CBeebies, its channel aimed at under-sevens, broadcast a segment about how some species can go from ‘being a boy fish to a girl fish’.
The claim has provoked anger among campaigners who fear it was intended to normalise the controversial ideology at an early age – and is in any case inaccurate given that fish do not have a gender identity.
They are also suspicious about the timing of the CBeebies item after the British Museum highlighted fish that are ‘protogynous hermaphrodites’ to coincide with the start of Pride month.
It comes after the BBC was criticised over a pre-watershed episode of Casualty last weekend in which a non-binary character discussed having ‘top surgery’.
The Safe Schools Alliance, which is campaigning against inappropriate sex education lessons, said: ‘CBeebies indoctrinating toddlers into the ideological concept of changing from a boy to a girl.
‘BBC send in the clownfish for Pride month to target children and yet again fail in their safeguarding responsibility.’
Twitter user Sion Jones, who spotted the segment, said: ‘The fact that there’s clearly been a meeting where this was discussed in terms of trans but they’ve also tried to maintain the plausible deniability of ‘it’s just a fun fact about fish!’ is extremely disappointing.’
Some Twitter users pointed out that although a small number of fish can change sex, the BBC was wrong to claim they can change ‘gender’ – and in any case, it does not prove that humans can do the same.