Soh Xi Ken, a trainee pharmacist and honorary secretary of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) LGBT+ Network, has received a Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Equality Award for his work to support LGBT+ pharmacists.
Soh was presented with the award by first minister Humza Yousaf, during a ceremony at the union’s annual congress, which was held in Dundee on 17 April 2023.
In a press release published on 29 April 2023, the PDA said that, as a founding member of the PDA LGBT+ Network, which launched in April 2020, Soh, along with other founding members, felt there was a “lack of LGBT+-specific guidance given to pharmacy students and that their unique and specific health needs were not being addressed as part of the pharmacy education that they received”.
The press release added that Soh has been working with the General Pharmaceutical Council, Pharmacy Schools Council and individual universities to raise awareness of the need for inclusive education.
He has also worked to help pharmacy schools embed LGBT+ inclusion within their teaching and learning.
Speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal, Soh said: “It is difficult to know what all schools of pharmacy have done, but near and dear to my heart: the University of Sunderland pushed for change, adding a lecture on transgender healthcare; including LGBTQ+ patients in exam questions unrelated to their queerness, and generally considering lecture material as inclusive as possible within quite a short amount of time.
“Other universities have made similar changes, such as Keele University and the University of Manchester. One of the things I’ve reflected on is that the desire for change was already in place but needed a push and spark from a different perspective. I am grateful that people are putting in the work to ensure pharmacy education is as inclusive as possible.”
Roz Foyer, general secretary of the STUC, said: “[Soh Xi Ken] thoroughly deserves his recognition as the recipient of the Equality Award for 2023.
“He is a driven and dedicated proponent of equality and has been a key component in the campaign to ask the UK Pharmacy Schools Council to include and be more inclusive of LGBT+ health issues in the curriculum.”
- This article was updated on 9 May 2023 to clarify that Soh Xi Ken is a trainee pharmacist in the headline