Response from the BBC on innacurate reporting complaint

(9 Posts)
pollypocketlover Thu 22-Jul-21 20:32:03

I complained to the BBC for not accurately reporting on the Zoe Watts case. This is the response I received:

"We note your concerns about the way we refer to Zoe Watts in this article.

We give a lot of consideration to issues where the editorial choices we make may attract differences of opinion. We include guidance for preferred terms in our published style guide - this is for transparency and to promote consistency across our output. The guidance for how to refer to trans people is as follows:

“Transgender, or trans, is a good umbrella term for a person whose gender identity differs from their sex at birth. A person born male who lives as a female, would typically be described as a “transgender woman” and would take the pronoun “she”. And vice versa. Use the term and pronoun preferred by the person in question. If that’s unknown – apply that which fits with the way the person lives publicly. If reporting on someone who is making their transition public, it may be appropriate to refer to their previous identity to help audience understanding. It may also be appropriate to refer to a transition to make sense of some stories.”

We hope this provides some clarity and assistance. We would also like to stress that we do value the points that you have raised. All complaints are sent to senior management and your points were included in our overnight reports, which are among the most widely read in the BBC. Feedback helps inform our decisions about current and future content, and our style guide is kept under regular review.

Thank you again for taking the time to write in."

I'm concerned about this line A person born male who lives as a female - First of all, what does living as a female mean? Because they obviously don't mean experencing all of the sex-based misogyny that comes with being born female. I'm also intruiged at their decision to refer to sex here instead of gender, usually it's the other way round.

Has anyone else complained to the BBC and recieved a more useful response?

OP’s posts: |
EmbarrassingAdmissions Thu 22-Jul-21 21:02:22

I don't think any of us has reported receiving a more helpful or supportive response from the BBC in re: a complaint.

ShagMeRiggins Thu 22-Jul-21 21:37:21

”A person born male who lives as a female...”

Thank you for your response. What does the BBC mean by ‘lives as a female?’ Please provide clear definitions and editorial policy.

BaronMunchausen Thu 22-Jul-21 22:10:23

Unfortunately the BBC is just copying the opaque language of the 2004 GRA.

One of the question-begging conditions of reassignment is that “you’ve lived in your acquired gender for at least 2 years”.

PaleBlueMoonlight Thu 22-Jul-21 22:31:33

What I want to know reading that is what are the guidelines for determining whether it is appropriate for a story to report the fact that someone has transitioned or claims a trans identity (which are not the same thing). In my view it is relevant where a crime is committed of any kind (certainly when they are the perpetrator and in many cases where they are the victim). Also any story that is about achievements of about sex based norms or rights. Probably not normally if someone wins the lottery.

pollypocketlover Thu 22-Jul-21 22:34:26


*”A person born male who lives as a female...”*

Thank you for your response. What does the BBC mean by ‘lives as a female?’ Please provide clear definitions and editorial policy.

This is a good idea, though no doubt they just won't repsond to me, or will just quote a policy that doesn't actually answer the question, as I've noticed a lot of companies doing. Nevertheless, I'll send another email and report back if they give me anything.

OP’s posts: |
zanahoria Fri 23-Jul-21 09:20:07

this is another complaint against the BBC

This article reported that the NHS gender identity service was seeking leave to appeal against the High Court judgement in the case of Bell v Tavistock restricting access to puberty-blocking drugs for children under 16, and focused on the concerns of doctors, young trans people and their parents about the possible impact of that judgement. A reader complained that the article was one-sided and gave undue emphasis to suicidal ideation. The ECU considered the complaint in the light of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on impartiality and on suicide, attempted suicide and self-harm

Two of the points were upheld


ChristinaXYZ Fri 23-Jul-21 11:29:26

This, by a former BBC journalist, is well worth a watch on all aspects of the problems with bias at the BBC.

There is also a Telegraph article by Robin Aitken.

"You have to wonder why the BBC is so reluctant to engage with its critics. My film contains sharp criticisms from a range of people who have all had dealings with the BBC over many years. These are thoughtful people, not hotheads, and there’s not a QAnon conspiracist among them. They are people who have thought hard about the BBC and its credo of impartiality. They have come to the conclusion, as have I, that the BBC’s "impartiality" is a myth and that, in practice the Corporation promotes an agenda of its own with a very distinct political flavour. Socially liberal, woke and broadly of the left."

AlfonsoTheMango Fri 23-Jul-21 11:50:25

I no longer trust the BBC and don't believe that they provide impartial news.

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