Auntie loses queer radio show


No more bis on the beeb?

Radio Manchester’s weekly lesbian, gay, bi & trans radio show is to close, the BBC has confirmed.

As part of a rearrangement of local radio around the UK, weeknight broadcasts from all regional BBC radio stations are to be replaced by one nationwide programme, based in Leeds.

“LGBT Citizen Manchester” has been broadcast for sixteen years, with a growing bisexual ‘angle’ in recent years and interviews with Bi Community News, local group BiPhoria and the authors of The Bisexuality Report in recent times.

Events like Manchester BiFest and BiCon have also been covered by the programme, which was originally based in Manchester and has moved to neighbouring Salford along with much of the BBC’s work.

The loss of 15 hours a week of local programming may also affect the chances of other local bi groups around the country getting their voices heard.

Local MP John Leech has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for the programme to be saved, but it seems likely that in two weeks’ time it will be all over for the show.

BBC: we’re getting there on bisexuality

bivid-3The second BBC report looking at bisexual, lesbian and gay representation in their TV and radio output notes changes over the last two years including two shows consciously including bisexual people.

The BBC interviewed hundreds of bisexual, lesbian and gay people, and assembled an expert panel including journalists and representatives of some large LGBT organisations, to review their work and compare it with the findings of a previous report in 2010.

“Portrayal of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People on the BBC” finds that the BBC is seen as delivering well on LGB representation – except for “little portrayal of lesbian women, and hardly any representation of bisexual people“. Note that careful mixing bis all up in one category regardless of gender, so unpicking a little spin: they’re doing well on one quarter of their LGB programming remit.

Two programmes are highlighted as challenging that invisibility: daytime TV drama Doctors and one-off Radio 4 programme It’s My Story: Getting Bi with Tom Robinson.

Mohit Bakaya, Commissioning Editor, Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, told researchers of how her work had responded to the previous 2010 report:

“The Audiences team came to the Radio 4 creative community with this research early in 2011. Radio 4 has a fairly good record on LGB representation and portrayal, but the finding that bisexuality was under-represented as an identity resonated with me. As a result, I commissioned It’s my story: Getting Bi, a documentary in which musician Tom Robinson explores what it is to be bisexual in Britain today. It is a piece of content we are all proud of, and has been very well received by the audience. It might well not have happened, were it not for the prompting of this research.”

Peter Lloyd, Senior Producer of Doctorsis also quoted:

“When I created the character of Freya in Doctors, I found the 2010 LGB portrayal research useful in understanding how bisexual people feel they are portrayed, and the wider context in which LGB portrayal is received by audiences.

“The research gave us confidence in including a bisexual woman in the show and the issues she would face and helped us to develop a well-rounded, authentic character who became much-loved by the daytime drama audience, and in whose storylines her sexual orientation was sometimes relevant, and sometimes completely incidental. In addition, we did use humour to raise issues, which was a useful mechanism.”

The report also reflects a hesitancy about including bisexual representation, as one expert panel member says:

“As a gay man I was uneasy when I heard about the Corrie [bisexual] storyline because it reinforces the notion that ‘you just have to meet the right woman’.”

A silly idea, of course. It reinforces the notion that there are more than two options on the table.


You can download the reports here.

Jackie Clunes talks bi… and gay and straight… on Radio 4


Bisexuality on the Beeb?

This morning BBC Radio 4 devoted half an hour to the fluidity of human sexuality as Jackie Clunes presented “A Straight Question”.

Principally about people who identify as lesbian or gay and then find themselves in a mixed-sex relationship, it covered a lot of ground in 29 minutes. The show touched on questions of how emotionally charged a shift in your sense of your own sexuality can be, on the ways that social acceptance may vary with your change of partner but that fundamentally a relationship is a relationship, and the variety of responses from family and friends to these changes. Peculiarly, such comments were all about the response of gay or straight mates – we are quite sure lots of people have bi friends too.

The programme touched on how your sense of queerness can be socially erased when in a mixed-sex couple, though it managed to dodge the words ‘bisexual invisibility’ and didn’t explore the ways people can keep a sense of their bi or queer self despite such social pressures.

There was a bit of ‘hopping the fence’ talk – as the @bicommunitynews twitterers observed, you don’t need to be on one side or the other and the view from on top can be quite good!


You will be able to hear the show soon through the iPlayer here (not up at the time of writing!)

Woman’s Hour Talks Bi


Bisexuality on the Beeb

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour this morning had bisexuality as one of its topical topics, following on from stories claiming popster Jessie J is really a lesbian and not bisexual. The author of a new biography claims people around Jessie believed being bi was a fashion statement which would increase her marketability compared to being a lesbian: the claims have been refuted.

Louise Carolin, the Deputy Editor of Diva magazine and Surya Monro from Huddersfield University who is currently writing a book about bisexuality talk about bi identity, biphobia and what the Jessie J story says about attitudes towards bisexual and lesbian women in pop culture and the wider world.

You can listen to the programme segment here.


Tom Talks Bi – tonight at 8


Bis on the Beeb

“Tom Robinson – Getting Bi” will be on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 8pm.

Tom Robinson was the singer songwriter who became the darling of the gay rights movement with his song ‘Glad To Be Gay’ in the late 1970s, but then they fell out with him when he found a girlfriend in the 80s.

In the 1990s he played the Bi Tent at London Pride when it shifted from “lesbian and gay” to LGBT, and at BiCon Cambridge in 1998. Today he’s probably best known as a late-night Radio 6 DJ and perhaps the closest thing the BBC has to the much-missed John Peel.

His interview for Bi Community News is still stirring reading, identifying some of the people the bi scene doesn’t yet reach.

Be sure to tune in – hopefully we’ll hear the voices of many of the members of Brum Bi Group who were interviewed, and a host of other bi voices besides.

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