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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

BBC diversity training scheme with new group is Stonewall ‘in all but name’

Involve UK said it aims to “truly shift the dial when it comes to creating an inclusive and diverse business”. One of its main functions is a list of “LGBT+ role models” for employers to learn from, which celebrates Stonewall in a glowing light 25 times.

Mr Davie told staff that “the BBC can not be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active, campaigning role”, which led to an angry Zoom call where the BBC’s head of news told staff to “get used” to hearing different viewpoints.

However, campaigners have accused the broadcaster of “Stonewall in all but name”, while a senior Tory MP told the BBC it “should know” that “far-Left organisations disguise intent”.

Guidance on using honorifics

Guidance documents by Involve UK make numerous interventions on trans debates. This includes reviewing honourifics – common examples of which are Mr and Ms – and advocating for self-identified gender, a stance shared by Stonewall which feminists say is relegating biological sex to irrelevance and distorting statistics.

One Involve UK guide, titled Championing a Trans-inclusive Workplace, said: “Examine your application and recruitment processes; what honorifics are available on applications? How are job descriptions written? In your employee surveys, is there a free text option to allow people to self-identify?”

The guide added: “Another important question to ask is how are you engaging with clients and customers? Can they self-identify? What honorifics are in place when they sign up to services or use your products?”

Meanwhile, Involve UK’s role model list celebrates executives for working with Stonewall, celebrates high positions on Stonewall’s controversial Workplace Equality Index league table which the BBC has quit, and praises people for being Stonewall ambassadors.

Involve UK also provides advice to workplaces on “active allyship”, “Active Cultural Advocacy”, including microaggressions, systemic racism and white privilege, and urges employees to “call out” language not deemed to be “inclusive” enough.

From the frying pan into the fire?

Maya Forstater, the co-founder of campaign group Sex Matters, stressed that such training must reflect the Equality Act 2010, which protects biological sex by law but not gender identity. 

She said: “The BBC should beware of signing up to another unaccountable scheme, which might turn out to be Stonewall in all but name.”

Kate Harris, the co-founder of the Stonewall breakaway group LGB Alliance, said: “Our concern is that the BBC doesn’t jump from the frying pan into the fire. Involve UK takes a similarly controversial approach to LGBT issues as Stonewall.”

She added: “Will Involve UK be upholding the right of lesbians to define themselves as same-sex attracted adult human females or not?

“For the sake of the BBC, its reputation and its audience, it must be open about the exact nature of the relationship and how it will safeguard its editorial independence.”

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