The BBC’s Gender Confusion – new CCS research

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Mark Lehain
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The BBC’s approach to the contested issue of gender identity is inconsistent, of varying quality, and in significant parts of the organisation, unhelpful.

Arguments around transgender rights are heated, people on all sides feel under threat, and divisions seem to be growing wider, not getting better. It is a debate that the BBC could and should be helping the country to grapple with in a way that generates light, not heat.

Yet rather than “inform, educate and entertain”, our research – “The BBC’s Gender Confusion – How The BBC Is Getting It Wrong With Gender” – suggests that much of the BBC’s output on the topic is making things worse.

We found that while there are parts of the BBC that cover things brilliantly, significant parts do not, being extremely biased, poorly informed, and even patronising.

The BBC still has an important role to play in public life. It can shine a light on sensitive issues in a way that helps audiences better understand other people’s views and help build a consensus that brings everyone together.  Sadly, on the issue of gender identity it is often a partisan player, not an impartial convener. It can and must do better – and we offer this report as a contribution to help it do so.

Mark Lehain


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