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Curiosity: Being Gay and Being in Vet School

Discussion in 'Veterinary' started by Smilezz, 04.01.12.

  1. Smilezz

    Smilezz VMRCVM Class of 2016

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    I saw a previous thread from about 5 years ago, but I figured I'd sort of frame it differently:

    I got accepted into the vet school here in VA and am pretty excited, but what sort of notable experiences have you guys (vet school students) encountered while being out, if any at all?

    I am pretty active in my school's LGBTA, and I can't really imagine how one's sexuality would actually be brought up in vet school, but I was just curious if the atmosphere in most of the programs have been pretty mature and understanding? I'd assume it probably varies geographically too. I don't really have any intentions of trying to hide anything, especially from the people that I'll probably become very close with by the end of 4 years, hah.
     
  2. RadRadTerp

    RadRadTerp VMRCVM c/o 2014

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    I'm not gay, but I consider myself an ally and I'm at VMRCVM. I'm also a member of my school's VOICE club. We're somewhat aligned with Broad Spectrum and are having Dr. Snowdon present here on Wednesday at lunch about her experience as an LGBT veterinarian.

    You can find out more here: http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/students/voice/index.html

    I consider the school pretty welcoming and haven't heard of any big problems affecting gay students here. PM me if you have any questions.
     
  3. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    Hi, I'm a gay (female) vet student at Penn. There are a ton of gay/bi people in my class... I feel like at first everyone was afraid to be the first one to be out but it turned out that there was nothing to worry about. We have an active LGVMA and VOICE and both the university and vet school are supportive, and the city is very gay friendly (I know you're going to be in Virginia but I figured others might want to know). Either VOICE or Broad Spectrum recently did a nationwide survey on vet school "climate" and diversity; I can try to dig that up for you if you PM me your email.
    If you're on facebook, Broad Spectrum has a page you can join.
    :welcome: and please feel free to ask me questions!
     
  4. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    Speaking in terms of the Virginia Tech campus as a whole - it's incredibly welcoming. Acceptance of all individuals is a critical aspect of our Principles of Understanding; we have those little "safe zone" stickers up everywhere, the LGBTA is incredibly active (I think it's run by undergraduates but as far as I know you can be in a graduate/professional program here and still join - if you have time! ;) ). It's deep in the heart of Southwest Virginia which can be a scary demographic for LGBT students, but the campus itself is welcoming.

    I'm an open bisexual student, and I'm very comfortable here. =)

    Also - Congratulations on getting in! <3 We'll be classmates, so we can definitely help support each other.
     
  5. WhtsThFrequency

    WhtsThFrequency walk like a monkey, kick like a mule

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    Agreed. I went to VMRCVM (and VT for undergrad) and always found it a welcoming community for everyone. My best friend in vet school was gay :) and he never seemed to feel discriminated against. VT is pretty accepting for a more "southern" school.
     
  6. Impervious

    Impervious

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    Does anyone have any input about Purdue for this issue? I know they actually have a GLBTQA center on campus, but I am more concerned about the vet school atmosphere. It's funny, coming out the first time feels like such a relief. Then you realize that you'll have to do it for the rest of your life!
     
  7. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    OP - this came through my e-mail today. I dunno if you're in the area, but if nothing else it just demonstrates VMRCVM's dedication to the cause. ;)

     
  8. Smilezz

    Smilezz VMRCVM Class of 2016

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    Thanks for the responses! I figured that most people in a graduate program would be mature enough to handle something like that, but I guess I still didn't know quite what to expect.

    I'm glad to see that they're also investigating diversity issues related to sexual orientation too. It's good that they recognize it could be an important issue for some people.
     
  9. gogreenfolks

    gogreenfolks

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    gay male here :)
     
  10. RadRadTerp

    RadRadTerp VMRCVM c/o 2014

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    Dr. Snowdon's talk was excellent.
     
  11. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    I'm glad! I got the e-mail the night before the event and wasn't able to get out of class for the talk, but I would have loved to have gone.
     
