A senior member of the Royal College of General Practitioners was under investigation last night after advising medical students to act less “overtly gay” to ensure they passed exams.
She is acknowledging that there is an underlying homophobia or racism in the selection process of the RCGP, and that's horrific. But unfortunately there will be some nodding along with approval – certainly some of the ones who used to teach me. Once there was an X-ray of a male abdomen with a visibly obvious belly-button ring, and the consultant teacher asked us: "What's the diagnosis here?" We all said we didn't know, and he said: "HIV, it's a gay male", and laughed. I was horrified.
From surveys we know a lot of LGBT patients don't go to the GP because they're not made to feel welcome – this book proves that point. Homophobia or racism is never acceptable, but particularly so among doctors because we have to be so non-judgemental for every single one of our patients. That's why this makes me want to cry, because people's faith in doctors is going to be rattled again. It shows us as stuffy, bigoted old fuddy-duddies again. The RCGP needs to show it is fully supportive of their LGBT patients and that these views are a minority.