Homophobic and biphobic discrimination in the workplace or place of study can take place in many forms, ranging from environmental discomfort to serious harassment and abuse. Victims can face unfair treatment in their employment or studies by way of fewer opportunities or being marked down on exams and assessments.
An episode of discrimination can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of a doctor or medical student, which most will remember for their entire medical careers.
The BMA and GLADD (Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists) commissioned a survey of current attitudes towards LGB doctors and medical students in the workplace or place of study. Read the key survey findings or the full report.
Have you or a colleague of yours been a victim of homophobic or biphobic discrimination? Did you feel comfortable taking action against that discrimination? Think about what you did, how you went about it and what was the outcome. If you didn’t feel comfortable taking action, what were your reasons and what do you think can be done to improve things?
Do you think enough support is available to those who have been discriminated against on grounds of their sexual orientation? Do you think more needs to be done to prevent discrimination in the first place? Or do you think that the NHS is now a safe and supportive place for LGB staff than ever before?
We would like to hear your thoughts, anonymously if you prefer. Please comment below.
For help and support, please refer to our wellbeing guidance or call our confidential BMA Counselling service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0330 123 1245 .
I have experienced transphobic discrimination, during my transition from male to female gender role in year 2000. While many colleagues were very supportive and helpful to ensure that my plans were carried out safely (I was working in a prison), the CEO of the company in which I was employed at the time was very dismissive and arrogant, and tried to deter me from dressing appropriately to my acquired gender, first directly when he accompanied my manager in a supervision session where we were preparing a plan for me to work in my acquired gender, then indirectly when he provided a mandate to a subsequent manager to accuse me falsely of breaching gender boundaries in a changing room. I successfully confronted their allegations with support from the Equal Opportunities Commission and colleagues. Incidentally, I learned subsequently that co-operation from senior management in the prison was forthcoming because prior to my transition, the prison service had just lost an employment tribunal case regarding someone else in a similar position. That did not stop a member of staff from maliciously disclosing my identity to newspaper reporters, along with lurid and inaccurate details about my personal life, which were printed in the gutter press.
I also experienced an incident when I was working for probation , attending a prison to conduct an assessment of a prisoner. A legitimate enquiry was made about my identity from prison staff on reception, directed up their management chain to the governor and thence to the Chief of Probation and down the ladder to my manager, who contacted me to say that there was a problem with my ID but she didn't know what the problem was as it was all "very sensitive". I soon found out from prison colleagues that a support officer noticed I was wearing a wig and merely wanted confirmation of my identity working as an officer for probation.
In 2003-4 in a subsequent role, I was able to support a colleague while working in Probation services, who had experienced the most atrocious bullying and discrimination based on orientation and gender identity, as well as disability. Obstacles were placed in getting a reasonable adjustment regarding a disability, and after extensive delays by the employer and Occupational Health provider during which this colleague was prevented from working, while suspended with pay, return to work was sabotaged by an entirely inappropriate situation regarding the disability. I was asked by the staff group to provide further support. After a very thorough review of the case, I identified numerous failings by the employer to properly deal with the issues of bullying regarding sexual orientation, in which some variations in gender identity expression played a considerable part. I was able to make recommendations which the staff group and union took up, resulting in a legal action which secured a settlement.
It is interesting that these incidents all involved some aspect of transition or variation from an established pattern or role. My sexual orientation and gender identity is much less of an issue to organisations now, as it has become the established mode
Why is the title about 'sexual orientation' only but you talk about 'transphobia' in the main body of the text. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two different things...
We don't want to discourage a conversation about transphobic discrimination and we understand that it's about gender identity. However, as the survey was confined to homophobic and biphobic discrimination, we have decided to remove the word 'transphobic' from the body text.
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