BBC confirms it has quit the controversial Stonewall Diversity Champions programme, after Ofcom and the Equality and Human Rights Commission leave the scheme.
Diversity Champions is a programme where companies sign up and pay for advice from Stonewall on how to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ workers.
However, Stonewall came under scrutiny after its chief executive Nancy Kelley claimed “gender critical” beliefs – the belief that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed – were like anti-Semitism.
A spokesperson for the BBC confirmed: “The BBC is fully committed to being an industry-leading employer on LGBTQ+ inclusion. We are proud of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans colleagues and we support them to have fulfilling careers at the BBC.”
“Along with many other UK employers, the BBC has participated in Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme to support our objective to create a fully inclusive workplace. However, over time our participation in the Programme has led some to question whether the BBC can be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active role”
“After careful consideration, we believe it is time to step back from the Diversity Champions Programme and will also no longer participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.”
Matthew Parris, the journalist and former MP who co-founded Stonewall in 1989, accused it this year of becoming “tangled up in the trans issue.”
A spokesperson from Stonewall told City A.M. that the BBC’s move was a “shame.”
“We will continue to engage with the BBC on a number of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting. We will continue to engage with the BBC on a number of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting.”
“This news comes in the wake of organised attacks on workplace inclusion that extend far beyond the Diversity Champions programme. It is shocking that organisations are being pressured into rolling back support for LGBTQ+ employees. Ultimately, it is LGBTQ+ people who suffer.”
Stonewall cite research such as more than a third of LGBTQ+ staff have said to have hidden or disguised that they are LGBTQ+ at work because they were afraid of discrimination.
More to follow…