I had worked as a medical practitioner in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for 18 years. In my private practice in the later years I encountered more women with sexual problems, issues of gender expression and identity, as well as sexual and reproductive issues related to gender variance and/or sexual orientation. I feel very compassionate to these women as well as their partners. Yet we physicians were hardly taught about sexuality and gender issues in the medical school and, after all, that was a long time ago and our society has changed tremendously over these issues in the past two decades. I felt I needed to update with the latest knowledge as well as research on issues of sexuality and gender variance in order to have a better understanding of the problem and solutions related to my patients’ issues so that I could help them with the utmost professionalism.
Sexual attitude reassessment (SAR)
I attended the symposium on SAR at the University of Michigan, USA on 27-29th March 2015, which was interesting, intense and important. It explores a wide range of issues of how sexuality and gender are discovered, expressed, desired, developed and identified in individuals and how they are powerfully shaped by social, cultural and interpersonal contexts. Sexuality including sexual desire, attraction, orientation and physiological capacity for fluidity both at a certain time in life and over time have been discussed in the most open manner. Throughout this symposium on SAR, I realize that although I have an open attitude to individuals with different forms of gender expression and identity without judgement, I have developed an even more profound capacity for compassion and empathy for these individuals particularly when we watched videos of how gender were expressed since childhood and how it imposed difficulties and suffering to the children, adolescents and the parents because of the stigmatised attitude of our current society.
The increasing importance of LBGT issues (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) has recently been highlighted on the agenda of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2015. Hong Kong is still a very conservative society, although our awareness of LGBTQ issues is increasing. The stigma and the suffering born by children and adults who have non-traditional sexual expression, behaviour and gender variance should be examined critically by responsible members of the society and should be alleviated. It is my goal that, as a professional with a special interest in sexual health, not only the mental, physical, psychological, emotional, affectional and sexual health of these normal variant individuals would from now on improved through ethical education, counselling and therapy, but the issues of social justice and social responsibility are addressed so that our society can progress healthily with updated knowledge and understanding of sexuality and gender issues. That is the ultimate point of civilisation.
Written and submitted by Christine Choy MBChB, MRCOG, FRCOG