IF YOU you ever had a suspicion that your licence fee was being wasted, this should reassure you. Yes, our deranged Auntie, the Beast in the Attic at Broadcasting House, has decreed that staff should use words such as ‘they’ or ‘them’ rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’, when addressing gender-fluid or transgender colleagues to make sure the BBC does not develop a ‘heteronormative culture’. Heaven forfend.
The Times reports, as always with a straight face: ‘The broadcaster will also review its “systems and practices” to ensure that they are inclusive of non-binary genders, and will train managers on how to support transgender staff, especially when they are transitioning.’
Sorry, there’s more. ‘In addition heterosexual BBC staff will be asked to wear badges identifying themselves as “straight allies” to help their LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) colleagues.
‘The corporation’s television, radio and news teams are also being told to increase the “incidental portrayal of LGBT identities” in their programmes.’
So who will dare to wear the ‘straight’ badge of shame in the pale pink corridors of Portland Place? Will it mean career suicide? Will they be singled out for harsh treatment in the unisex lavatories? Will make-up be forcibly applied? Or, worse, summary gender realignment?
And what does this mean for news reporting? Will John Simpson have to delay his fascinating and humble dispatches from the back of beyond until his crew have found a tribesperson of indeterminate gender to stand around looking trans? Will Mr Simpson be forced to wear his famous burka full time?
How can Nicholas Witchell report on a Royal Family who remain, officially at least, firmly on the heterosexual side?
On Match of the Day, will Gary ‘Loadsamoney’ Lineker have to share the studio with a troupe of androgynes in Personchester City pussy hats?
Will Doctor Who transform into Doctor What?
One thing seems for sure. On the radio music programmes, there will be change in the air. ‘Hi there, pop pickers, here’s our first golden oldie And Then I Kissed Them by the Beach Youngsters. Followed by the Beatles favourites They Love You and They Came In Through The Non-Gender-Specific Bathroom Window.’ And finally, Charles Aznavour’s They.