Dr. Abbas Jessani speaks at International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia event

pride flag On May 17, commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with McGill University, hosted a series of presentations and discussions about the implications of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation within the practice of dentistry. 

Dr. Abbas Jessani, Assistant Professor, Dentistry, was invited to speak at the event, which hoped to facilitate an open discussion about the discrimination experienced by members of the dentistry community who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, intersex people and others with diverse gender identities or expressions.

Dr. Jessani shared his research expertise in the area of oral health care access within the LGBTQ2S+ community, as well as experiences of stigma and discrimination within care environments, and how to provide more equitable and informed care to patients.

“As a leader in the Dental Outreach Community Service program, my focus is to familiarize students with the challenges that are faced by marginalized populations including the LGTBQ2S+ community,” he said.

Plans are underway to host a similar event at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry next year, with the aim of engaging more students and faculty members at the School and furthering the conversation.

“There are still subconscious biases, and we still assume a very dichotomized view of gender. The whole idea of these types of conversations is to raise awareness about these issues among dentists and future dental health care providers, teach them how to provide informed care that sees patients as people and discuss how this learning can become embedded in our curriculum,” said Dr. Jessani.