Lose the gay stereotypes, public tells BBC

By politics.co.uk staff

The BBC’s portrayal of gay, lesbian and bisexual people is not positive enough, an internal report has admitted.

Research questioning 2,000 people found most wanted to see less stereotypical depictions of gay men and more positive portrayals on air and on screen.

Just 44 seconds of 39 hours of footage on BBC1 showed homosexuals in a positive light, the report noted.

“The publication of this very significant piece of work sends a clear signal to all our licence fee payers that the BBC is committed to meaningful engagement with all audiences,” the BBC’s head of diversity Andrew Rice said.

“Not only is this a key priority within our diversity strategy, it is also one of the best ways we can continue to learn about what the UK’s diverse communities want and expect of the BBC.”

Campaign group Stonewall’s chief executive Ben Summerskill said his organisation’s view that people wanted to see “more realistic, incidental representations of gay people” on their TV screens had been vindicated.

He added: “The BBC is a hugely important part of our cultural glue and belongs to everybody. It’s right that everyone in modern Britain should be reflected in its output.”

Not all were happy about the BBC’s portrayal of gay people, however. Eighteen per cent said scenes of “emotional and physical intimacy” made them feel uncomfortable with depictions on television and radio.