Homophobia in medicine
Unfortunately, it still exists but is it lawful?
- By: Rhona MacDonald
The Student BMJ recently received the letter set out in the box from two students. I have taken out their names and any identifiable features so that we can concentrate on the issues rather than carry out a witchhunt for anyone involved.
Sadly, the prejudice displayed here is nothing new, despite the regulatory body for doctors, the General Medical Council, clearly stating that doctors are not allowed to let their views of patients' or colleagues' sexuality prejudice their professional behaviour.1 In a qualitative study where 28 gay and straight doctors were interviewed about how they viewed each other only one (non-gay) doctor stated categorically that he did not believe that homophobia existed in the profession.2 In addition, although all the non-gay doctors claimed at first not to be homophobic, comments made during the interview uncovered, perhaps unconscious, prejudice. For example, one doctor was amazed that so many gay doctors were