Make Time for IX

Title IX Resource Packet

Intersex Progressive Pride Flag

Make Time for IX

The PrideVMC Title IX Resource Packet

On June 17th, in reflection of the 2020 Bostock v Clayton County Supreme Court ruling (protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from workplace discrimination), the Department of Education extended Title IX to protect the LGBTQ+ community. We are reaching out to provide information to support administrators, educators, and of course our interns/residents and graduate students who also shape the educational experience of veterinary students regarding Title IX and the LGBTQ+ community. We appreciate that all of you are quite busy, so thank you for a moment of your time. We invite you to review the enclosed reference materials and join us in the commitment to ensuring these extended protections are implemented for your students, residents, interns, and graduate students.

Title IX states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This is a time of year when incoming first year veterinary and graduate students are starting their journey while the rest of the preclinical veterinary student body return from summer externships and research projects. Additionally, interns, specialty interns, residents, and fellows will have started their training a short time ago. It is a time of orientations, onboarding, and annual training; expectations are discussed with students and tones are set for new house officers.

Why is making time for Title IX important?

The expansion of this ruling means that any individual in training or in the profession at a federally funded institution who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community is now protected under Title IX. The ‘Make Time for IX’ campaign is designed to support institutions with their implementation of the application of Title IX to the LGBTQ+ community.

Who is this going to impact? Reliable census data for the LGBTQ+ population in veterinary medicine is sparse, in part due to the design of prior surveys. In the AAVMC 2019-2020 Annual Report, there were 13,323 veterinary students of which approximately 8-10% identified as bisexual, listed sexual orientation as not answered, preferred not to answer regarding gender or did not list a gender (no data was reported for gay and lesbian individuals, non-binary, or gender non-conforming identities*). If this information is then applied, the general LGBTQ+ population in the veterinary student body would be in the range of 1,065 – 1,323 vet students. In 2020, a national survey of the LGBTQ+ population suggested makeup by generation was 9.1% for millennials, (n=1212) and 1 in 6 individuals for Gen Z (n=2220 with this data**).

*https://www.aavmc.org/assets/Site_18/files/Data/2019%20AAVMC%20Annual%20Data%20Report%20(ID%20100175).pdf

**https://news.gallup.com/poll/329708/lgbt-identification-rises-latest-estimate.aspx

In addition to students, our interns and residents are also protected, due to a 2017 ruling stating that Title IX applies to medical residencies in federally funded institutions (Doe v. Mercy Catholic Medical Center). Using data from the past three years of match statistics from VIRMP, one can extrapolate numbers of LGBTQ+ individuals that may be affected by this ruling. From 2019-2021 there were a total of 2,017 interns and residents (2019: 671, 2020: 672, 2021: 674). Utilizing a range of 9.1%-12.5% (up to 1 in 6), there are an estimated 184 to 254 individuals.

As safety and protections are increased, and barriers are decreased, more individuals are choosing to be open with their LGBTQ+ identity, emphasizing the importance of the extension of Title IX protections. The failure of proper Title IX protection implementation can impact a significant part of our community.

This link is a video explaining what Title IX would mean for the LGBTQ+ community: https://www.chronicle.com/article/ask-me-what-lgbtq-students-want-their-professors-to-know/

Check over or start your implementation process!

Please take the time to review Title IX information and reference material in this packet (keep scrolling!), participate in Title IX training, and educate yourself more about the LGBTQ+ community if you have not already done so. Within the reference materials we have included a simple checklist to support your organization in this process. In light of recent events at veterinary schools in this country, this effort is of paramount importance, and we hope you will join us in these efforts.

We invite you to join us for the virtual event Gender Identity in Veterinary Medicine on September 14, 2021.

If you would like to contribute to PrideVMC’s gender diversity inclusion efforts please see the help tips in the package of materials. Thank you for continuing to train the next generation of veterinary medical professionals and researchers and for ‘making time for IX’!

