The BBC has been forced to change a news story about endometriosis after it said two women with the condition had been “assigned female at birth”.
In a story published last month, a BBC journalist stated that the condition “affects one in 10 people of any age in the UK, who are assigned female at birth”, rather than explicitly stating that it is a condition which only affects women.
But after significant backlash online, and a number of complaints which the BBC refused to elaborate on, the article now reads that endometriosis “affects one in 10 women of any age in the UK”.
Milli Hill, a bestselling author of books on childbirth and founder of the Positive Birth Movement charity, was among those who complained.
She tweeted “Dear @BBCNews, sex is not ‘assigned at birth’. Saying ‘1 in 10 people’ obscures the stat.”
Dear @BBCNews, sex is not 'assigned at birth'. Saying '1 in 10 people' obscures the stat. Also, the reason there is 'no known cause or cure' is undoubtedly because this is an issue that only affects women, and has been consistently overlooked. https://t.co/z9z0gtzLbn pic.twitter.com/R7rketniua
— Milli Hill (@millihill) March 26, 2022
Others online agreed with her, with some likening the article’s language to what George Orwell called “Newspeak” in his dystopian novel 1984.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph after the change, Hill shared how she had been “attacked and de-platformed for questioning the ideological direction of travel” by defending biological truth.
She said the BBC article was a “classic example of data being obscured by de-sexed language”, and how women fear they are “being erased by this ideology and are fighting back against it”.
The author added: “What’s important to understand is that the language used is part of a bigger picture – if you make ‘woman’ an open category then this has a knock on negative effect for women’s rights. Sex is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.”