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BBC withdraws educational video that said there are 100+ gender identities after backlash

The film has been “retired” from the BBC’s Teach website

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Pixabay

The BBC has confirmed it has “retired” an educational video that said there are over 100 genders.

The video, which has been removed from the organisation’s Teach website after a backlash from some parents, was produced as curriculum support for personal, social and health education teachers.

In it, a child asks: “What are the different gender identities?” to which a teacher replies: “We know that we have got male and female, but there are over 100, if not more, gender identities.”

“Wilfilly misrepresenting”

In a statement the BBC said: “The Big Talk film was only available on the BBC Teach website – our service for teachers to use for curriculum support. It was never aimed directly at pupils and was never intended to be used independently by them at any age, nor did it form part of our current Lockdown Learning offer.  

“The content was clearly labelled as requiring advance viewing by teachers and came with extensive notes to support and guide teachers in their use of it when discussing health and relationships – topics that are part of the Primary curriculum in England.  

“We are aware that this particular film is being wilfully misinterpreted by parts of the media and others on social media. As such, its original purpose and intention has been overshadowed. On this basis we have made the decision to retire the film. We will continue to support teachers on this important topic in other ways.”

“We must do more as a society to create inclusive environments for trans pupils”

Responding to the news, Jeff Ingold, Head of Media at Stonewall (he/him) told Attitude: “It’s a shame the BBC has pulled this educational video talking about different words people use to describe their gender identity.

“We know from our research that three in four LGBT+ pupils (77 per cent) have never been taught about or discussed gender identity and what ‘trans’ means. Overcoming the shadow of Section 28 means we need educational materials that discuss LGBT+ identities for young people who might be questioning who they are and looking for support. We must do more as a society to create inclusive environments for trans pupils, or those who may be questioning their gender.” 

“Made up nonsense”

Transgender Trend led the initial backlash to the video when it was released in 2019, with founder Stephanie Davies-Arai saying: “This is made-up nonsense. People are free to identify as anything they like but this does not change the reality that there are only two sexes.”

Transgender Trend describes itself on its official website as an “organisation advocating for evidence-based care of gender dysphoric children and science-based teaching in schools” and on Twitter as “UK parents & professionals concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender.”

The video attracted renewed criticism this month with the rise of home learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s so important that educators are being inclusive of all gender identities”

The move follows this month’s Attitude magazine cover star Max Harwood, of the upcoming film Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, calling for “inclusive” LGBTQ education in schools.

“My friend works in a secondary school and she did a session on LGBTQ+ people and played the Jamie trailer”, Max told us. “That would never have happened with me at school.

“It’s so important that educators are being inclusive of all gender identities, just to make someone feel seen and for people that don’t feel that way to be aware of the wider world, and, actually, that they exist, and that they are valued.”

Read the full interview with Max in the Attitude March issue, out now to download and to order globally.

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