- Ofcom has announced that the biphobic comments made on Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year were considered ‘within the audience’s expectations’, and as such didn’t break any particular guidelines.
Comments like these are harmful and shouldn’t be tolerated.
Bi folk still experience daily discrimination, in the form of both name-calling and bi erasure across all sections of society. It’s clear from the lack of representation in mainstream media, to the lack of bi-specific service provision and information. It’s clear in the comments we hear on television, particularly as of late.
This decision is extremely disappointing, and we would certainly expect more from an organisation in charge of regulation.
Comments like these are harmful and shouldn’t be tolerated. The judgment by Ofcom seems to be justifying the use of words like these on national television, without thought to those it might impact. By deeming these comments as something to be expected, Ofcom is endorsing the fact that these sorts of slurs are used in everyday life without the need to be called out for what they are – hateful.
There are a range of bi activists who have been working toward dispelling these myths for decades, coupled with bi-inclusive and bi-specific research that has been commissioned by numerous LGBT groups (including Stonewall).
Organisers of bi-focused conferences and events have helped to bring people together to think about how to tackle the challenges facing the bi community. Similarly, outlets like Biscuit have created a space for the bi community to share their own empowering, unique and intersectional stories.
But while these things are all are extremely positive and encouraging, there is still so much left to do to ensure biphobia is completely eradicated. And to do that we need allies.
We also need to ensure that organisations like Ofcom are finding out more about what it means to be bi, so that mistakes like this don’t happen again. We need better education.
This will help us to ensure that both individuals and groups, who might not even know what biphobia is, are not just no longer biphobic but also know how to call out those who are.