Doctor who told medics to be less gay defends herself

British Doctor Una Coales suggested camp men speak in deeper voices and walk like a straight man if they wanted to pass

Doctor who told medics to be less gay defends herself
27 September 2012

A doctor who advised students to act less ‘overtly gay’ to pass a medical exam has now spoken out against the criticism.

Doctor Una Coales is currently under an investigation by the Royal College of General Practitioners, who said they take equality and diversity seriously.

She claimed gay male students should speak in deeper voices and walk ‘like a straight man’ if they wanted to pass the exam.

In a comment piece for British newspaper The Independent, Coales says: ‘I am blunt, as many doctors may be in denial about cultural (mis)perceptions.

‘I respect that some feel that to compromise one’s identity is wrong. I make no judgments.

‘My advice has helped hundreds of doctors pass their exams by reducing bias and placing them on an equal footing.’

Such advice also included suggesting overweight students should ‘project an image of Santa Claus’ by interlocking their hands and placing them on their stomach to appear ‘paternal’.

She also suggested foreign candidates, if working in Scotland or Wales, to ‘focus on emphasizing the lyrical Scottish or Welsh accent’ to stop racial bias.

Coales says when she was looking for a job in 1994, doctors had refused her a job when she knew little about English culture.

A surgeon suggested she remove her maiden name ‘Choi’ from her resume, and was then able to become employed.

‘I learned the phrase “be a grey man”, which means don’t cause waves, don’t stand out, don’t speak up, turn a blind eye, and keep your head low,’ she said.

‘The consequence of “talking about the fight club” – in other words, racism, discrimination or selective social engineering was career suicide.’

Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of the RCGP, said they rejected the advice given.

He said: ‘We take equality and diversity extremely seriously and through our examiner and role-player training and quality assurance programs aim to ensure that no candidate is discriminated against on any grounds.’

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