Sunday, 27 February 2011

The BBC: The Homosexual Service

In no way is BBC Radio 4 hopelessly out of touch!

Readers with elephantine memories may recall I sent this email some time ago;

Dear BBC,

Throughout today on BBC Radio 4 News - in the items about civil partnerships and same-sex marriage - you have used the word homosexual or homosexuals.
Why doesn't someone in the BBC newsroom ask some of their colleagues or friends who are lesbian or gay how they feel about being called "homosexual"?
It is at best outdated, at worst highly offensive.
Of the British newspapers only the Daily Telegraph still regularly uses it as the preferred term for lesbians and gay men.
When did you last hear "homosexual" being used by anyone in conversation?

yours

Fagburn*

Well, a mere two weeks later, they've replied...

Dear Fagburn

Reference CAS-603574

Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC Radio 4’s News Bulletins.
I understand that you are unhappy with the use of the term ‘homosexual’ during our broadcasts, as you feel that the term is no longer in regular use.
I apologise that you were upset by this; however we are very mindful of the language we use and give this great consideration. There is no consensus about words that are acceptable, as different terms can cause different degrees of offence to different people. We do not believe however that term ‘homosexual’ causes widespread offense.
That said I appreciate that you feel strongly about this and so with this in mind I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily and make available for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive are circulated and considered across the BBC.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Kind Regards

Robert Regan
BBC Complaints
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

What crap!
This is basically "File Under: He Sounds Like A Nutter - Not Arsed".
Why doesn't BBC News use the words to describe lesbians and gay men that lesbians and gay men use themselves?
If we haven't moved on in the last fifty years, why doesn't Radio 4 call black people "coloureds" anymore?
Or for that matter, why doesn't Radio 4 call Radio 4 "The Home Service"?
Obviously I'll be sending an angry email back tomorrow.
If you want to complain - if indeed the "offense" [Sic - It's always nice being lectured about correct terminology by someone who can't even spell...] is more widespread and Fagburn isn't just barking at the moon - use the link above.
But please be aware that if you can't state a specific instance you'll just get an email back from BBC Complaints going; "Meh".

* I actually used my real name, but don't want to spoil the magic.

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