Because who would not welcome a period of silence from the transphobes?

Sadly, cynical ol’ me suspects this rule won’t be applied in an even-handed fashion. It will be used to clamp down on the likes of Gary Lineker… but not Andrew Neil!

So perhaps it is time to keep a closer eye on the BBC.

Now read on…

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How can i put this? The BBC has trans…. issues? No. Trans… problems? Nah.

Stop mincing words, jane. The BBC is a dumpster fire of unreconstructed bigotry and misinformation when it comes to trans folks. More of that in a minute.

That’s why, at the end of this piece, i will be asking you, dear reader, to join me and Trans Media Watch in a new project: #BBCWatch. It will be a bit like SpringWatch, which looks out for signs of spring; CrimeWatch, which keeps an eye on criminals; and Watchdog, which does much the same for Crufts (Editor’s note: no, it doesn’t!)

For details, skip to the end now.

Or stay with this for a little bit of history.

A little bit of history

My first full-on encounter with BBC transphobia was in respect of a seriously flawed “documentary” about trans “expert” Ken Zucker in January 2017. The doc was bad enough. Worse, though, was the Newsnight programme that preceded it, which was advertised through a tweet from presenter and saint, Emily Maitlis claiming there was a debate as to whether transgender primary school kids should receive surgery (sic!).

Misleading and untrue. But was it pisspoor research? Clickbait? Or just plain bigotry? We shall never know, for despite a long and detailed complaint from Trans Media Watch to the Beeb, pretty much every single issue raised was waived away with a wave of a well-manicured functionary hand.

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jane fae

Feminist, writer, campaigner on political and sexual liberty who also knows a bit about IT, the law and policing. Not entirely serious…