To mark February 2009's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) History Month, the BMA has produced a report which describes the experiences of LGBT doctors and medical students working in the NHS.
Co-chair of the BMA's Equal Opportunities Committee (EOC), Dr Justin Varney, said today:
"Societal attitudes towards homosexuality have changed over the years. There was a time when homosexuals were imprisoned as criminals and treated with electroshock therapy to 'cure them of their disease'. The 2004 Gender Recognition Act was a major step forward and at last offers legal protection to homosexuals.
"Like the UK, the NHS has come a long way in recognising sexual and gender equality since it was founded in 1948. Many of the stories in the report show that LGBT doctors are out and proud at work and this is brilliant news, however, there are still accounts of discrimination which shows we still have a long way to go.
"The doctors who have spoken out in this report have been incredibly honest and brave and I hope their accounts will inspire other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender doctors to be proud of their contributions to the NHS and to patients."
Here are some examples from the report:
"In the past, I was fearful of coming out and kept my work and private life entirely separate. However, it's much easier when you are 'out' and don't have to worry. I was pleased to be appointed knowing that the 'gossip' had reached the appointments committee in advance. Luckily, I no longer have to come out at work, as everyone knows, and the majority of my colleagues are entirely blasé." - Dr Bewley, London.
"When I was training to become a doctor there was only one 'out' LGBT GP in the area. Now there are hardly any straight white male GPs. That's what I call progress!." - Dr Paddy Glackin, London.
"I have been with my partner for seven years and we are like any 'normal' couple and enjoy the many same things as our straight friends who are married or in a relationship. I have recently started working towards my partnership in General Practice and everyone at work has been brilliant. My partner and I are treated just like everyone else and this is how it should be." - Dr Nitesh Mistry, Birmingham.