  12. lailanni

    lailanni c/o 2012

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    There are gay students and faculty here. I personally don't know what their experiences have been like, but as far as I can tell they are treated with respect - just like everyone else.
     
  13. canis13

    canis13 Tufts V'15

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    Looks like you've already gotten feedback from people at the school you're going to, but thought I'd add my experience. I'm a first year student at Tufts, and have had absolutely no issues being out as a gay male. It's not like Penn, in that there are no other GLBT identified students here that I've met or heard about, aside from one guy in my class who recently came out a couple weeks ago (there's been friendly gossip, but it generally wasn't a big deal for him). We don't have any kind of GLBT group on the vet campus...but I personally don't see how it would be relevant or useful. While it would be nice to maybe have one or two more gay classmates to socialize with, I've had no issues making friends, and no one has so much as batted an eye when I've talked about my boyfriend.
    If I were single, I'd probably be more frustrated with the lack of available men...but then again, that's the problem pretty much every single female in my class has, haha.
     
  14. sumstorm

    sumstorm

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    At least here, it varies by year. I haven't seen any hostility, but different years seem to have different levels of self-outing, and the LGBTA activity varies because of that. The class 2 years above us had a lot of very active, very out individuals, the class above us was 'quieter' and our class is pretty quiet. A few of us are 'out' but not heavily involved in LGBTA. I'm not sure even half of my class would know that I'm bi....several suspect (but haven't asked about) my relationship status. The folks I hang out with know and I haven't had any problems.
     
  15. Smilezz

    Smilezz VMRCVM Class of 2016

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    That will almost certainly be me >.< hahah! Thanks everyone for sharing, it does make me feel better.
     
  16. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers Throw the ball throw the ball THROW THE BALL Gold Donor

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    We don't have a club, but there are a few students and some professors that may not have a sign on their door, but are pretty forthcoming about it otherwise. I know it doesn't seem like the best place to be gay, but I think you would be fine... there just isn't a club or anything.

    But this is all coming from a straight person so I guess I don't *really* know 100% what it's like, yanno.
     
  17. PetMySausage

    PetMySausage

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    I don't know, but it seems like this shouldn't be much of an issue in an academic setting. In a practice setting I don't see it being an issue either. I mean, do people really care if their vet is gay?
     
  18. WhtsThFrequency

    WhtsThFrequency walk like a monkey, kick like a mule

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    Replace "gay" with "has piercings/tattoos" or "foreign" or a host of other things. People can still be very judgemental in this day and age. In school, with your peer group, it tends to be better. But out in a clinical setting you're likely to encounter more.
     
  19. PetMySausage

    PetMySausage

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    That sucks. I mean, if my vet is the best one around, why would I care if he's gay, or has piercings/tattoos, etc? It's who takes care of my animal the best that is most important.

    I guess I'm lucky my piercings can't be seen except by those I want to see them :smuggrin:
     
  20. CanHardlyWait

    CanHardlyWait VMRCVM c/o 2016

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    Hey, Smilezz-I missed this thread when it first came out. I wanted to add my voice to the support of you being/feeling comfortable at VMRCVM. I'll be one of your classmates and while I am not gay, many of my closest friends are. I'll definitely have your back :)
     
  21. david594

    david594 The-OSU CVM c/o 2013

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    It is? Veterinary medicine is a customer service field. If the client doesn't like you, they will just go to someone else down the street. It doesn't matter if you provide the best medicine in town.

    The difference between the "best" vet in town and the "worst" isnt obvious in the vast majority of cases like routine GP work.
     
  22. PetMySausage

    PetMySausage

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    Yes. I have more than one human healthcare provider who I think is a complete jerk/has unethical billing practices/etc, but who's clinical skill is so obviously superior to others that are reasonably accessible that I am willing to put up with it.

    I don't see it as any different than going to a mechanic who's ugly and smells bad, if he's the best mechanic in the area, I really don't mind having to look at/smell him when I bring my car in since I know it will be well taken care of.

