Silences in the healthcare education and practice: Gender and sexuality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthcare professional practice brings with it a range of epistemological, social and embodied gender issues. ‘Gendered medicine’ is a term used to describe gender issues that impact on health service providers and people that utilise health services. Yet despite the potentially significant effect of these issues,
health professional training generally provides little information relating to gender (and even less to sexuality-related issues). The present paper explores this silence relating to gender and sexuality in the context of neo-liberal
health professional curricula. Qualitative feminist poststructural research was conducted to examine curricular phenomena relating to power/knowledge structures. 17 health professionals were interviewed and a sample of their responses in relation to gender and sexuality issues within their training are examined.
The responses indicate that most health professionals had not been exposed to any exploration of gender or sexuality issues. In fact, and within the context of a neo-liberal curriculum, part of the health professional identity may be formed around the denial of difference. This denial of difference (and the void it produces) is explored and suggestions are made for the inclusion of discourses that could deepen the framework available for discussion of gender and sexuality issues. It is suggested that a critically reflexive socially accountable
practice demands that the role of privilege in perpetuating inequities in health must be spoken about clearly and openly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-190
Number of pages10
JournalGay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

I would like to acknowledge the sovereignty of the First Nations people of Australia. I would also like to thank the people who participated in the research. My thanks also go to Damien Riggs for his support and encouragement in the writing of this paper


  • health professions education
  • Gender
  • sexuality
  • neo-liberalism
  • silence


Dive into the research topics of 'Silences in the healthcare education and practice: Gender and sexuality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this