Monday, August 02, 2010

Joe McElderry, winner of X Factor 2009, has come out as gay. The news was widely reported by the media, but not on any of Newsround's ten weekend editions nor on their website. Earlier in July a claim that Joe McElderry's Twitter page had been hacked also went unreported by Newsround. In general, though, showbiz news is one of Newsround's fortes - the others being sport, environmental news and animal stories.

There is a school of thought that a person's sexuality is unimportant and there's no need to make anything of it. That would be true if we lived in a perfectly tolerant society where LGBT people were fully accepted. And then, of course, Newsround Blog would also be an irrelevance.

Another school of thought says that a person's sexuality is a private matter and not anyone else's business. This argument is often used by faith driven organisations.

We're far from living in a tolerant and accepting society. You only need to check out Joe McElderry's website to see what I mean. I saved this copy of his website message on Saturday. Observe that nowhere did Joe actually say he was gay. That might be because the website, registered to Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd, automatically blocks certain words from being displayed - and 'gay' seems to be one of those words. The comment posted by dsc on 31st July 2010 at 06:01am is an example. Almost certainly referring to a gay straight alliance, it is shown as beginning: I am an openly **** teacher who also advises a **** straight alliance in the US.

So it's ok to be straight, but gay is sometimes still treated as a four-letter word. And that's unfortunately true on the BBC as well. See blogs on 20 May 2010 and 17 June 2010.

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