    For most people, probably, but I've been working in either healthcare or vet care for nearly 15 years, so I've developed a fairly good sense for who is the best and the worst with regard to even routine care.
     
  23. david594

    david594 The-OSU CVM c/o 2013

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    Sorry, my responses were more directed back to your original question.


    This is kind of an unfair comparison because you are relatively unaffected by your Dr's insurance billing practices. In the veterinary field the the difference between the "better" vets doing $500 spays and those doing $100 spays is more than just the outcome. That is an extra $400 out of the client's pocket that you need to be able to justify and convince the client of that.

    If it weren't any different then why does my veterinary school have a dress code that dictates how professional we have to dress and also sets hygiene standards saying were not allowed to smell bad?


    Unfortunately, I think you know far more about the veterinary field than the typical client, which would make you a bad comparison for their expectations. While you may not care about the non-medical aspects, most clients do. I can think of a couple specialists in recent years that have been asked to leave for reasons completely unrelated to their medical skills.


    What year are you in veterinary school? I've also had multiple clients so far on clinics tell me doctors they specifically don't want to work with for many non medical reasons.
     
  24. PetMySausage

    PetMySausage

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    Meh. Outcome is all I really care about.

    Your guess is as good as mine. Because most people are superficial and don't focus on the things that are truly important with regard to a given situation?

    True

    I find that horrifying.

    Just starting 1st year. I have no doubt people make many requests for ridiculous reasons, that's the nature of most people
     
  25. thealohaspirit

    thealohaspirit

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    Hi everyone. I don't often post on SDN, but I thought I would just throw it out there that I too am a member of the VMRCVM class of 2016, and that I too am openly gay : ). I'm moving down with my boyfriend (as long as he is able to find a job), and we are both active in the community. Obviously there are number of other people at Virginia that either identify with the LGBTQ community, including a number of allies, but I just wanted to let you (Smilezz) know that you certainly won't be the only gay boy in our class!
     
  26. Smilezz

    Smilezz VMRCVM Class of 2016

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    Good to know! I'll be looking forward to meeting everyone in August.
     
  27. Audrey007

    Audrey007 VMRCVM C/O 2016

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    I am going to VMRCVM as well this year, and I am looking forward to meet you all!! :love:Hopefully everyone will be adults, and Virginia isn't that deep south...Plus people going to grad school tend to be more liberal (even if they are conservative) about their views on the world. :luck:
     
  28. Audrey007

    Audrey007 VMRCVM C/O 2016

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    PS Twelve love the Jay and Silent Bob picture!!
     
    Last edited: 06.20.12
  29. pigsatuga

    pigsatuga

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    Not everyone in the "deep south" has an issue with sexual orientation :). I myself am a member of PFLAG and one of my mentors is an openly gay LA doctor. For the record, I was born and raised in Georgia. Just thought I'd throw that out there for anyone who worries that everyone south of the Mason-Dixon is by default close minded. :laugh:
     
  30. Armymutt25A

    Armymutt25A NCSU '15

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    From what I've seen at NCSU, no one really cares except those who are gay, and some tend to flaunt it for some reason. Maybe I'm oblivious because I tend to stay out of social circles (more of a social chameleon), but I haven't seen any real divisions along sexual preference lines. Most of the groupings are along background and interests. I personally couldn't care less. I evaluate people based on their actions as they relate to school, just as I expect people to evaluate me on the same. I'm sure if some people judge me based on what they see, they'd get quite a surprise in different environments. I guess being a gay guy would be about the same as being a married guy - limited choices in a class with 65 or so women. :)
     
  31. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    I so don't want this to turn into a tangent, but the whole "flaunting" thing bothers me. I think it implies that gay people should not be seen openly as gay or be allowed to express themselves via dress, talking about significant others, holding hands with someone of the same sex, etc. Straight people do the same things to express sexuality and a million other personal preferences - it's just not considered "flaunting" for a straight man to talk about cute girls or wear clothes from the men's section because it's part of mainstream culture.

