Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD), an LGBT+ community awareness day observed each year on October 11.
To mark NCOD, the BBC has revealed the impact the recent Gay Britannia season has had on UK audiences, showing a high level of campaign awareness amongst both the LGB community and others – offering new insight whilst driving a sense of connection and conversation.
Gay Britannia, a season of programming across the BBC marked the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act, providing audiences with bold and provocative stories exploring how far we’ve come since being gay was a crime in Britain.
The season ran from late July to early August, led by programming on BBC Two and BBC Four, with other content across BBC radio and online.
♦ There was 43% awareness of the season amongst all UK audiences, rising to 75% amongst lesbian and gay audiences
♦ A quarter (25%) of those who watched Gay Britannia agreed that it taught them “something they didn’t know before”
♦ This was highest amongst older groups (55-64 at 36%, 65+ at 28%) – and 37% amongst LGB audiences
♦ 57% of LGB audiences who watched Gay Britannia felt the season ‘connected them with their experiences’
♦ Younger audiences (16-34) who watched Gay Britannia claimed the season helped them to ‘feel closer to other people’ (29%) and ‘think about doing something new’ (17%)
♦ Overall, one fifth (21%) of those who watched said it made them “feel closer to other people / understand other people better”
The season continues the BBC’s long history of tackling LGBT subjects and a commitment to representation and portrayal; with significant moments including, in 1987, the first ever kiss between men on a British soap (EastEnders).
Feedback received from anonymous survey respondents highlighted the positive impact the season had on LGBT+ and wider audiences.
“It made me more proud of being Gay and also an appreciation of how lucky I am” – male, 36
“It opens your eyes to someone else’s world” – female, 19
“It helped persuade me to finally come out to a… homophobic parent, who quite surprisingly accepted it” – male 31
“It created more awareness of wider issues that people might not have known about, as well as personal struggles and prejudice about being gay” – male, 24
“I’m thankful for the gay friends I have in my life, that they can live the lives they want openly without fear” – female, 50
“As a gay man of 77 I remember what it was like prior to the part decriminalisation, but I wasn’t aware of the horrific attack that some gay persons have experienced in the last few years” – male, 77
David Bunker, Head of Research Projects at BBC, said: “We can see from our evaluation of this important season of programming that there was a very high awareness amongst audiences, with nearly two-thirds of the LGB community consuming some content from it.
“But it seems to have had an even wider impact: delivering new insight, sparking conversation and driving a sense of connection between people across the country on the issues the LGB community have faced in the past, and still face today”.