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Critique Essay History Humanities Law/Legal Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences

Commentary: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Medical Students and Their Ethical Conflicts

By Timothy F. Murphy , 2001

There are some studies of the ethical conflicts medical students face generally, but there are no studies that describe the ethical conflicts lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students face by reason of their sexual and/or gender identities. Given the demonstrated presence of hostility toward homosexuality and transgenderism in medical schools, it cannot be assumed that conflicts about sexual and/or gender identities leave no impact on the personal moral development of future physicians or their views of the integrity of the profession as a whole. There is considerable need for study of the effects of homophobia and unsupportive educational environments on the values and ethical commitments of LGBT medical students. This study is important in its own right and not merely in terms of the improvement of patient care, which has usually been the justification for attention to sexual identity in medical school curricula.

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