LGBT equality in the workplace

The BMA and GLADD (The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists) highlight the experiences of LGBT doctors in the NHS and the medical profession.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Tuesday 19 October 2021
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​Doctors come from a broad cross section of backgrounds, lifestyles, ages, sexualities and experiences. And they can be discriminated against for who they are.

Homophobic and biphobic discrimination from colleagues and patients can manifest itself as abuse that has a detrimental effect on a doctor's life.

I don't want to be introduced as Emma, she's a surgeon; she's a lesbian.


BMA and GLADD (The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists) commissioned the Labour Research Department, an independent trade union research organisation, to survey current attitudes towards LGB doctors and medical students in the workplace or place of study.

The report contains 21 powerful case studies and shows that more than 1 in 10 doctors who responded has experienced some form of discrimination at their place of work or study. And only a fifth of them attempted to get that discrimination addressed.


Key survey findings

  • Over 70 per cent of those surveyed said they had endured one or more types of experience short of harassment or abuse in the last two years related to their sexual orientation. These ranged from feeling unable to talk about their private life at one end of the spectrum to homophobic name-calling at the other.
  • More than one in 10 (12 per cent) said they had experienced at least one form of harassment or abuse at their place of work or study. Incidents included psychological or emotional abuse, verbal attacks, threats of violence and abuse on social media.
  • More than one in 10 (12 per cent) felt they had suffered some form of discrimination in their employment or studies as a result of being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Areas of discrimination identified varied widely but most common were having fewer opportunities than colleagues/fellow students and finding problems with the provision of pastoral support.
  • Only a quarter of those feeling they had suffered harassment/abuse reported it to someone senior.
  • Only a fifth of those feeling discriminated against attempted to take the matter further to try to get it resolved.

People would say slightly offensive things about LGBT people in the coffee room while I was there, even though they knew I was gay.


Read the report

The full report (2016) includes a breakdown of the survey respondents, write-up of all 20 interviews and an action plan developed from the suggested actions.

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