Prominent Medical Practitioners Who Identify as LGBTQ

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Recent research reports suggest that finding doctors competent to care for LGBTQ patients is becoming increasingly more difficult. It is therefore worth looking at the presence of LGBTQ medical practitioners who have made, or are making, an important contribution to this professional field.

Whereas LGBTQ individuals may suffer the same medical conditions as society as a whole, it is known that their outcomes are worse. A large part of this is because few doctors identify themselves as knowledgeable and culturally competent with the community, and few hospitals have programs to train staff about the characteristics of the community. It is only in recent years that professional medical associations began accepting and recognizing the presence of LGBTQ physicians. Two-thirds of doctors report having heard derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community in the workplace, and one third had witnessed discriminatory care of an LGBTQ patient.

Thirty percent of LGBTQ medical students in western countries, and two thirds of gender minority students, hide their sexual identity during medical school based on their fear of discrimination. There is little formal education in medical school about LGBTQ issues.

In this environment, having LGBTQ mentors and role models plays an important role. There is representation of these individuals, but knowledge about them is scarce or non-existent. A few examples of outstanding role models include:

  • the first practicing women physician in Scotland was lesbian Margaret Todd;
  • the first practicing women physician in Queensland, Australia was lesbian Lilian Violet Cooper;
  • the world's first transgender President of a medical staff at a hospital is Canadian Carys Massarella;
  • American physician Tom Waddell founded the Gay Games;
  • Britain's Florence Nightingale created the nursing profession;
  • several doctors are notable political leaders, authors, and poets.

Organizations have been formed to support the community of LGBTQ physicians. Notable among these is the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), though several regional groups have been formed in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and other countries. Their belief is that embracing diversity in the medical field can greatly enhance the quality of medical care to a community.

We have been able to identify the following prominent medical practitioners. Simply click on their name to read their fascinating biographies:





Great Britain


New Zealand





United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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