School of Medicine signs up to the UK Medical Schools Charter on So-Called LGBTQ+ ‘Conversion Therapy’
University of St Andrews’ School of Medicine signs up to the “UK Medical Schools Charter on So-Called LGBTQ+ ‘Conversion Therapy’”
The University of St Andrews’ School of Medicine becomes one of the latest Schools of Medicine to sign up to the “UK Medical Schools Charter on So-Called LGBTQ+ ‘Conversion Therapy’” (22/44 medical schools have now signed). The Charter which was created through a partnership between The Association of LGBTQ+ Doctors and Dentists (GLADD) and Lancaster University Medical School, calls for UK medical schools to condemn the use of, and support the banning of so-called LGBTQ+ “conversion therapy” in the UK. The charter highlights the fact that there is overwhelming evidence that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ causes significant harm to LGBTQ+ people. Both The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and The British Medical Association have called for a ban on this damaging practice.
Speaking on the school’s decision to sign up to the charter, John Winpenny, the School of Medicine’s Director of Inclusion, explained that equality, diversity and inclusion play a major role in the school’s strategy and signing up to this charter is in line with the school’s vision to be progressive, inclusive and fair to all its staff and students, while standing up against discrimination, harassment and bullying.
This charter also outlines commitments medical schools can make to support LGBTQ+ students, staff, and patients, including integrating into the school’s medical curricula an authentic representation of LGBTQ+ people to challenge stigma and stereotyping, while promoting awareness on the harms of “conversion therapy”. Dr Winpenny shared that the University of St Andrews’ School of Medicine by signing up to the charter shows that it is taking these issues seriously and is in alignment with these efforts. He added that the school has begun efforts to integrate these into its curricula.
John Winpenny was appointed the School of Medicine’s Director of Inclusion in June 2021 and is passionate about widening access to medicine and promoting a more inclusive environment. He believes it is important to challenge stereotypical and biased physiological/medical perspectives which are currently prevalent in medical curricula. This is particularly important for medical students in training, who will go on to become doctors and teachers.