I am excited to be guest posting on a great site, Mothers in Medicine, re: the awkwardness of calling the doctor when you are a doctor, the patients that travel with you forever, and the anxiety of the unlikely-but-still-possible. Thanks for reading!
I was so excited to find this blog! I have been reading MiM for a few years and always longed for posts from gay MiM. I am gay (as well as a third year med student in NY) and have not met any physicians who were openly lesbian (I know they are out there – but right now I am in Upstate NY!!!). Would you be willing to write a post or share your experiences on what it’s been like for you being gay in medicine, especially being a gay parent in medicine.
Hi Soph — I’m glad you found the blog! It is always good to hear from another gay woman in medicine. That means there are at least ten of us because I know eight others. That means nationally there must be at least 20. Haha :-). In all seriousness, I want to respond in kind to your request, though it makes me a little nervous (in general I manage the awkwardness of being gay in medicine by normalizing but not over-emphasizing “the gay thing”). I think it is high time to write about it! Would you mind if I posted your question as the prompt for the post? Thanks for reading and all best!
20! My goodness. Who knew there were so many?
Thanks for replying and yes, I have no problems with you posting my question. I think the normalization of being gay in medicine seems like a good idea. I admire you for doing it. It is still difficult for me to imagine being out to my work colleagues during a (future) residency (some of my classmates know, but that seems like less of a big deal). Maybe it is just the area I am in now, but some of the doctors I am around are uber-religious and so deeply conservative (quote from the OR this morning “liberalism is a mental illness…”) that I feel like they’d flip a shit if they were in the same room with an openly gay person. I’m honestly not sure they’ve ever knowingly met one before. It makes it scary to be out and a little scary to have an “alternative lifestyle” with all that hospital gossip.
All the best,
Thanks for your reply! I’m planning my gay-and-proud-in-medicine post, but it may take me a couple of weeks — residency is crazy! Your medical school sounds like a difficult place to be out. I don’t know what your circumstances are, but residency is long and stressful and there is not a lot of left over energy for hiding your true self from people. When you are spending 14-16 hours per day with a group of people, it’s hard to never talk about what’s going on in your personal world. If there’s any way for you to end up in gay-friendly residency (major metropolitan area helps!), I would strongly consider it. There are two other gay folks in my intern class, and others in the years above, and it makes a huge difference. In my experience, the big cities force people to contend with gay people as neighbors, colleagues, waiters, fellow public transportation riders, etc., so there’s a lot more tolerance and acceptance born of experience.
More to come!
The post you requested is up :-).
All best to you as your enter residency and beyond — holler if I can every be of help!