BBC staff told there are more than 150 genders and urged to develop ‘trans brand’

·4 min read
The outside of a BBC building in central London - mikeinlondon/iStock Editorial
The outside of a BBC building in central London - mikeinlondon/iStock Editorial

BBC staff have been told there are more than 150 genders, and to develop their “trans brand” by declaring their pronouns on email signoffs.

The Telegraph has obtained material provided to radio staff by Global Butterflies, a transgender group that the BBC drafted in for training sessions last summer and autumn.

Emails were sent to radio producers and programme editors, some from heads of departments, urging them to attend the training.

During the sessions, leaked to The Telegraph, staff were shown an array of gender-neutral pronouns they should use including "xe, xem, xyrs", and were told: “People can self-identify themselves in over 150 ways, and increasing!”

Staff were told they should include their pronouns in email signature boxes to be “part of your trans brand” as an “inclusive and welcoming… brilliant show of ally support”.

‘Remind them of the correct pronouns’

The Global Butterflies trainer told staff that “he/she” pronouns “can create “discomfort, stress and anxiety” for gender non-conforming people and “it has been shown that in young trans people, using correct pronouns and names reduces depression and suicide risks”.

The diversity training said: “If you overhear a colleague using the incorrect pronouns for someone, take them aside and remind them of the correct pronouns.”

Staff were shown a diagram of pronoun badges that they could wear around offices, and shown how to use gender pronouns on air. They were also urged to avoid the terms transsexual and transvestite, and told that “nudging” or “staring” are transphobic.

A whistleblower told The Telegraph the BBC was “suppressing stories” that challenge trans activism and claimed there is a “tight-knit cabal at the top of BBC News who give tacit approval to gender ideology”.

The whistleblower urged the BBC’s Director General Tim Davie to “get a grip” and remind the corporation’s human resources and diversity departments that “licence fee payers pay their salaries and expect staff to be trained by impartial trainers”.

“The BBC simply doesn’t understand what’s going on with gender identity ideology,” the source, a senior staff member who recently quit the corporation, said.

“They’ve been pandering to a social contagion amongst young people rather than being the adult in the room. ‘Inform and educate’ from the BBC Charter has left the BBC when it covers trans issues.”

Training available to increase awareness

It is understood the training sessions were organised by Fergus Dudley, the head of compliance and complaints for BBC Radio commissioning and a child protection and safeguarding adviser.

And in 2020, in a separate series of “LGBT Allies” training sessions, Andrew Young, then a Diversity Lead and since promoted to become the head of workforce diversity and inclusion at the BBC, told staff: '‘The BBC has to have balance – it’s the editorial view, but it’s my personal view, that hopefully in future, this will be less of a ‘balance’ and more of a ‘right’."

The BBC quit the controversial diversity scheme run by Stonewall, the trans charity, last year. But the whistleblower told The Telegraph that this “wasn’t sufficient” because “Stonewall injected the ideology into the BBC and it’s still circulating”.

“Stories from the ‘gender critical’ – pro-woman, pro-safeguarding – point of view are being pitched by individuals, but they are rejected because the top of news won’t commission them,” the whistleblower said.

“Any story that doesn’t affirm gender ideology originates from outside the news cabal and when it appears it’s always sent upstairs, heavily scrutinised, triple checked – whilst gender affirmative stories go straight to output.

“And there’s a complete lack of understanding at the most senior BBC editorial levels that pronoun declarations align with a belief in gender identity ideology.”

The BBC declined to say how much the Global Butterflies training cost, but it has now cut its ties with the group. A spokesman said: “Third party voluntary training material does not instruct BBC staff, but is available to increase awareness and understanding.

“There is no link to, or influence on, any editorial decision making and to suggest otherwise is wrong. As we have said many times before, the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines are sacrosanct, our staff know this and they understand their responsibilities.”

Global Butterflies did not respond to a request for comment.

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