The BBC has apologised after an online poll sparked outrage when listeners were asked whether gay conversion therapy is “acceptable practice” or not.
BBC Radio Kent tweeted a poll to its followers posing the question: “TV doctor Dr Ranj Singh has told breakfast gay conversion therapy is akin to psychological abuse. Should gay conversion therapy be banned?”
Followers could choose between two options, one saying it should be banned and the other stating “it’s acceptable practice”.
LGBT rights charity Stonewall lambasted the corporation for posing such a question, commenting on Twitter: “It’s shocking and deeply disappointing that the BBC launched a public poll asking if so called ‘conversion therapy’ is acceptable.”
The BBC issued an apology on Friday afternoon, saying in a statement: “Radio Kent were asking listeners whether it should actually be made illegal.
“But we accept that the poll was not the most appropriate way of dealing with this sensitive issue.”
The poll followed an interview with Dr Singh who had called for gay conversion therapy to be made illegal.
He said: “It should be illegal, it is akin to almost psychological abuse.
“We have to understand that it is not always black and white, there are some people who are definitely heterosexual, there are some people who are definitely homosexual and they know their identities, and there are some people who are in between.”
The poll sparked outrage when it was launched on Thursday, posing the question to BBC Radio Kent’s 53,000 Twitter followers.
Conversion therapy is highly contentious and is described by Stonewall as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to reduce or stop same-sex attraction or to suppress a person’s gender identity”.
“It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. These therapies are both unethical and harmful.”