Regards,

Authors: PrideVMC Gender Identity SubGroup members Ewan Wolff, PhD, DVM, DACVIM, Erika Hendel, VMD, PhD, and Jenna Ward, DVM

Pride VMC DEI Working Group, 2021
Ewan Wolff, PhD, DVM, DACVIM, Erika Hendel, VMD, PhD, and Jenna Ward, DVM
Mia Cary, DVM, Beckie Mosser, RVT, Bonnie Price, DVM, MPH, Diana Gibbs, DVM, Ignacio Correas, DVM Jennifer Neal, DVM, Kara Burns, MS, M.Ed, LVT, Paul Miranda, Russ Drury, DVM, Shannon Brownrigg, RVT, Shawn McMahon, CVT

Reference Material Table of Contents

  1. Bostock Vs. Clayton County Overview
  2. Title IX Information
  3. Secretary of Education Statement extending Title IX protections to LGBTQ+ community
  4. Pride VMC’s Gender Identity Bill of Rights for the Veterinary Profession
  5. Nine ways to create for LGBTQ+ Inclusive/Safe Spaces
  6. Administrator Checklist for implementation Title IX extension
  7. Situational Scenarios from BVLGBT+

1. Bostock v Clayton County Closing Statement by Neil Gorsuch

“An employer who fired an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids. Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.”

Complete information on Bostock v Clayton County can be found at:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/17-1618

2. Title IX Text

Sec. 1681. Sex
“(a) Prohibition against discrimination; exceptions

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,”

(b) Preferential or disparate treatment because of imbalance in participation or receipt of Federal benefits; statistical evidence of imbalance

Nothing contained in subsection (a) of this section shall be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the members of one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in or receiving the benefits of any federally supported program or activity, in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of that sex in any community, State, section, or other area: *Provided*, That this subsection shall not be construed to prevent the consideration in any hearing or proceeding under this chapter of statistical evidence tending to show that such an imbalance exists with respect to the participation in, or receipt of the benefits of, any such program or activity by the members of one sex.

Complete information on Title IX can be found at:
https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html

3. Secretary of Education Statement extending Title IX to LGBTQ+ community

The Department’s Enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 with Respect to Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Light of Bostock v. Clayton County AGENCY: Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of interpretation.

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) issues this interpretation to clarify the Department’s enforcement authority over discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on gender identity under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. This interpretation will guide the Department in processing complaints and conducting investigations, but it does not itself determine the outcome in any particular case or set of facts.

The full statement can be found here:
https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-confirms-title-ix-protects-students-discrimination-based-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity

4. The Gender Identity Bill of Rights for the Veterinary Profession

We, PrideVMC and the undersigned, present this Gender Identity Bill of Rights as a minimum foundation to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices against transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals in the veterinary profession including educational and employment environments; and strive to implement the protection of LGTBQ+ civil rights as upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States of America (Bostock v. Clayton County, 2020)* in alignment with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and international standards on human rights. We adopt this statement of how the veterinary profession should conduct itself in regard to gender diversity.

The previously mentioned identities are terms used to encapsulate a spectrum of identities that are flexible with ever-changing language to be more inclusive, and are valid in the presence or absence of medical and/or surgical gender affirmation process.

No statement can anticipate every circumstance; therefore, as a guiding principle all of the rights below exist within a broader context of treating every human being with decency and respect.
*This is the pertinent ruling at the time of writing and can be modified for other regions/countries.

Acknowledgement:
At the time of writing, this document was created with the hope of being as inclusive as possible. However the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community is not monolithic, and there is a high likelihood that there are needs that are not addressed within this document.

The authors intend the following to be moral and ethical guidance for the profession and additional insight may be added over time.

Statement on INTERSECTIONALITY:
Discrimination due to race, ethnicity, indigeneity, sex, sexual orientation, disability, neurodiversity, socioeconomic status, creed, religion, and other marginalized identities all impact individuals in the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community as well. These lenses of identity impact and inform an individual’s experience in gender expression, identity, and affirmation. These additional community needs, and impacts may not be addressed in this document, and are essential considerations to an individual’s unique needs for support and empowerment in the veterinary profession.

With these considerations in mind, the authors, reviewers, and signers of this document agree that the following rights should be implemented within the profession:

Right to IDENTITY
Gender identity is personal and individual. No one other than the individual should dictate the terms of gender identity, expression, or processes involved in gender affirmation. Additionally, there should be equal opportunities in education/training (in accordance with Title IX) and employment within the profession regardless of gender identity.

