During an exclusive panel conversation with Huffington Post
for it's Loud & Proud Series
which celebrates how TV soaps have been instrumental in bringing gay characters to mainstream entertainment and spreading tolerance, empathy and a greater understanding LGBT community. Eastenders'
boss, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, revealed that homophobia is still present today as it was a decade ago.
He explains, "I was at Eastenders
10 years ago, and each day we get the Duty Log where people write in to say what they think about the programme."
"The Duty Log responses have not changed now to how they were 10 years ago, when people said, 'I threw up my dinner, I had to sit my seven year old down and explain to them that this was wrong.'"
Dominic explained that he thinks it isn't the younger generation responding negatively to LGBT storylines but instead, thinks it's the parents, "They're the people going, 'This is wrong.'"
Dominic is one of the key figures in this movement but he explains how his mission was never a "gay one."
"It's the job of the producer to be inclusive and I think it's about kindness, it's about making the world a kinder place."
"For me, when I took over Eastenders
, I said, 'Right I want a girl in a hijab who ends up having a stillborn baby' and we did that story, no one mentioned the fact she was wearing a hijab, it was a mother with a baby, and that was important. Danny Dyer, who the audience saw as this big gruff man, his son came out to him within a month of Danny being on screen, and he put his arm around his son and said, 'I love you, you're my boy, I don't care.' And that was as much for little boys watching at home but also for men like Danny Dyer, who hold Danny Dyer up on a pedestal, thinking, 'If he can do it, so can I.'"
He adds that all of his characters must have a story, "I don't wake up in the morning and go, 'Today I'm going to be gay.' That's not the driving force of my day. It's the last thing I think about. And that's been very important to me in my time at Eastenders
"You have to sit back and go, okay, 'What stories do I want to tell?' I want to reflect modern Britain and I want to change people's opinions."
You can read the rest of the discussion on the Huffington Post's website.
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