Report – Out and Proud? Or Still Under Wraps?
· Neil Gaiman said, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Let’s beat them together. – Olly Parker
· Let’s see this panel on the center stage next year – Shabnam Rezaei
· Be Brave – Kez Margrie
Host Sallyann Keizer of Sixth Sense Media began the panel by asking, “is technology offering platforms to represent LGBT+ and helping children self identify and identify with LGBT+ role models in a way that broadcasters don’t?”.
Olly Pike, creator of the YouTube channel ‘Pop’n’Olly’, spoke of his experience as an educator, saying that YouTube is a huge part of the world of a 6-8 year old and that it leads the way in unlocking a level of diversity for children. However, he said he is not seeing enough progress in developing LGBT+ role models. The industry also faces the problem that LGBT+ content is highly sexualised. While YouTube unlocks diversity, the gatekeeping mechanisms are less effective at keeping children away from inappropriate content. Kez Margrie of BBC Children’s, highlighted a broadcaster’s duty to help reduce any homophobia amongst children by sewing diversity into the fabric of programming. She said that who you get behind the camera helps broadcasters tell authentic stories that your audience will respond to. Shabnam Rezaei’s Big Bad Boo spoke to her company’s 360 approach to creating diverse content that seeks to provide children with a LGBT+ vocabulary so that they can, “walk around with their dignity in tact”. Josh Bradlow provided an analogy that Stonewall uses in their education initiatives: all parents mix at the school gate. It would be odd to ask LGBT+ parents to collect their children from the back of the school. That’s normal life and it should be reflected in the media.
Disney’s David Levine spoke of the importance of managing feedback. Negative feedback for Disney’s LGBT+ programming is dwarfed by accolades and positive audience feedback. Thus, it is important that programmers do not get swayed by negative feedback. Nick Marsh of Wonderbly discussed statistics for their customised children’s book ‘The Littlest Bear’. Less than five percent of the books ordered sought the most commonly presented family structures of mum, dad, grandma and grandpa. Demonstrating a huge market and opportunity for content reflecting non-traditional structures.
Sixth Sense Media
Vice President, Programming, Production & Strategic Development, Disney Channels EMEA, & General Manager, Disney Channels UK & Ireland, Nordics
Commissioning Editor CBBC (6-16)
Head of Product and Design
Big Bad Boo
Children's Author/YouTuber and LGBT+ Activist
Content Producer, Independent Commissions
IP, Publishing and Production Consultant