Right to NAMES
Addressing an individual by their name demonstrates respect and acknowledges you trust that they know themselves better than you do. Intentional ‘dead naming,’ whether as a continued deliberate campaign or wantonly neglectful use of a person’s birth or current legal name rather than chosen name, is an act of violence* against transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals and should not be tolerated. Accidental dead-naming can perpetuate harm against individuals.

*The WHO World Report on Violence and Health formally defines violence in part as the intentional use of power that results in psychological harm. Informally the typology of violence can include psychological attack in the workplace and other institutions.

Right to PRONOUNS
Pronouns can be fluid and subject to continual change by the individual. Correct use of pronouns is a right; therefore the introduction of pronouns in conversation, pronouns on name badges, and pronoun tags on emails that can be readily altered should be standard practice to create inclusive spaces in the veterinary profession.

Right to PRIVACY
Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals have a right to privacy and should not be mandated to expose private medical information or any details regarding their lives, bodies, gender expression, and/or identity. Employers and colleagues should not discuss any medical information or details regarding these individuals with other employees, clients, etc.

Freedom of GENDER EXPRESSION
Gender expression is an individual freedom that may not match perceived societal gender norms. Thus, gender expression is not mandated by gender identity or transition. Any act within the veterinary profession, by an administrator, within an institution or organization, or by an employer or coworkers that restricts this right should be viewed as unacceptable.

Freedom from GENDER AFFIRMATION TIMELINES
The veterinary profession should accept and support the right of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals to pursue or not pursue gender affirming medical and/or surgical treatment on their own timeline without interference from an employer, administrator, company, section head, or individual other than the transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming individual. Transition can look different for everyone, and the outward perception of such is not a starting or stopping point for resources and access to safe spaces.

Right to ADVOCACY
When needed at an institution/workplace, there should be documented efforts to find support through a third party (e. g. insurance gender affirmation services, local pride center services, national/international gender diverse organization resources, independent contractor, etc.) or when logistically feasible a trained diversity and inclusion advocate. These advocates should be knowledgeable about issues and challenges that transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming employees may encounter. Human resources should be aware of transgender health insurance, care access, and civil rights issues should they be called upon to discuss them.

Right to SAFETY
Transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals should be able to have personal safety within work, teaching, and learning environments. Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals should be able to use restrooms and changing rooms that correspond to their identity at their chosen pace. Additionally, gender neutral restrooms should be available when logistically feasible for those who wish to use them. Signage should be altered to be non-discriminatory on gender neutral restrooms (e.g. triangle sign).

Freedom from EXPLANATION
The work involved in transgender diversity, equity, and inclusion education (including implicit bias and microaggressions) and training of staff should be the responsibility of the veterinary profession, employers, and institutions rather than the individual. Training should be informed by transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming voices and expertise.

Protection from COWORKER DISCRIMINATION/HARASSMENT
It should be the responsibility of the veterinary profession and the employer/institution to commit to identify and reduce learning space/workplace/workspace harassment and discrimination of any type.

Protection from CLIENT DISCRIMINATION/HARASSMENT
It should be the responsibility of the veterinary profession and the employer/institution, when feasible and allowable, to shield the transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming individual from prejudice and harassment by clients in a similar manner to the way in which other marginalized individuals are protected.

Right to CORRECT INFORMATION
It should be the responsibility of the veterinary profession and the employer/institution to alter signage, marketing, websites, contacts, and all other relevant documents and materials with expediency to reflect an individual’s identity at the point at which the individual dictates it. Any announcement concerning names, pronouns, or any other personal details should be informed and led by the individual’s preferences.

Authors – PrideVMC DEI WG Members:
Erika Lin-Hendel, VMD, PhD
Ewan Wolff, PhD, DVM, DACVIM
Jenna Ward, DVM

Reviewers/Contributors:
Anonymous non-binary veterinarian
Buffy Jamison, MA Ed
Ezra Krivolay
Finley Wolff
Juan Echazaretta
Kate Toyer, BVSc, MANZCVS (Surgery)
Kristin Olsen, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
Lynn Maki, MA Ed, Associate Dean
Paul Miranda
Pride VMC, DEI Working Group
Rachel E. Dufour
Ryanne Heiny, CVT
Victoria Durham

Legal Review:
Anthony Michael Kreis, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Law
Emily Torstveit-Ngara, JD, LL. M., Assistant Clinical Professor of Law

Full text online: (https://pridevmc.org/gender-identity-bill-of-rights/).

