The results follow months of targeted research via workshops
with the public, audience feedback and staff consultations - which,
together, produced almost 5,000 responses.
Partly driven by the new Equality Act, it aims to strike the
right balance between entertainment and political correctness.
Specifically, it aims for a better range of visibility for gay,
disabled and ethnic communities.
According to the BBC's news magazine Ariel, the study's
respondents agreed that fair representation was a positive aim -
but feared that too rigid a policy could 'constrain creativity' and
that equality and diversity could take priority over
But the study also found some key feedback from the LGB
In particular, that half of all respondents think the BBC has a
distinct role in challenging perceptions about LGB people, thus
relying less on stereotypes.
It also found that homosexual viewers wanted a zero-tolerance
approach to the pejorative use of the word 'gay' on screen, while
lesbians wanted better representation of gay female characters.
In fact, the study noted that: "a distinct hierarchy was
repeatedly articulated by consultation respondents. Gay men were
perceived overwhelmingly as having greater prominence across the
BBC's output, followed by a severe lack of visibility of lesbian
women with bisexual people considered as largely invisible."
There was also concern expressed about comments perceived to be
homophobic made by BBC on screen and on-air presenters.
Amanda Rice, Head of Diversity at the BBC, said that the results
provide a healthy framework for change. "There was a broad support
for the BBC's diversity objectives, but also a desire to know how
we would achieve them.
"We've taken the responses in both the research and consultation
on board and have worked with the BBC's divisions to lay out action
plans that show how each part of the BBC will work towards these
"The most exciting element for us is seeing tangible progress
towards these objectives across the organisation. Following our
research into the portrayal of lesbian and gay people across BBC
services last year, we've held various workshops with production
teams to encourage greater consideration of the portrayal of LGB
people and to help inform issues such as the need for accurate
authentic portrayal on our output."