Visible and valued: Stanford Medicine’s first LGBTQ+ Forum

LGBTQ forum
Participants celebrate at Stanford Medicine’s first LGBTQ+ Forum. (Photo by Valerie Berland)

A “chosen family” is how some of the speakers described their colleagues here during the first Stanford Medicine LGBTQ+ Forum. Too often those letters — which stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning — describe individuals whose sexual orientation or gender identity is kept hidden because it can be so personally and professionally risky to be “out.” But on Oct. 10, the visibility-themed event was an unmistakable declaration that LGBTQ+ individuals are a seen, treasured and essential part of the Stanford Medicine community.

In his opening remarks, LLOYD MINOR, dean of the School of Medicine, emphasized the organization’s dedication to being a supportive environment for its LBGTQ+ members and a leader in LGBTQ+ medical education, research and care.

The event was founded by MD-PhD student TIMOTHY KEYES who, in his remarks, described a visit to Stanford before he had decided to attend. He interviewed with the late neuroscientist BEN BARRES, who asked Keyes an unexpected question.

“He said, ‘Oh, Tim, by the way, are you gay?’ And I said, ‘Yes, of course,’ Keyes said. “He had noted something on my CV that was LGBTQ leadership-related. And he said, ‘Well … I just want to let you know this is a very supportive community here.’ … You could come here and be as out as you’d like to be and not have to worry about anything.”

About 350 people attended the event, which included LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies and colleagues from the Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health.

Read more on the Stanford Medicine blog SCOPE.