It featured the stories of a handful of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and their parents and explored how they have coped in school and in family life while they were coming out. All were very brave to speak publicly as they did. The documentary was compassionate and real and should be a huge help to those in similar situations.
However, while those who missed the first half have been anxiously awaiting its availability on RTÉ player, when it became available to view yesterday afternoon, it came with a warning that it should only be viewed by those 18 or older.
And while, obviously, any teen could happily press “Yes” as quickly as she would tell her mother her room was indeed tidied, I became curious as to why they’d tag this particular feature as for mature audiences. Surely a documentary featuring the lives of teenagers would be suitable viewing for teenagers?
Clicking on the “MA” symbol takes you through to their description of each rating.
Now I’ve seen both halves of the documentary and while I’m sure there was some colourful language somewhere, there was nothing you wouldn’t hear on Dublin Bus. There was certainly no explicit sexual or violent content.
The only thing that gave me pause was the discussion of suicide but — personally — I would think that it would belong under “parental supervision” and not “mature audiences”. While I hate to be or sound paranoid, gay content has often been tagged as “offensive” where the same production without the gay content would often have a far more accessible rating. Because we gay people are all about sex, you see.
I have contacted RTÉ but have yet to have a response. I will update this as soon as I hear from them.
Today I received a reply from the team responsible for RTÉ Player. I quote here with their permission:
The RTÉ player mirrors the on-air classification which is overseen by the RTÉ Programme Acceptance department.Growing Up Gay, Part 1, transmitted on Monday 19th April, contained an ‘MA’ (Mature Audience). It was given this classification due one aspect of the programme – the presence of coarse language.
Growing Up Gay, Part 2, transmitted on Monday 26th April, contained a ‘PS’ (Parental Supervision) classification because of a lesser degree of coarse language. Programme 2 is currently not available on the RTE Player due to technical problems but we are hoping to make available shortly.
I’m not convinced. Do I have time to watch it all again to make my case? No. Anyone up for it?