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BBC launches initiatives for a more inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ staff

A review of career progression and culture for LGBTQ+ employees at the BBC – one of five reviews set up to promote inclusion – found that while LGBTQ+ staff generally see the BBC as a good place to work, a number of small changes to working culture could improve their experience.

Currently, 11 percent of the BBC’s workforce and 12 percent of its leaders identify as LGBTQ+, the highest representation of any UK broadcaster.

The BBC’s Equality Information Report for 2017/18 undertook in-depth research on what working at the BBC feels like for LGBTQ+ staff. Informed by 300 staff and input from Stonewall, the review made ten recommendations.

They have already been accepted by the BBC’s Executive Committee and are designed to:

  • Educate leaders and staff about what’s important to LGBTQ+
  • Increase the prominence of LGBTQ+ staff, role models and the BBC Pride network
  • Empower LGBTQ+ staff to be comfortable about being open at work

The review’s findings include a perception that younger staff feel freer to share more of their life at work in comparison to older staff and that, while important parts of the BBC’s output such as many of the programmes in last year’s Gay Britannia season, present balanced and supportive debates on LGBTQ+ issues, more could be done to make the BBC’s corporate support for the LGBTQ+ community clear.

Specific recommendations include building a network of straight allies who actively promote the LGBTQ+ community in the BBC – an initiative which has been successful at several other major employers – organising more internal campaigns supporting the LGBTQ+ community and providing guidance for managers supporting transgender staff, particularly when those staff are transitioning.

As well as supporting current LGBTQ+ staff to reach their potential, the changes are designed to make sure the BBC continues to attract the best talent from across the world and remains relevant with younger audiences who are far less likely to identify as completely heterosexual.

Project sponsor James Purnell, BBC Director of Radio & Education, says: ”We’re aiming to create the most open, inclusive culture we can. These recommendations reflect what our staff have said and we will now implement them to give all LGBT staff the chance to flourish.”

Co-Chairs of the BBC Pride Network, Karen Millington and Matt Weaver say: “We think each of the ten recommendations have the potential to make the BBC a more inclusive workplace, giving everyone the opportunity to do their best work.

Although we hope the recommendations will positively impact everyone across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, we are particularly excited about the proposal for providing better support for our transgender colleagues and improving visibility with role models throughout the business.

This review is one of a number of culture and career progression projects which have also looked at gender, ethnicity, disability and socio-economic diversity.

Action to be taken to support women and staff from BAME backgrounds has already been published, with the result of the socio-economic diversity and disability reports due soon. Recommendations from these workstreams overlap and will be brought together in one delivery plan to support the career progression of staff across the BBC.

The BBC’s Equality Information Report for 2017/18 can be found here.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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