Doctor divides uni: gay student told to seek hormone testing

Students and staff at the University of Canberra are divided over the actions of a Catholic doctor at the university medical centre who refuses to prescribe contraception and suggested a gay student have a hormone test.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

A doctor at the University of Canberra medical centre told a gay student he could seek hormone treatment to cure his same-sex attraction.

The incident has divided university students and staff, with the student involved to launch an appeal against the university for its support of the doctor’s actions. The doctor is also well known in the university community for refusing to prescribe contraception due to her Catholic beliefs.

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28 thoughts on “Doctor divides uni: gay student told to seek hormone testing

  1. Borisholly

    Seriously, do we have to put up with other people’s fantasies in the really important sphere of medicine.
    Please UC, employ people who are in this century and reality. This beggars belief in a discipline like science and medicine. Undergrads are drilled for years about following the ‘scientific method’, for worlds best practice.
    Science is science, religion is religion, don’t confuse the two and certainly don’t employ people in jobs that clearly compromise patient care.

  2. Salamander

    I think GPs have to stick to evidence-based medicine these days

  3. margbozik

    This. Is. Appalling.

    University is the time when many young people start expressing their sexuality. They need access to complete and accurate information, effective contraception and a non-judgemental and safe place to discuss their psychological and physical health concerns.

    It sounds like this doctor is unable to fulfill any of these requirements.

  4. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Isn’t it sort of weird that an on-campus medical doctor’s attraction would be that, “a number of Catholic students have expressed their relief at having a doctor who was like-minded and could help them receive medical advice around their religious beliefs”? One hopes the medical centre is also concerned to provide medical advice to dissident astrophysicists, to non-Darwinian evolutionists or to students of accountancy who have fallen into tax evasion. Of course a GP can be a great source for counselling about life and death and the meaning of everything but medicating homoerotic thoughts?

  5. tinman_au

    Kent being a politics student kinda explains a few things.

    After he requested advice on the Billings and rhythm methods (neither of which would be required for same sex partners), he then “pressed further on whether his same-sex attraction was normal”, which the doctor could well have taken as concern/distress (which is probably also why she asked if he had been depressed lately and suggested counseling).

    And to top it off, she referred him to a hormone TEST, not a hormone course, which seems to me to be a sensible course of action he told her “that he’d been experiencing “thoughts about men””. The way he states it in this story, it sounds like he told her the “man-thoughts” was a recent thing, so running some tests could well be a prudent action to rule out any other issues.

    The Exclusive Brethren thing was clearly out of line though.

  6. Blair Martin

    tinman_au: seriously or being tongue in cheek? Your words: “sensible course of action” and “prudent action to rule out other issues” – it sounds as if you agree with the backward Catholic doctor that any “man-thoughts” are deviant and need further study and a course of therapy to “cure” the malady.

  7. msmith

    One of the problems surrounding this issue is that the worst outcomes aren’t necessarily for confident openly gay adults, yet they’re generally the only people who speak out on the topic. The negative outcomes are spread far wider, for people who aren’t part of the openly gay ‘community’ and therefore don’t have anyone to speak up for them. IF you’re confident with your sexuality, AND reasonably educated about basic sexual health issues, AND able to shop around for a good doctor, you can get the health services you need, no problems. They’re not the people most at risk here. If the president of the student association asked his known homosexual friends whether they’d have issues with the doctor, he’s missing the point. They should be more concerned with youngsters who haven’t come out yet, and maybe even haven’t acted on their desires at this stage, and also those of their ‘straight’ friends who indulge in secret same-sexual activities on the side (more common than anyone cares to admit).
    Young people coming to terms with their sexuality are obviously vulnerable in many ways, and with non-openly-gay patients who keep their same-sex activity secret from their friends & family, this kind of false moralising from doctors can only make it even less likely that they’ll seek appropriate sexual health advice. I don’t see how a doctor can be said to be doing their job if they start each day with the belief that they don’t owe these people the same level of care they offer everyone else.
    If a compromise is needed, maybe they could place a large sign in the front of the office stating that ‘Dr X does not see patients regarding family planning/sexual-health/sexuality issues, except on a Christian faith-based basis’, with the proviso that another doctor is also always available at the same practice. Though personally, I’m not sure why any doctor who isn’t prepared to show the proper respect to all patients is still working in 2012. Surely the best health outcome for the patient is paramount, or else why be a GP?

  8. tinman_au

    I think your reading/believing too much in to this particular story Blair.

    Don’t forget, this is a story about a trainee politician that went to a doctors appointment to entrap someone he doesn’t agree with, so I don’t take Kents word with what happened as the only “truth”, unlike the SMH story about the EB doctor. He was plainly wrong and deserves his ban…

  9. msmith

    I talked too much and forgot to say that it does look like a bit of entrapment was going on in this case, so the doctor should be given every chance to give their side of things etc. Labelling this one GP as a bad egg who must be banished seems inappropraite.
    My concern is more with the fact that there are lots of other GPs out there with similar or worse attitudes, and that the patients who are most likely to suffer due to mistreatment are exactly the type who are least likely to speak out. Since the medical profession doesn’t seemed to have accepted that this is a major problem with serious negative health outcomes for affected patients, I can understand the motivation behind the student in the story.

  10. Warren Joffe

    And I thought my generation were adequately anti-Catholic as part of our rationalist stance! But setting up a conscientious sounding GP with words which strongly suggested he needed at least a placebo for something is a pretty petty performance. Let’s not forget he was asking for help and apparently distressed at not being adequately heterosexual. While most homosexuality is no doubt genetic or congenital plenty of homosexual people have fathered children (and that’s without considering lesbianism) and can legally aspire to. Assuming they are not under deep cover with the female partner it is hardly beyond the bounds of possibility that a boost in testosterone might get them over the hump (so to speak).

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