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LGBT+ History Month 2024: Queer Contributions to Medicine

Entering LGBT+ History Month 2024, the theme "Medicine – #UnderTheScope" urges us to shine a light on the significant contributions of the LGBTQ+ community in Medicine and Healthcare.

This isn't just about looking back; it's about recognising the important roles queer people have played in healthcare, both in the past and today. This celebration transcends time, acknowledging both historical milestones and the ongoing efforts of queer people within the healthcare sector.

Our UK history is a rich narrative, marked by triumphs and challenges alike. From the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 to achieving equality in age of consent and the recognition of civil partnerships and same-sex marriage, the journey has been profound. Yet, the lingering shadow of Section 28, with its 15-year ban on the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools, continues to cast echoes of discrimination against both LGBTQ+ pupils and teachers.

New rainbow flag with a caption: LGBT+ History Month

In alignment with this year's theme, let's delve into the stories of three notable figures who have left an indelible mark on queer medicine and gender-affirming healthcare in British queer history:

  • Sir Harold Gillies (1882–1960), a pioneering plastic surgeon who played a pivotal role in the history of gender affirmation surgery in the UK. Gillies performed the first gender affirmation surgery in the UK in the 1940s. His innovative approach to gender affirmation procedures laid the foundation for advancements in trans healthcare.

  • Dr. Margaret Todd (1852-1919) was a lesbian physician and pioneering advocate for reproductive healthcare. She founded the Women's Medical College in London and advocated for women's access to medical education and practice. She also led campaigns for better access to contraception and information about sexual health.

  • Dr. Richard Gordon (1925-2017): Gay psychiatrist and co-founder of the Society for the Organisation of Counselling for Homosexuals (SOCH). Contributed significantly to improving mental health support for LGBTQ+ individuals.

LGBTQ+ History Month unfolds with a myriad of events and activities across the UK – panel discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions and many more. You can explore the full spectrum of these events on the official calendar:

As we celebrate, it's vital to acknowledge the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ communities within the healthcare landscape. The theme "Under the Scope" invites us to delve into these narratives, learn from them, and amplify the voices that have often been relegated to the margins.

Here's to LGBTQ+ History Month 2024! A time to acknowledge progress, recognise the work ahead, and celebrate the vibrant and diverse history that shapes our communities. Happy LGBTQ+ History Month! 🌈



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