Tuesday, May 13, 2014

17th May is fast approaching. And that means it will soon be International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia - IDAHOT.

There has been an important development since IDAHOT 2013. Marriage equality laws were passed in Britain's parliaments. MPs and MSPs backed the legislation despite opposition from some religious authorities as well as a substantial amount of hostile TV news coverage - mainly on the BBC.

When the first marriages took place on 29th March 2014 the story was reported on Newsround, but it was not presented as something worthy of celebration - a victory for human rights and equality which would benefit thousands of viewers in the years to come. Instead Newsround told kids it was a "big change" that had sparked "strong views" as part of what they described as an "argument."

Yesterday the Church of England published a document called Valuing All God’s Children - Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying.

Newsround can often be relied upon to report religion-based news; all the more so, you might expect, when that news is directly relevant to many in its target audience. However there seems to be another rule which overrides that convention: Nothing can be reported by Newsround which might possibly be interpreted as in any way helping or supporting gay kids.

So, little sign of embracing equality on Newsround, but what about other programmes on BBC children's TV?

It would be nice to think that Wizards vs Aliens is part of a new strategy to make CBBC more inclusive. For those who don't know, Benny came out as gay in the last episode of series 2. You will, however, notice here that the word 'gay' was not actually spoken.

Newsround Blog has been unable to ascertain whether the third series of Wizards vs Aliens will see Benny in romantic situations with other boys. Whereas CBBC bosses clearly recognise the obvious importance of BAME outreach, it looks like they see lesbian and gay diversity only in terms of dramatic storylines. There is an unwillingness to answer enquiries about LGBT outreach. This might be down to homophobic prejudice, but as we shall see in a future blog, it is also the result of venality.

Recommended Reading Prep for next blog -

1} GayStarNews article about homophobia in Canada

2} Guardian article about the importance of LGBT visibility

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