A few months ago I had a meeting with two BBC producers about a new television series called Queer Britain. I was invited to the meeting after various communication to talk about intersectionality, like being both black and gay. I initially thought the series was going to be truly diverse, but left the chat somewhat puzzled. The producers contacted me to say they wanted to hear my voice, but on their terms.
This morning I came across a tweet on Twitter from a friend of the series presenter, congratulating him on a job well done. Two things stood out to me: (1) that the group picture contained no black or brown LGBT people and (2) that the presenter didn’t appear to be a person of colour, which was one of the things I was led to believe. I’ve nothing personally against the presenter as I don’t know him, but I do take issue with the BBC and others in the media with their lack of representation of people of colour and I don’t mean tokenism. *For the avoidance of doubt, the presenter can be seen in the attached promotional material picture. I also searched the hashtag #QueerBritain and spotted a maximum of two non-white faces online. The below image is grab of that material available.
My retweet of the above linked picture asked what happened to all the non-white LGBT people? I soon received a reply from the original tweeter stating, “There was a diverse range of over 100 people on the night and in the series. This photograph represents a small number of friends afterwards.”
There may well be some non-white people in the documentary, but what is clear is the lack of black and brown faces within the media of what it means to be LGBT+ – being LGBT doesn’t mean just being white. How can young LGBT people of colour come to terms with their intersectionality like being black and a lesbian, if they don’t see themselves represented properly in programmes and magazines etc?
For far too long LGBT+ people of colour have been denied a voice and proper representation within the mainstream media and the gay media too. I specifically talked about this just the other week at the RSA. The lack of visibility of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people in all media is embarrassingly non-existent, and is shameful in a society which proclaims itself as ‘inclusive’ and forward thinking.
The last time I checked #QueerBritain was a variety of colours.