5. Nine (IX) ways to create LGBTQ+ Inclusive/Safe Spaces

1. Take the time to educate yourself on implicit bias and microaggressions. Everyone has these, and in order to be a safe space, it’s important to understand what yours may be. Many campuses have safe space training. You can also consider the Brave Space Certificate Program (free to AVMA and PrideVMC members) and the Purdue University Advancing Inclusion Through Human-Centered Veterinary Medicine course.

2. Read the Gender Identity Bill of Rights and try to apply the concepts there to your daily teaching and practice (attached in this packet). https://pridevmc.org/gender-identity-bill-of-rights

3. Read the text of Title IX and familiarize yourself with the history so that you understand how this may apply to your students/trainees. Ensure training and discussion of this new development is occurring for all teachers and people in positions of authority in your community.

4. Consider adding pronouns to your name badge, name block on emails, or purchase a pronoun clip for your stethoscope. This simple step is a good way of letting the gender diverse community know that you have an interest in validating their identity.

5. Consider following Pride VMC’s Facebook and Instagram pages (@pridevmc) for updates on events and ongoing articles to continue to educate yourself on inclusion and making a safe space.

6. Display a rainbow flag sticker or progressive pride flag on your office door, desk, etc- but only if you are truly committed to educating yourself about the issues concerning LGBTQ+ students/trainees today. If you purchase merchandise, try to support LGBTQ+ artists/organizations/LGBTQ+ owned businesses.

7. If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, do not assume that this means that you understand the issues; please also take the time to educate yourself. Learn about harmful language that is experienced by LGBTQ+ community, why it is not acceptable, and how to remove it from your language if you currently use harmful language.

8. Practice speaking up and speaking out when witnessing examples of homophobia and transphobia. Like being an anti-racist, it is not enough to recognize that homophobia/transphobia exists, you should also be an anti-homophobe/anti-transphobe in order to be an ally.

9. Ensure that your institution has an anonymous method in place for concerns and reporting of Title IX violations, as well as a clear process on how to investigate, resolve, and systems of accountability for incidents of violations. Do this by asking questions and asking to read the policies that exist.

6. Administrator Checklist for successful implementation of Title IX extension

□ Quarterly reviews of Title IX compliance for the first year with internal white paper, followed by bi-annual reviews for two years, followed by annual review with a proven effective self-evaluation system in place.

□ University and veterinary institution ombudsperson training to incorporate Title IX awareness.

□ Ensure methods of reporting and data collection are in place to track progress

□ Have clear written processes and accountability in place for violations. These processes should be publicly available and accessible to the University environment.

□ Utilize case scenarios in collaboration with clinical communications teams and school social workers/psychologists to go through active scenarios with students in real time (not acted out, but discussed)

□ Ensure training and discussion of this new development is occurring for residents, interns, all clinical professors, lecturers, administrators, and all other individuals in positions of authority for students.

□ Take the time to look at the Department of Education Resource page for LGBTQ+ students: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/lgbt.html

□ Support your local/regional LGBTQ+ organizations

□ Be a sponsor for LGBTQ+ events

7. Title IX Situational Scenarios
“Challenging Situations” with permission from the authors

Dr. Charlotte S. McCarroll BVMS (Hons) MSc (VetSci) PhD MRCVS
Teaching Fellow in Veterinary Sciences and Education
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey

Dr. Mathew Hennessey, BVSc
Researcher PHD Student at Royal Veterinary College, U. of London

Tobias Hunter
Veterinary Surgeon Candidate
University of Liverpool

Scenario 1

A new vet student, Steph, has just started seeing practice. Steph is a final year student, has a strong level of EMS experience for her career stage and is proving to be a strong asset to the practice team. She transitioned about 2 years ago but has decided not to inform the practice team as she considers her past to be her past and not the business of her new colleagues. She is a competent student and carries out many consultations under direction of the branch clinical director, Iain, but not always with direct supervision within the room. Iain has an established rapport with the client who has been coming to the practice regularly for several years so Iain usually consults with the client. However, Steph had a pre-op consultation with the client to talk through a planned neutering surgery and discuss the risks, possible complications and planned post-op care.

