London, Dec 14: The BBC has been asked to put more gay presenters on children's TV shows to “familiarise” youngsters with different sexualities from an early age.
A study commissioned by the broadcaster said lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people are still “relatively invisible” across the media, the Daily Mail reported.
It said it was important to help validate the feelings of gay children by “incorporating representation within programming for children who are going through their formative years”.
Demonstrating positive experiences and outcomes will stop LGB children feeling isolated, particularly in rural areas, the study said.
The report drew on audience surveys and nine “LGB experts”, and concluded that all genres of programming should regularly feature “non-heterosexual people”, with news and drama currently the biggest problem areas.
Of BBC News, the study claimed that too much time was given to “homophobic” viewpoints.
Clare Luke of Solitaire Consulting, who produced the report, also recommended bolder storylines for dramas and soaps featuring gay characters, while documentaries were deemed to need more LGB presenters and portrayal of gay people in history.
As for comedy, the report concluded that the “biggest risk” was LGB people being the focus of a joke.
This was judged as only truly acceptable when the comedians themselves were gay.
The report drew on a survey of around 3,000 viewers, in which one in five heterosexual men said they thought there were too many LGB people on BBC television.
More than one in 10 people said there were uncomfortable with the portrayal of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the broadcast media.