Radio 4 has no gay or lesbian presenters

Radio 4 have added a nice feature of their site which pulls together presenter biographies. The thing that strikes me is how many of the presenter biographies mention families and children, but I can’t find a single one that makes it known the presenter is gay. One refers to a partner, which could be same-sex, but there are deafening silences elsewhere. I grant that it’s a little difficult to slip it in to the biography in passing, but this continued invisibility is, in my view, really unhealthy. And I don’t for one moment think they’re not there.

[Update – I take it back, kinda. Looking further, you find Nigel Wrench, who’s done lots of gay radio programmes so, you know, one could assume…]

9 Replies to “Radio 4 has no gay or lesbian presenters”

  1. Gay Radio 4 presenters; Alice Arnold is the partner of Clare Balding. Also, Ned Sherrin, Eddie Mair, Harriet Cass,

  2. Also from the BBC Radio Four Biog site:-

    “In her spare time she likes to play golf and tennis, and occasionally she gets on a horse – but doesn’t always stay on it for long.”

    Guess who?

    From Alice Arnold’s Biog.

  3. Hi!

    I was very chuffed to see this when I – after Any Questions today – thought I’d see if Google could find me a confirmation that Eddie Mair was gay, as I vaguely remembered. I’ve harboured a secret crush on Claire Balding for some years (secret from my lovely partner Jennifer, that is)so I do hope Stewart Henry’s info is sound. As for Nigel Wrench, he is out with a vengeance, having written in the gay press for years and gone public about risky sexual activities as an HIV-positive gay man.

    Any hope of further revelations from fellow Radio 4 addicts?

  4. Alison, Clare Balding is out and I think has had a Civil Partnership (so Jennifer can rest easy).

    I’d rather not, though, turn this into a forum for outing BBC presenters who’ve chosen not to come out. I find it disappointing that they don’t feel able to (although I acknowledge there may be very good reasons for it), but that doesn’t mean we should do it for them!

  5. Hi Tom, thanks for dropping by. Your programmes look really interesting, and pertinent, and I’ll be sure to catch them. I guess we’d be hard pushed to find a more out presenter than yourself, and I’ve enjoyed your public approach to your sexuality over the years. My point certainly wasn’t that there aren’t out presenters, more that the casual way in which heterosexuals mention spouses and kids in biographies is not matched with similar candor by gay, lesbian and bi presenters, even when they are out. It’s like, if you’re straight, it’s relevant and acceptable, and if you’re not, let’s just be discreet. I know it’s actually far more complex than that, and I should probably give this some more thought and follow up properly on this two-year-old post.

  6. The legend that is Sandi Toksvig, of course, is gay, and so is Radio 4’s economics editor Evan Davis.

  7. As a woman who has been happily “out” for over ten years I really don’t think that in 2007 we should be considering the sexuality of presenters when we think about whether a radio station is healthy or not. The presenters on such a station are not employed to give personal opinion so their orientation or beliefs should be no concern to the listener. Of course I would not ever expect anyone to hide their sexuality or be made to feel ashamed (as we are obviously fab people) but I think such it should be their talent and intelligence that is of interest not their orientation.

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