The surgery went very well, and the patient has been recovering smoothly and according to plan. Steph is seeing another interesting case so Iain steps back in to conduct the next post-op check consultation. During the consult, the client rather pointedly asks Iain whether the student “used to be a man”.

Questions

1. How could Iain handle this client’s question? Should he even answer the question?

2. Would the situation be different if Steph were in the room?

3. Would you inform Steph of the client’s question? If so, how?

Iain answers the client saying, “I don’t know for sure, but yeah, could be” and they share a joke about identity politics and then Iain concludes with “ultimately does it really matter? All is healing well!” and continues the consultation.

4. Was Iain’s response justified? Why/why not?

5. Steph has no idea, is this ok?

The following week, Iain asks Steph to follow up with the client so has reception arrange an appointment. The client declines and says he would rather see Iain again. The receptionist asks for the reason, but the client says little more than he’s more comfortable seeing Iain. This is passed on to Steph who is puzzled as the original pre-op consultation went well and the patient is doing well and making a full recovery. She asks Iain if there was anything that came up in the post-op check that could explain the client’s attitude.

6. Should Iain open up and be honest here?

7. How do you think Steph would feel if Iain is/is not honest?

Iain decides to be honest and explains the conversation he had with the client. Steph is very upset with Iain for discussing/speculating about her with a client in a matter that is none of his concern. He counters that he did say that it shouldn’t matter to the client. Steph, visibly very upset, decides to leave the conversation there. Iain then gets a letter from Steph’s university.

8. Would the situation have been different if Steph were open about her trans status?

9. Would the situation have been different if the case hadn’t gone smoothly?

10. If you are the regional director for this group of practices, how could you handle this situation?

11. How would you have handled the situation if you were in Iain’s position?

Scenario 2

Jo is a fourth-year vet student seeing large animal practice with new vet Louise. Jo has shared with the practice team that they are non-binary and use they/them pronouns. Jo is a competent student who tries hard and asks thoughtful questions. While out on a routine call with Louise, a client misgenders Jo (uses incorrect pronouns) which Jo has gently corrected as the client wasn’t to know. However, the client responds angrily toward Jo stating that they are sick of this new-fangled identity politics nonsense and that the student is quite clearly a girl and to “just get over herself”.

Questions

1. How could Louise handle this situation?

2. Would the situation be different if Jo hadn’t corrected the client?

3. How could Louise handle the situation if Jo hadn’t corrected the client?

Louise steps in and responds to the client saying that Jo is part of the veterinary team and that she expects clients to treat all team members with the same level of respect which includes using the appropriate pronouns. Perhaps an apology is merited and then the visit can continue. The client doubles down and refuses so Louise decides that she and Jo should leave.

4. Is Louise’s response appropriate?

5. How would you handle the situation?

6. How would Jo feel in this situation?

7. Would the situation be different if Jo were not a competent student?

When Jo and Louise get back to the practice, Louise is met by the practice manager and asked for a private word. The manager informs Louise that she just came off the phone with the client she had “walked out on” and to explain herself. Louise explains the situation fully. The practice manager is very angry with Louise as she apparently just lost the practice a high-paying client and that as a new vet she has no right to make that kind of practice-wide decision.

8. Did the practice manager handle this situation appropriately?

9. How would you handle the situation?

10. What might Louise be thinking/feeling in this situation?

Worried about her actions and the repercussions for her job, Louise approaches one of the partners who is also her “practice mentor”. She describes what happened on the farm and the conversation with the practice manager.

11. As a mentor to Louise in this situation, and practice partner, what is your approach?

12. Was Louise right to walk out?

The partner backs Louise up and reiterates to the practice manager in a private conversation that the practice zero tolerance policy and good workplace guide includes students seeing practice and that a supported staff makes more money for the practice than any one client. He phones the client to get his account and supports Louise’s position about respecting all team members.

The client can continue to enjoy a high standard of veterinary care if he apologizes to Jo and Louise or inform the practice where to send his records. The partner asks Louise if she could give him a ring next time before making a decision though.

Scenario 3

James is a mature vet student who originally worked as a nurse at a large multi-vet practice and has now been visiting as a vet student on EMS. He and his long-term partner Jason were married 18 months ago. Many of the practice team attended the wedding and had a great time. James and Jason are now planning to start a family and have begun adoption proceedings. The university James attends has been very accommodating with time off for James’ social worker appointments and parenting classes. James has just been told that he and Jason have been matched with a baby girl and will therefore be taking adoption leave within the next month so will be pausing his studies but will still visit. The happy news is announced at the next practice all-staff meeting.

