Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT)

Medical Students of Canada




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A history of the GLBT grass-root movement in the Canadian medical profession:


In 1995-1996, a group of GLBT medical students at University of Toronto was started; it was called the U of T Medical Sexual Orientation Interest Group (MedSOIG). In the same year, another med student from Dalhousie started to publish articles that de-stigmatize homosexuality in medicine. That med student also started a national listserv for GLBT people in medicine, and at that time more than 450 people subscribed to that listserv.


Also, from the 1990’s and on, a series of articles on GLBT issues in medicine were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and other mainstream medical journals. Canadian medical students and physicians from across the country, whether heterosexual or GLBT, had decided to speak up against the prejudice and ignorance in medicine. Below is a small collection of these articles:


Simkin RJ. Lesbians face unique health care problems. CMAJ 1991 Dec 15; 145(12):1620–1623.


Gibson G and Saunders D.E. Gay patients. Context for care. Canadian Family Physician 1994 April; 40: 721725.


Robb N. Medical schools seek to overcome “invisibility” of gay patients, gay issues in curriculum. CMAJ Sept 1996; 155: 765-770.


Robb N. Fear of ostracism still silences some gay MDs, students. CMAJ Sept1996; 155: 972-977.


Stefan M. GLMA conference stresses tolerance, sensitivity towards sexual minorities. Ontario Medical Review January 2000. 


Risdon C, Cook D, Willms D. Gay and lesbian physicians in training: a qualitative study. Canadian Medical Association Journal Feb 2000; 162: 331-334.


Lena SM, Wiebe T, Ingram S, Jabbour M. Pediatric residents’ knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes towards homosexually oriented youth. Annals of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Oct 2002; 35(7): 401-405.


Lena SM, Wiebe T, Ingram S, Jabbour M. Pediatricians’ knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes towards homosexually oriented youth. Annals of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Oct 2002; 35(7): 406-410. 



A New Phase of Activism

The history of our new GLBT Meds Canada initiative:


We first started as a small group of friends who just got accepted into medical schools. Then our network of friends quickly expanded in October 2003 when we meet others GLBT med students from different med schools, and as a result we decided to form a new email listserv. Subsequently, with the contacts already made by SOGLAD (Southern Ontario Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors), we expanded our membership to the entire Ontario. Throughout the remainder of the 2003-2004 academic year, we reached out to others in our community by emails and by word of mouth, we now have recruited members from every med schools in the country in early 2005. We have attended conferences across North America to network with other international GLBT medical professionals. Projects and strategies were planned to make medical education in Canada more inclusive on GLBT issues.


We were outraged that a small minority of medical students and physician still think homosexuality is “immoral” (The Medical Post May 11, 2004 Vol. 40 Issue 19). For this reason, we feel the need to expand our network as we find the progress is rather slow in terms promoting GLBT visibility among med students. The purpose of our group/initiative is thus to accelerate this progress by sharing resources and peer support. We have a very successful inaugural year and it is very exciting to see how our group evolves. We hope you can join us in achieving our common goals as well.



More about us in the Press:


See our published Letter to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) regarding issues faced by GLBT medical students:


The marginalization of some medical students
     Louie Chan and Shelley Turner
     CMAJ 2005;173 849-850



Past Medical Post articles featuring some of our members and our work:


Coalition wants gay/lesbian profile raised
Once yearly review of medical curricula not enough to ensure inclusiveness

The Medical Post January 18, 2005 Volume 41 Issue 03

Doctor in Profile: Change is good
The Medical Post January 04, 2005 Volume 41 Issue 01

Med students tying the knot: Medical community increasingly supportive of gay unions
The Medical Post January 11, 2005 Volume 41 Issue 02
     (In response to this article:

     Letters to the Editor: Article and individual showed great courage

     By Dr. Lorne Warneke, The Medical Post April 19, 2005 Volume 41 Issue 15)




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This website is sponsored by Diversity in Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. We would like to thank Alia Qureshi Emili for the original website creation and design and the University of Toronto for providing us the webspace. The materials found on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Toronto