We have finally received an official response to the open letter from Rhodri Talfan Davies, BBC Director of Nations, on behalf of Tim Davie.
This response is not remotely adequate and shows no remorse for the harm they have caused, and we are in the process of formulating our in depth response.
The text of the BBC’s response is published, in full, below.
Thank you for getting in touch. Tim Davie, the Director-General, has asked me to respond to you.
We recognise that the response to the article has been heated but it is vital the BBC is able to independently explore issues impartially.
BBC News content may provide a forum or starting point for topical discussion and exploration on a wide range of issues and, necessarily, this includes viewpoints that some audiences will consider challenging. This article, which includes a range of testimony, is one piece in a body of work across the BBC which reflects many different issues and perspectives on the trans community and others.
A quick search on the BBC website will reveal just how many programmes and stories we do on trans issues. Many of those stories explore individual testimonies and how people express their identity. Some deal with legal and rights issues. But the totality of coverage provides a body of work which has featured many trans issues. Here are some examples:
The topic explored in this article is worthy of coverage but we are clear throughout that the size of the issue is difficult to gauge and that there is limited research in this area. The article is thoroughly caveated, and uses the word “some”, so we clearly do not mean “all”. Others quoted in the article said: “there is currently little data” and “we don’t have figures”.
We also caveat the use of the survey in the article. It was conducted on social media and is therefore self-selecting. In addition, the author of the survey admits it may not be a representative sample. Furthermore, there is a link to the detail of the findings which enables the reader to make up their own minds about the replies the sample generated.
Testimony was gathered from a wide range of people, a sample of whom were included in the article, and we provided links so that readers can make up their own minds on topics. We also believe that seeking the view of the LGB Alliance was a legitimate line of enquiry – as was seeking the view of Stonewall.
The article was updated to remove a contribution from one individual in light of comments she published in blog posts in the days following publication. We have also acknowledged that an admission of inappropriate behaviour by the same contributor should have been included in the original article. But she was not a case study. Her input was limited to providing context around the origin of the term ‘cotton ceiling’. And the use of the phrase “Gold Star Lesbian” helped position her on the spectrum of opinion on this issue.
Finally, in the letter you say: “[This] article completely overlooks the massive rates of violence faced by transgender people.” It’s important to be clear this article was not about violence faced by transgender people – it was not seeking to cover all the issues trans people face. But there are a number of stories about this and other important issues across BBC radio, television and online.
Thank you again for getting in touch, and I hope my reply is at least some help to you in terms of explaining our overall approach. Your sincerely
Rhodri Talfan Davies
BBC Director of Nations