    Of course disregard this comment if someone has a plane flying above the school with a rainbow "I'm gay" flag :smuggrin:
     
  32. Armymutt25A

    Armymutt25A NCSU '15

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    Straight people don't go on and on about being straight, at least in my class. That's flaunting it. PDAs are a whole different ball of wax, and I'm not particularly fond of that from anyone. For some people, it is literally like a kid getting a new toy for Christmas. It's not an accomplishment, it's just a personal trait. It would be like me running around and telling everyone I have blue eyes. One of my best friends in our class is a lesbian, but you wouldn't know it unless you saw her at a party or talked to her for a little while. She says I remind her of her brother
     
  33. SnowyRox

    SnowyRox Pennwe c/o 2016

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    Hm, I've never heard a gay person go on and on about being gay. Maybe if you go to a "gay pride" parade or a similar event. Otherwise the closest thing I can think of is just obsessing over crushes. Which my straight friends do just as often....

    Most gay people I know are aware of who is uncomfortable about their sexuality and make a point to not have any PDA in front of them. Which is the polite thing to do regardless of your sexuality.
     
  34. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Iq4YD3Trg

    But in all seriousness, I'm guessing it's one or more of the following:
    a) someone who is being themself and you being uncomfortable with the way they dress or speak
    b) someone talking about a school or community LGBT group's plans and activities the way someone else would talk about their soccer team
    c) someone who is talking about the news a lot, because it's in the news a lot
    d) someone who just figured out that they were gay or just came out, and probably needs to talk about it because their family probably hates them and they're worried about getting fired from work now
    e) or someone walking around talking constantly about their love/sex life in a repetitive and inappropriate way, which means that person needs social skills... if they magically turned straight you'd still be hearing about it.
     
  35. Armymutt25A

    Armymutt25A NCSU '15

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    I'm going to go with probably d and e in combination - socially sheltered and family issues. Maybe it's just my experience in living in the real world, but there are somethings that don't belong in the somewhat professional environment of school. So, to get us off tangent, being gay, not an accomplishment, no one gives a damn. ;)
     
  36. nyanko

    nyanko all i do is win Gold Donor

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    :thumbup: I was going to post something to this effect, but wasn't sure quite how to phrase it.
     
  37. PetMySausage

    PetMySausage

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    This. It's pretty much a guarantee straight people have no interest in hearing about this. Same thing if one suddenly realizes they enjoy cross dressing, or BDSM. It's a guarantee that the average person is not interested in discussing these realizations.
     
  38. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    So you would "have no interest" if your friend came out to their family and got disowned and didn't have a place to live? You would "have no interest" if your friend was fired for being gay? You would "have no interest" if your friend had a new romantic interest that was same sex?

    And yes. I would want to hear about it if my friend discovered that they were into S&M or cross dressing or basketball or watercolor because they're my friend and I care about them regardless of if I care about basketball or cross dressing (which I don't, particularly).

    You do realize that being gay isn't just about the sex, right? It has all the other aspects, interesting and boring, of any relationship and any life. It's not like I tell my friends the details of my sex life. I tell them about the relationship I'm in, how my girlfriend made me really good pancakes yesterday, how I'm worried about taking a job in Delaware County instead of Philadelphia County because I could get fired for mentioning my girlfriend, how I haven't seen my parents in TWO YEARS because they can't accept who I am... I tell them about my life. I don't just say I'm gay I'm gay because they already know and love me and realize I'm just a normal person.

    And you wonder why people are nervous about being out in vet school.
     
  39. Smilezz

    Smilezz VMRCVM Class of 2016

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    The main problem that I've seen is that yes, people do actually give a damn, unfortunately.

