Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today is Transgender Day of Visibility.

The BBC, including BBC children's TV, has done a lot to promote transgender people. This video, for example, sees Leo Waddell self-identify as transgender before giving tips on how to deal with bullying.

But the situation on BBC children's TV is somewhat different when it comes to lesbian, gay or bisexual kids.

This failure to even acknowledge LGB people was evident in the My Life: I Am Leo documentary. Leo flew to Scotland to meet Natalie, who, by the way, had already appeared another BBC documentary called 'Coming Out Diaries'

Leo: (narrating) The scary flight was worth it - Natalie is really nice. She's transgender, like me; only the other way round. Natalie was born in a boy's body, but lives as a 20-year-woman. Some of her family haven't accepted her, and I want to find out what that's like.

Leo: When did you know you were transgender?

Natalie: Probably around 15. I knew a little bit earlier. I mean since I was 5 I always felt a little bit different - a bit iffy with everything. But I didn't know what transgender was until I was 15.

Leo: How was your mum when you first came out?

Natalie: My parents found out while I was getting bullied a school. They thought maybe I was just hanging out with the wrong people, maybe it was just a phase. Without the support of my family it made me worse. ....

Although Leo and his mum had been specially flown to Scotland, the interview with Natalie lasted only a few seconds and we weren't given the opportunity to find out more about the nature of that bullying, and, in particular was homophobic language involved?

The fact that I Am Leo avoided any mention of LGB-related terms suggests anti-gay attitudes are still the order of the day in the BBC children's department. That charge will remain valid until the person in charge, Alice Webb affirms and supports kids who self-identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual.

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