HKUMed News (Vol 27 | Issue 1)

with more concerted efforts on MEHU’s part. ‘If the student is part of the LGBT community, they may be reluctant to reach out to these individuals and organisations as part of their curriculum studies, as they may wish to protect their personal privacy. Conversely, if students are heterosexual, they may fear being perceived as someone questioning their sexual identity if they are interested in exploring the medical needs of the LGBT community. It will take time to erode these barriers,’ Dr Ray noted. Ms Flora Chu, a registered social worker of HKUMed’s Student Wellness Team, shares the caution. ‘We should forward step by step, starting with activities to build inclusiveness about identity, physical barrierfree support etc., rather than pushing forward a series of activities specifically for LGBT. Identity is a broad concept that is not just about gender, it’s about how we see ourselves, thus covering an array of issues.’ ‘Like gender identity or sexual orientation, culture and ethnicity are also relevant to inclusiveness because these are all about the differences between people, how we recognise and deal with these differences. We should focus on how to promote better understanding of each other in such diversity,’ Dr Wong added. Dr Chen said MEHU is also inviting more diverse and in-depth input into familiarising students with the concept of gender inclusiveness. ‘Dr Zephyrus Tsang, a gay male transgender doctor, has been very enthusiastic in liaising with us, to join our programme in sharing his personal journey. I think the message and wisdom coming from a medical practitioner to medical students would be particularly powerful. Their advice may resonate with those having issues of gender identity, making them feel less alone. And this would be an invaluable educational opportunity to recognise and confront some of their internal struggles. ‘But of course we also need to be respectful about students’ own limits and level of comfort, and we certainly don’t want to force people to divulge things they’re not ready to. But I think at the very least MEHU’s curriculum can offer an opportunity to expose medical students to people willing to share experiences and insights, and they will know where to go should they wish to pursue further understanding through discourse,’ Dr Chen remarked. She also pointed out HKUMed’s gender-inclusive initiatives could also extend into other areas of the MBBS curriculum, such as problembased learning tutorials that can be adapted to encourage discussion of gender identity issues. From communication practice to infrastructure building to curriculum modification, Dr Shih reiterated the need for gradual process and patience. ‘We discern the medical profession put significant emphasis in the preservation of traditions, and we are approaching the issue with keen consideration of how conservative opinions remain dominant in society. We will, with sensitivity and decorum, persist in promoting these initiatives in inclusiveness throughout the Faculty. ‘HKUMed regards gender inclusivity as work in progress, and we are not moving to transform social norms and morals in radical and rash manner,’ Dr Shih concluded. 1 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) defines sexual and gender minorities as ‘people whose biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and/or gender expression depart from majority norms. The concept of sexual and gender minorities includes considerable diversity as well as a multiplicity of identities and behaviours, including lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT); intersex people (people whose bodies do not have typically male or female sex characteristics due to variations in chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones and/or genitals); gender nonconforming people who may not see themselves as transgender; and people involved in same-sex relations who may not see themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, possibly preferring another word to self identify (such as polyamorous, queer or two-spirited) or possibly preferring no label at all.’ UNDP: Sexual and Gender Minorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (2018), p. 10. 2 ←Dr Ruth Wong, Clinical Psychologist at HKUMed’s Student Wellness Team 醫學院學生心理健康 部臨床心理學家 王心言博士 →Students participated in group discussion during a Medical Ethics and Humanities lecture. 學生於倫理及人文學 課堂進行分組討論。 31 HKUMed News Summer 2022