Leaked Chats: BBC Women Staffers Clash Over Transgender Issue

Entrance to BBC Broadcasting House in London / Getty Images

Leaked chat messages show a bitter behind-the-scenes fight among female BBC staffers over the issue of transgenderism.

BuzzFeed News obtained screenshots of a "BBC Sisterhood" WhatsApp group conversation, which show older feminists and younger women clashing over their views on whether trans women who are biologically male should count as women towards equal pay and representation figures.

"The reason we don’t get on progs [sic] and panels is discrimination due to biology and that’s the thing that needs to be addressed," one BBC producer wrote.

"Agreed. A panel with 2 men and 2 men who identify as women is not 50/50," agreed another woman.

But one younger female staffer took umbrage to those remarks: "Hello, I find this quote offensive… trans women are women and should be included in these discussions?"

"If transwomen self-ID are eligible for maternity pay or leave, it means the sex discrimination claim of being fired or badly treated for pregnancy is erased," another senior producer argued. "One loses that resource to a claim for sex discrimination – though of course the discrimination would still happen."

"Shouldn’t trans women qualify for maternity leave though?" replied a younger employee.

The tension between so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) and trans-accepting feminists has boiled over in the United Kingdom in recent days after more than 300 women quit the left-leaning Labour Party over the decision to count trans women in all-women candidate shortlists.

"Why should we be the ones to give up our space?" one local Labour councilwoman told BBC Radio. "A trans-identified man saying, ‘I am a woman, therefore I have the right to be on this list,' that's what I am objecting to, nothing else."