    It's not something that I'm going to "flaunt". I'm not going to run down the halls yelling it. I'm not going introduce myself with "I'm gay" after my name. But if it comes up in casual conversation through someone asking if I have a girlfriend, or they find out casually from a social media page, I wanted to know if the environment is mostly welcoming. I imagine being shunned in this type of school would be pretty awful since working together and studying together is such a core part of it.

    I'm glad to hear that vet school is mostly professional about it, but after being shunned in many high school situations and some even in undergrad after it casually came up, I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. There was no need to be an ass about it.
     
  40. nyanko

    nyanko all i do is win Gold Donor

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    Speak for yourself! If one of my friends was concerned with not being accepted (or of being harmed psychologically and/or physically, which DOES happen!) by friends, family, coworkers, classmates, or employers solely because of the type of people that they are attracted to (emotionally, physically, anywhere in between) you can bet your ass that I would be interested in hearing about it, and would want to help in any way that I could possibly do so, even if that IS just listening.

    Anyway, part of the problem lies with the mentality that sexual orientation should be some private thing BUT ONLY IF it is different than heterosexuality, which is 'assumed normal.' If you're a straight male in a relationship, try the experiment of seeing how many times a day you reference your 'girlfriend' or 'wife' as such. Are you in that case flaunting your heterosexuality?
     
  41. CanHardlyWait

    CanHardlyWait VMRCVM c/o 2016

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    I completely agree with everything in this post :thumbup:
     
  42. CanHardlyWait

    CanHardlyWait VMRCVM c/o 2016

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    I don't buy for one second that if a friend of yours suddenly started living a BDSM lifestyle that you wouldn't want to hear about/discuss it. How could you not? Just the fact that you know the term implies that you would.
     
  43. Minnerbelle

    Minnerbelle Moderator Emeritus

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    :thumbup:

    Finally found the time to sit down and peruse sdn, and I gotta say I'm kind of disheartened by the recent turn of events on this thread :(.
     
  44. starsworld

    starsworld

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    If you are talking about a random person you meet on the street, chances are they won't be interested in talking about any of these, gay, straight, bi, or otherwise, unless they somehow also went through the same realization and you guys enjoy talking to one another by virtue of having something in common (and you might become friends!)

    If you are talking about friends, then they should be interested in it because by virtue of you guys being friends they should care. I know if any of my friends suddenly came to this realization, I would want to know. I like knowing what my friends are doing/ what they're thinking of, by virtue of us being friends. If it's a random person on the street telling me all of this, I would respond cordially, but I would probably forget later, not because I'm mean, but because I'm forgetful.

    *Of course if someone is in need of help, then I'd go out of my way to help, but other than that, i'd just respond kindly and move on with my life.
     
  45. Armymutt25A

    Armymutt25A NCSU '15

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    Perhaps in your school they do, but in mine, they don't, which is the context of my response. I'm not going to go into the actual exchange I heard as it is pretty easy to identify the person and the walls have ears, so to speak. Suffice to say it wasn't the mention of wife/girlfriend in casual conversation. You know how a little dog runs around with a big bone to show everyone what they have? It was kind of like that. Really inappropriate for a professional school.
     
  46. worldatlarge

    worldatlarge

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    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Out lesbian here. I personally have had no problems here in Philly, but I know it's a relatively gay-friendly area in general. My friends/acquaintances know I'm gay. My classmates whom I rarely/never talk to may or may not know, depending on whether something like that is "juicy" enough to travel through the grapevine, which I'm assuming it isn't... I'm too antisocial for people to notice me much one way or the other :) There are maybe six or seven other students in my class that I personally know are openly gay and another handful that I know are bisexual (and probably many more that I don't know). Other gay classmates openly bring their SO to events and such, and I've never heard anyone say anything even the slightest bit negative. As was mentioned, we also have an active LGBT society here.
     
  47. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

    Joined:
    01.26.09
    Messages:
    1,998
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    ^I am so curious who you are :p
     
  48. worldatlarge

    worldatlarge

    Joined:
    09.25.11
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    West Philadelphia
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Haha, you're not in my year, I'm guessing you don't know me.
     

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