After the meeting head nurse Katie, a close friend of James and Jason, and receptionist Joan are chatting in reception during a lull in evening consults. Joan mentions to Katie that while she’s happy for James and believes that everyone should be free to love who they love, his “lifestyle choices” go against her values. Katie is surprised and asks Joan to elaborate. Joan says that her Christian upbringing and knowledge of the Bible (admittedly not academic level) tells her that marriage is a sacred union between a man and woman and that James’ marriage doesn’t sit well with her. She adds that she understands it’s not a “modern view” and could keep quiet for the sake of working together. But now, when a child is involved, she cannot keep her silence any longer. She states quite loudly and potentially within earshot of James in the consult room that children need a mother and father, not two fathers.

Questions

1. What could Katie do in this situation?

2. If James overheard, how might he feel?

3. When is the right time to raise an issue with management?

Katie, worried about potentially offending Joan’s religious beliefs, just says she thinks James will be a lovely father and tries to change the subject. She later asks James if he overheard anything while he was in the consulting room. He says that he did not.

4. What could/should Katie do now?

5. Did James overhear and is just saying he didn’t? Could that change Katie’s approach?

6. If Katie told James what Joan had said, what impact might that have?

Katie decides as head nurse and having some line management responsibility to bring up Joan’s comments with the senior vet. She describes the conversation and explains her worries about treading a fine line between James’ protected characteristics of sexual orientation and marriage, and Joan’s protected characteristic of religious belief.

7. As the senior vet, what are your responsibilities here and to whom would they apply?

8. How might you handle the situation?

9. What conversations might you have with James and/or Joan?

10. Has Katie overstepped her bounds?

Scenario 4

Rachel is a branch partner in a two-vet practice. Both she and the other vet, David, have pretty solid afternoons of consulting. The practice gets a call that there’s a dog with what the client describes as “constant vomiting”. The receptionist, following a triage protocol, books the appointment in with David as he has a couple of boosters that he could potentially shorten and squeeze in an “emergency”. David also has Jenny, a third-year vet student in with him this afternoon.

The client arrives with a not-as-ill-as-led-to-believe dog although clearly not entirely bounding with energy. David calls in one of his waiting boosters in his usual friendly and chatty manner. Rachel enters the waiting room to call her next consult through where she overhears the client say, “Yeah, he’s such a poofter when it comes to his stomach” while chuckling.

Questions

1. Is the client’s comment appropriate?

2. How should Rachel handle this?

3. Should Rachel handle the situation differently if David is gay/bi/straight?

4. Does the presence of a student change the situation?

David appears to have noticed the “extra” slotted into his diary and has noticeably sped up to try and reduce impact later in the diary, but he never loses his friendly nature. The “extra” client audibly sighs and frowns in David’s direction, but David either hasn’t noticed or has chosen to ignore it. The client then announces quite loudly, “speaking of poofters!” and laughs.

5. Is the client’s comment appropriate?

6. How should Rachel handle this?

7. Should Rachel handle the situation differently if David is gay/bi/straight?

8. Does the presence of a student change the situation?

9. What would you do if you were Jenny?

Rachel decides to pop her head through David’s staff door away from the waiting room and tells him that she’ll take his extra. David responds by saying, “No, I heard what he said, I can handle him.”

10. What should Rachel do in this situation?

11. Would it be different if the dog were more clearly ill?

David calls in the client, again with the same warm welcome as the previous clients. The client is less jovial and gruffer away from others. David asks relevant history questions and examines the dog. It is clear that the dog has gastroenteritis and is not nearly as ill as had been implied on the phone.

David challenges the client by saying that he heard the term “poofter” being used and that it is not appropriate and politely not to use that term or other derogatory terms when visiting the practice or conversing with any of the team including students. The client responds by saying “it’s banter! He is a poofter! Now sort my dog out.” David calmly repeats that the term should not be used, but the client does not back down insisting that David is too sensitive.

