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A Pennsylvania Dental School Fights the Cultural Cavity of Transphobia

There’s an anti-Lesbian bias.

An anti-Gay one, too.

Bisexual?

Bingo.

Transgender?

Totally.

Even Questioning catches flak.

Attitudes of intolerance abound.

I’m speaking, of course, about the whacked-out world of dental school.

Per a press release by the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, the joint’s in need of “identifying LGBTQ+ based biases in the dental profession and ways to dispel them.”

Hence, the school’s established the “LGBTQ+ Fund” — launched courtesy of a $50,000 “leadership gift.”

The goal: “eventually endowing the fund to support research and programs in perpetuity.”

Penn Dental Medicine Morton Amsterdam Dean Dr. Mark S. Wolff hailed the program because it’s right in the bullseye of what the oral institution’s about:

“A central tenet of Penn Dental Medicine’s mission statement is a commitment to fostering a humanistic environment where all individuals and their integrity are valued, respected, and empowered. As an academic community, understanding the root of homophobia, transphobia, and bias related to actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity requires intentional study.”

So they’ll get to the root of cisgender bias…as they learn to get to the root of your molar.

Hopefully, one doesn’t distract from the other.

More, from the release:

A top priority of the Fund will be to explore research and programming that can lead to best-practice models and suggest policy recommendations that can have profession-wide impact through scholarly publications. It is anticipated that the types of activities may include such efforts as internal climate surveys of the Penn Dental Medicine community; data collection, analysis, and dissemination of results of attitudinal surveys about comfort levels and concerns; development of enduring resources to support current and future students; research opportunities to work collaboratively with other offices at the University to explore LGBTQ+ issues more broadly; training programs exploring sexual orientation and gender identity bias and offering guidance for managing difficult conversations; invited speakers and conferences/symposia focusing on topics related to the LGBTQ+ community; and providing resources for education and advocacy so all Penn Dental Medicine community members, regardless of actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation, are supported to live authentically.

It’s not Penn Dental’s first foray into fighting for the future.

As indicated by Dental.Upenn.Edu, October 2019 marked the school’s annual Pride Celebration.

In 2020, the event went virtual.

According to Penn, the canine college boasts “an active LGBT+ student organization” — Penn Dental Pride Alliance.

Social justice: It ain’t just for podiatrists anymore.

Some may have once believed dental school was about messin’ around in someone’s mouth.

It seems they’re still right.

As for cavities…I’ll leave that to all of you in the Comments section.

Meanwhile, score another one for inclusion: Dentistry will soon be a welcome world.

Now open up and say “Aaaavi.”

And “ae.”

And “xe.”

And “zir.”

And…well, here’s a list:

Pack your bags, sleep dentistry — this toothy town’s gettin’ woke.

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