THE BBC has been left stunned after a confidential internal survey revealed that it employs more than 400 transgender staff - four times higher than the proportion in the population at large.
The 417 employees, which represents more than one in 50 of its total workforce, was described by the executive behind the research as “very, very high”.
Following the findings, the BBC’s Director of Diversity Tunde Ogungbesan has launched a major reform to make the Corporation more “trans-friendly”.
He also revealed that 11 percent of BBC employees were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), but said he still did not consider the Corporation to be diverse enough.
Almost a quarter of its 21,239 staff declined to reveal their orientation and from the remainder, 2.2 percent said they were bisexual, 4.8 percent were gay men and 1.3 percent lesbian. Mr Ogungbesan said the BBC wants eight percent of its staff to be from the LGBT community by 2020.
According to official UK figures in 2016, two percent of people said they were lesbian, gay or bisexual.
The BBC’s Director of Diversity revealed the findings at a Westminster Social Policy Forum attended by senior civil servants, doctors and transgender rights campaigners last month.
He told them: “Can someone have a guess at how many people have disclosed they are transgender at the BBC.
“Ten? Anyone else? Twenty? Not bad. One more? I will put you out of your misery.
“We've got 417 - almost two per cent. That is very, very high. “If you have a figure like that you have to think how you make the BBC inclusive – because people have trusted you.”
Mr Ogungbesan said the results would see the BBC rewrite its “style guide”, which outlines rules on “fairness and terminology” at the Corporation.
He added: “If we can create a culture where everyone feels they can bring their best work into the organisation and with that you can begin to change from within the thought processes and the ways people behave and the way they broadcast their programmes, then we would have achieved what we are trying to do.”
The BBC’s research comes as the Government prepares to unveil plans next week to make it less stressful and bureaucratic for people to be able to change gender.
Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt will launch a consultation on Tuesday and has told Cabinet colleagues she regards it as “one of the most important issues facing modern British society”.