‘Damaging’: Stars criticise BBC for airing LGBTQ+ debate on Question Time

BBC political show Question Time has been criticised for airing a debate over whether it is "morally right" to teach children about LGBTQ+ "issues".

The question was raised on Thursday March 28 after news of continued protests at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham over lessons teaching respect for same-sex relationships.

The show came one day after MPs voted to approve LGBTQ+ inclusive guidance for sex and relationship education by a margin of 538 to 21, the first relationship and sex education guidance since 2000.

An audience member, Keith Broughton, was picked to ask panellists: "Is it morally right that five-year-old children learn about LGBTQ+ issues in school?"

Responding on Question Time, all of the panellists agreed that schools should adopt LGBTQ+ inclusive education.

The panel included Education Secretary Damian Hinds, Labour MP Jenny Chapman, Next chief executive Simon Wolfson, MoneyWeek editor Merryn Somerset Webb and academic Yanis Varoufakis.

However, after the Question Time Twitter account posted the question, many users questioned the way it was presented.

BBC presenter Sue Perkins tweeted: "The framing of this question is deeply worrying. Are we really here again, nearly two decades after Section 28 was repealed...?"

Perkins was referring to Section 28, an amendment abolished in 2003 which stated that authorities and schools should not "intentionally promote homosexuality or ... the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".

Holby City actor David Ames posted: "This is deliberate phrasing and it's not only insulting but damaging.

"I hope the increase in heated tweets/responses to this is worth the suggestion that learning of the mere existence of a minority is immoral."

Comedian Joe Lycett, who hosts BBC show The Great British Sewing Bee, joked: "Let me know what you guys decide so I can pack my bags for jail."

Debbie Laycock, head of policy at HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, told the Press Association: "In the week that MPs voted emphatically for LGBTQ+ inclusive relationships and sex education in all schools, it's disappointing this question was posed.

"What is 'morally wrong' is to deny information to pupils that they need to form healthy and fulfilling relationships in later life."

The charity also took to Twitter to praise the news that LGBTQ+ inclusive relationships education will be compulsory in primary schools from September 2020.

The BBC has been approached for comment.