Medicine – #UnderTheScope - LGBT+ History Month

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Every year, many people celebrate LGBT+ History Month, which provides a dedicated opportunity to explore the rich and diverse history of the LGBT+ community.

Throughout much of history, individuals often hid their true identities due to fear of societal rejection, and in some cases, faced the threat of criminal conviction and imprisonment. In today's more accepting society, it's important to reflect on the experiences of those who came before us and work towards reducing stigma and promoting tolerance.

The theme for 2024 highlights the contributions of LGBT+ individuals to the field of Medicine and Healthcare, both historically and in the present. It also aims to recognise the incredible work of LGBT+ staff in the NHS and other healthcare settings, particularly their efforts during the pandemic.

A few individuals who changed the future of medicine:

Sara Josephine Baker (1873–1945), came from a wealthy family and pursued a medical career after losing her father and brother to typhoid. Renowned for her work in public health, especially among immigrant communities in New York City, she established the first government-controlled child hygiene department, leading to a significant decrease in infant mortality. Baker also played a key role in locating Mary Mallon, known as Typhoid Mary, and later spent much of her life with Australian writer Ida Alexa Ross Wylie.

Louisa Martindale (1872–1966), an English physician and writer, served as a surgeon during both World Wars, performing over 7,000 operations. She advocated for women in medicine and was active in the suffragette movement. Martindale lived with Ismay FitzGerald for more than three decades, finding fulfilment in their relationship.

Patrick Trevor-Roper (1916–2004), an ophthalmic surgeon, testified before the Wolfenden Committee in 1955, advocating for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts. His testimony highlighted the harmful effects of existing laws, leading to legislative changes in 1967. Trevor-Roper also contributed significantly to improving access to ophthalmic medicine, campaigning for the repeal of restrictive laws and supporting initiatives in the UK and African countries.

Whilst still shining a light on the history of the LGBT+ community’s experience of receiving healthcare which has been extremely complicated leaving LGBT+ people still facing health inequalities even today.

LGBT+ Network – Get Involved

At JRHT, we have a LGBT+ Network which was set up to support and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual (LGBTQIA+) colleagues.

We are looking to grow the network and would love residents to become part of it. Everyone is welcome, whether you identify as a member of the LGBT+ community or as an ally. If you are interested, please email Peter Sanderson ( or Kate Thompson ( 

Why not join us at the next York Pride on Saturday 01 June to find out more?  We will be meeting at the Minster prior to the march and have a stand at the York Racecourse too. York Pride – North Yorkshire's Largest LGBT+ Event!