Imagine being told you were infertile and then the doctor quickly brushing it off because of your sexuality? Well this happened to the Great British Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins.
Earlier this month Perkins told Good Housekeeping magazine that she was diagnosed with a benign tumour in her pituitary gland eight years ago — she recently thanked fans via Twitter for their support.
Now, in an extract from her memoir, Spectacles, published in the Sunday Times, Perkins has revealed the homophobic comment a doctor made while explaining the effects of the tumour.
Perkins explained that she was a lesbian when asked by the doctor whether she had a husband or a boyfriend. She was told: “Oh, OK. Well, that makes it easier. You’re infertile. You can’t have kids.”
Perkins recalled how the exchange had a devastating effect on her.
“Does not a lesbian have a fallopian tube? Am I not human, and [am] I not somebody who could be a lovely, wonderful mother?” she wrote.
Later she added, “It really did hit me, as it hits a lot of people, I’m sure, when it’s too late, this is not going to happen… It’s not going to ever be part of my life. And, although I never yearned to physically have my own child, it felt like a bereavement. It really did.”
Twitter has reacted in outrage and disgust, with users tweeting their support for Perkins.
— Matt Broad (@ml_broad) September 21, 2015
— Tralalalalalalalalala Benson🧚♀️ (@tarabluesky) September 20, 2015
— Emma Middleton (@Claydon94) September 21, 2015
@itvnews This moron needs to be struck off Sue. I do hope you reported her to the GMC! Bless you darling,I am so very sad about this. xxxxxx
— Emma (@ccunurseuk) September 21, 2015
And, judging from the Twitter response, there are many people who feel that consultants may need more training.
@sueperkins thank u for being positive about prolactinomas. Fellow patient. I was told the same and had a miracle baby. Keep well & healthy
— claire (@clairealys) September 21, 2015
This way of thinking is unacceptable and we’re glad that Perkins was brave enough to share her story, because it’s crucial to raise awareness about just how damaging stereotypes can be.