LGBTQ+ History Month: Uplifting Healthcare Pioneers and the Change Still Needed

7 Feb 2024

LGBTQ+ History Month: Uplifting Healthcare Pioneers and the Change Still Needed

As we mark the 19th anniversary of LGBTQ+ History Month this February in the UK, the 2024 theme “Medicine: Under the Scope'' provides important opportunities for reflection. This year we celebrate LGBTQ+ peoples’ contributions to medicine and healthcare historically and today, whilst also examining the complicated relationship between the community and receiving healthcare that still leaves queer individuals facing health inequalities.

Honouring LGBTQ+ Healthcare Staff, Past and Present 

We salute the phenomenal work of current LGBTQ+ staff across the NHS and other healthcare settings in providing care for all, especially throughout the pandemic. We also honour the many pioneering but often unnamed LGBTQ+ trailblazers in medicine whose stories remain untold. Their collective work has advanced healthcare for all and saved countless lives.

Reckoning with Discrimination in Healthcare

However, we must also shine a light on the difficult history of LGBTQ+ people accessing and receiving healthcare over decades. From being pathologised as mentally ill to facing rejection from caregivers, systemic biases have caused immense harm to queer health, with impact still felt today through ongoing health inequalities. We encourage listening to LGBTQ+ lived experiences to fully understand this legacy.

Supporting the Community in the Face of Rising Hate  

Highlighting these complex histories takes on renewed importance as the LGBTQ+ community grapples with rising hate crime and instances in the UK. As we reflect on the work of queer healthcare staff and barriers LGBTQ+ patients still face, we must stand in solidarity and continue advocating for equitable care.  

This February, Pride in London celebrate progress while also remaining committed to positive change still needed to help London's LGBTQ+ community thrive with health and wellbeing.