12. What could David do next?

13. Is Jenny in any position to say or do anything?

David asks the client to kindly leave. David will happily treat the dog if the client behaves in an appropriate manner. The client storms out into the waiting room and makes his opinion known. Rachel overhears and decides that she doesn’t want trouble in the waiting room so calls in the client and treats the dog. The client reiterates to Rachel that it’s “banter” and “that other vet shouldn’t be such a “fairy” if he can’t handle it”.

14. Is Rachel seeing the client appropriate here?

15. What impact might that have on David or Jenny?

16. Since Rachel has seen the client, what would now be an appropriate response?

David talks to Rachel at the end of the evening and says he is upset that Rachel saw the client. He feels that she undermined his position and should have backed him up. She responds saying that they have a duty to treat all sick animals and that the dog shouldn’t suffer for the homophobia of the owner. Besides, she offered to see the client instead of David, but he had declined.

17. How did Rachel handle this situation?

18. When do the needs of the patient outweigh your duty as an employer to protect staff?

19. How would you handle the situation?

Scenario 5

You are a student who has been given the last consult of the day, a booster, to test your solo skills. You look up the information on the system and find that it is a consult booked for Pepper the Cocker Spaniel under Michael Briggs. You open the door, peer out into the waiting room, and call “Mr. Briggs please.”

A person with long hair wearing a flowery sundress stands up and begins to walk towards you with a cocker spaniel pulling eagerly on the lead.

Questions

1. What are you currently thinking/feeling?

2. What will you do next?

3. Assuming the person is now standing before you in the consult room, how will you broach the subject of the name not matching your expectations of presentation?

This person confirms that the name on the account is their legal name but asks you to call her Jen and to use female pronouns.

4. How do you respond to this?

You finish the consult quickly as it is just a routine vaccine appointment. Jen leaves with her dog to pay at the front desk and you put the charges through on the system. Jen has left the consult room door open and you can hear the receptionist calling her Mr. Briggs. She corrects the receptionist but they continue to use Mr. and Sir and you can see Jen getting flustered.

5. What will you do in this situation?

6. If you choose not to intervene now, what can you do to prevent this situation in the future?

Scenario 6

You are an admissions tutor interviewing candidates for places at vet school. The day’s candidates have each been invited to spend the day having tours of the vet school’s facilities and meeting different staff before finishing with the interview face-to-face with you.

One of the candidates is Eric, a 6th-form student who grew up in London, fell in love with farm practice through their pre-vet experience, and is now applying to the vet school to ultimately become a farm vet. He has a good academic track record and decent references from his teachers and placements. You noticed whilst observing activities that he is quite clumsy and does not have great problem-solving skills. However, your team reported back that he is very friendly, has a great sense of humor, got on well with everyone, and they think he’ll be a great fit for the university.

The other candidate is a postgraduate down on their application as Kiara but sent an email in addition to the application explaining that they use the name Ross and go by they/them pronouns. You made sure your team was aware of this before Ross arrived for their interview. They have glowing references from their previous course lecturers and placements and managed to get their undergraduate research paper published. You observe Ross performing some tasks and are impressed by their problem-solving skills. Ross then leaves to visit the university farm that afternoon before returning to sit down for their panel interview with you.

Once Ross returns you notice they look quite upset and frustrated. You ask what happened and on their farm tour, when Ross introduced themselves with their name and pronouns, the farm manager asked what their real name was and told them that using they/them pronouns was grammatically incorrect. After Ross refused to tell them their ‘real name’, the tour guide said they would catch up with Ross shortly before the bus returned to the main campus.

You ask Ross if they want to finish the interview and they say that they don’t want to join a university where the staff won’t stick up for them in situations like that and so they’re no longer interested in this vet school.

Questions

1. How do you respond to this?

2. Do you think the guide did the right thing? Would you have done anything differently?

3. How could you prevent situations like this from happening in the future?

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About PrideVMC

The mission of the Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PrideVMC) is to create a better world for the LGBTQ+ veterinary community. We do so by striving to foster acceptance and inclusivity for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender presentations within the veterinary medical profession

and community. We fight discrimination, build collaborative networks, and support LGBTQ+ veterinary students through mentorship and scholarship programs. ​PrideVMC membership is open to the entire animal health and veterinary community regardless of role, race, color, religion, national origin or citizenship status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or military status. Allies are welcome! For more information please contact info@pridevmc.org.

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