A BBC episode of Casualty which featured a non-binary character discussing top surgery pre-watershed has been slammed by campaigners.
The doctor drama series aired an episode on BBC One at 8.20pm on Saturday, where it discussed the gender-affirming breast tissue surgery for transgender people.
The campaign group Safe Schools Alliance called it a ‘new low’ for the broadcaster on social media as the female rights charity, Fair Play for Women, questioned whether the BBC had taken its safeguarding responsibilities ‘seriously’.
However some viewers praised the episode, with one describing it as ‘an utterly joyful moment’ while another said: ‘I think this is a good thing to broadcast.’
The episode features the character Sah, who is played by non-binary trans actor Arin Smethurst.
Arin Smethurst, a non-binary trans actor, is pictured playing the character Sah during an episode of Casualty which aired on BBC One at 8.20pm on Saturday
Milo Clarke (right), who plays Teddy, and Diane Botcher (left), who plays Jan, are both happy for Sah in the episode when they have top surgery booked
In it Sah explains to co-star Milo Clarke, who plays Teddy, that they have booked time off work ‘because I’ve finally got the date for my top surgery’.
Sah then says: ‘I know a double mastectomy is not to be taken lightly,’ before explaining: ‘For now at least, I’m just happy that I’ll finally look like the person I feel like on the inside.’
In response the character Jan, who is played by Welsh actress Diane Botcher, says: ‘If you’re sure that’s what you want then I’m pleased for you, really.’
Later in the episode Sah is then presented with a surprise cake shaped like breasts.
Smethurst previously told the Metro: ‘Sah is really interesting for me to play for a number of reasons. I think that I’ve figured out more about my queer identity than they have when you meet them in the show.
‘I am familiar and comfy with my sexuality and I’m uncovering new parts of my gender identity at a rapid pace.
‘I am non-binary and also transmasculine, which means that I consider myself to lean more towards masculinity. I’m more boy than anything else, but still not a man.’
Reacting to the episode, Safe Schools Alliance slammed the episode, calling it a ‘new low for the BBC which has continually appeased the ideologues in their organisation rather than engaging with experts who understand child development and safeguarding.’
Fair Play for Women posted a screenshot of an FOI sent to the BBC which asks for the names of external groups consulted about including the ‘top surgery’ in the storyline.
The charity added: ‘Let’s see whether the BBC team took its safeguarding responsibilities seriously.’
Teddy, played by Clarke, looks ecstatic for Sah after hearing that they have booked top surgery
Sah then says: ‘I’m just happy that I’ll finally look like the person I feel like on the inside’
The BBC doctor drama series received a variety of responses with some in support of the discussion of top surgery and others in disagreement
Other people on social media criticised the decision to show the scene before the 9pm watershed when children could be watching the show.
One wrote: ‘I used to love Casualty, stopped watching a few years ago because it was becoming one big virtue signal on each new trend. Disgusted by this story.’
Another said: ‘Hi BBC, can you explain why you are showing celebratory scenes with boob cake, the works, on ‘top surgery’ aka double mastectomy, on @BBCCasualty before 9pm or at anytime come to think of it?’
However, others praised Casualty’s representation of the LGBTQ+ community and offered their support.
One person tweeted: ‘Watching Sah on #Casualty getting the date for their top surgery was an utterly joyful moment. @ArinSmethurst continues to be a delight EVERY WEEK. #MoreSahPlease.’
Another praised the show by saying: ‘I think this is a good thing to broadcast. People fear and hate what they don’t understand and even lash out.
‘Trans people are not new it’s not a fad it’s been around as long as humans have. The world is not black and white and this issue goes back to the womb with stages of pregnancy. There are even people born with male and female organs’
The BBC have been contacted for comment.