BSDJ LGBTQ+ Special Issue Cover

Feature: The British Student Doctor Journal vol. 5 no. 2

We’re very pleased to announce the publication of a particularly significant special issue of The British Student Doctor Journal. We’ve invited the issue’s guest editor, Callum Phillips, to tell us more about it here.

It is a pleasure to be writing this post introducing the LGBTQ+ Special Issue of The British Student Doctor Journal.

This issue has been over a year in the making, born from a frustration with the invisibility and discrimination faced as a non-binary medical student. I hope it will become a symbol of rebellion and queer power. It began with a scribble in a notebook – to platform, to inspire, to educate. The authors who have contributed to the issue represent a wide spectrum of identities and display the strength that lies in diversity. Their work is resonant and impactful, and I hope that they are extremely proud. The issue covers topics such as what doctors need to know about transgender healthcare, the representation of women who have sex with women, queering curriculums, and facilitation of sexual or gender identity disclosure, amongst many others. There are honest and powerful reflections addressing our history, our present, and our future.  

We know the NHS fails its queer patients and medical professionals; that medical education insufficiently addresses queer populations; that our institutions reflect the prejudices of society. It is my hope that we have met the three founding principles from my notebook, and this issue pushes ourselves a little further along the long road of addressing these failings. Queerness should not be relegated to the shadows, it should not have barriers placed in front of it, it is to be celebrated and encouraged.

The bespoke front cover is from an amazing queer artist called JanCarlo Caling. In it, he depicts the huge influence of the LGBTQIA+ community, including icons of varying race and body shapes, showing that there is no one way to be queer, and a refusal to be packaged into a neat label for societies’ comfort. We hope it pays tribute to the legacies of Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera, Audre Lorde, and Keith Haring; and celebrates more contemporary icons such as Jamie Windust, Chella Man, and Eddie Ndopa.

I hope that you enjoy reading the LGBTQ+ issue of the BSDJ as much as I have enjoyed its curation and construction. I would like to thank Cardiff University Press for the support we have received to carry out this important piece of work. You can contact me at or @medicallum on Twitter. 

Reflections on work experience with a student-led journal


In this post, recent graduates Shaffi Batchelor and Mustafa Abdimalik tell us what it’s really like to work on the editorial team of the British Student Doctor Journal.  Shaffi’s role is Education Section Editor and Mustafa’s is Editorial Assistant.  You can download articles from the journal free of charge at:

 I have always had a love of written language: it’s one of the reasons I spent three years reading English at the University of York prior to studying medicine. After graduating and feeling that I had left the arts behind during the course of studying medicine, the opportunity to become involved with the British Student Doctor Journal felt like a breath of fresh air.

I have been genuinely humbled by the scope and quality of the submissions that I have been called to review as Education Section Editor. For all that we frequently dismiss our own actions as being those of “mere” medical students, the depth, nuance and innovation that I have been privileged enough to see have all reassured me that my peers are the worthy successors to a long tradition of medical development and clinical research, one that has never before been so forward-thinking or exciting.
On a personal note, it has been enlightening to gain first-hand insight into the process of peer review, both as reviewer and editor. I find that I now have a greater appreciation for the many individuals involved in creating spaces where research and discourse can flourish, with our own BSDJ as just one example. 

I have definitely learned a great deal over the past two years as Section Editor, and now happily consider myself a champion of both the peer review process and student-led endeavours; with both, we are collectively working towards something far grander than ourselves.

Shafqat Batchelor

I first heard about the journal almost a year and a half ago. I was fascinated by the idea of a journal made and dedicated by students. To be honest, I knew very little about how to write a piece well (whether research article or reflection) and what happens after you submit it. All that changed when I expressed interest in working for the BSDJ.

Initially and for six months, I started as a peer reviewer. I still have and enjoy that role as it has provided me with insight into the process from submission to publication. Subsequently, I applied to work for the journal as peer review manager. The role involves managing peer review applications, updating the peer review database and helping section editors to identify peer reviewers during busy periods. 

I try to answer emails as promptly as possible and stay in contact with section editors to ensure articles are reviewed in a timely manner. With other work and life commitments, it is crucial to stay organised and maintain good communication on a regular basis with section editors. I have found the role both exciting and challenging at times. The work demands of the journal are not huge or difficult, but require attention and dedication.

I am grateful for the experience I have had with the journal. I believe it has improved many aspects of my academic development that are not often explored during clinical practice. I am also grateful to the amazing team we have. To sum it up, it is an experience that has been both educational and sociable.  

Mustafa Abdimalik