Colba55o

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This question is directed toward gay/lesbian applicants. If you are straight I appreciate your advice but will take it with the grain of salt.

Have any of you taken your same-sex partners to the pre-interview dinner?
How did it go? Maybe I'm being paranoid, I don't really care, but I'm applying to a very competitive specialty and want to do everything I can to match.

My partner is traveling with me on the interview trail, but I feel apprehensive about bringing him along before I have even been accepted to the program. He understands but I hate to not bring him along as he really is my spouse equivalent.

What have you all done?

Once again, straight people jumping down my throat for overreacting will not help. As you can see with the recent election, there are still a good number of Americans who are not accepting of permanent stable same sex relationships.
 

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Grain of salt time...I'm straight. But that is a damn good question and I don't really have a good answer for, just an anecdote.

I had a friend in med school who brought her partner on all the interview trips but she only went to the pre-interview dinner/social in locales where she felt the overall vibe would be accepting (basically NYC, Denver, UNM and the West Coast programs...we went to school in NYC). Granted, this was for IM and she was a great applicant so the pressures to fit in were somewhat less.

I agree, you SHOULD be able to bring him along but I completely understand your apprehension. You could consider it on a case-by-case basis.

It also kind of depends on the particular competitive field you're talking about. If it's Derm or Rad Onc, it's probably less of an issue. If it's a surgical subspecialty (Ortho springs immediately to mind for some reason) it may be more of a problem
 

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If he is a spouse (in states that permit such) or partner in a civil union, ie a government sanctioned partner, then bring him. If he's the equivalent of a boyfriend you don't. Same rule applies for straight folks -- if the person is a spouse or fiancee, then they can be brought, if not at that stage -- IMHO, it's best if they stay at the hotel.

Bear in mind that these events are not really parties or something you'd hate to attend dateless, nor will your SO be missing out on anything by not attending. This is effectively a business interview gathering -- you are meeting with people who you perhaps will be working with, and they will be meeting you. So you are there to sell yourself as someone they will enjoy working with 80 hours/week. Most people don't even bring their spouses to these things, and those spouses that do get brought generally feel that they are doing a favor to the applicant, not vice versa. Your goal at this gathering is to paint a picture of yourself as someone the residents will want as part of their team. If you get that residency slot, there will be ample opportunities to bring SO's out with the gang in a non-interview setting.
 
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If he is a spouse (in states that permit such) or partner in a civil union, ie a government sanctioned partner, then bring him. If he's the equivalent of a boyfriend you don't. Same rule applies for straight folks -- if the person is a spouse or fiancee, then they can be brought, if not at that stage -- IMHO, it's best if they stay at the hotel.

This means that outside ME, CT, VT, MA, NH, NY and CA (for how long, we don't know), you can't bring you partner. Whether straight or gay, you don't need a piece of paper or any other "government sanction" to bring a significant other to one of those dinner...IMHO...
 

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Not to hijack the thread but I was also thinking about how it could be similar to having a bi-racial relationship. Do you bring your black/white/red/purple SO and thereby possibly freak people out if it is a conservative place?

I like alot of diversity and think it is good for everyone, but then I may be in the minority. In the meantime, I think keeping private things private while going for residency stuff is the best policy. Once you're in and the truth seeps out it shouldn't really be a big deal. At least, that's my thinking. It's a great question and I am glad that you asked it.
 

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I'll share my experiences from last year's cycle. I was out on my ERAS since I headed a GLBT group in medical school. I applied in a field where not all programs had dinners/happy hours where sig others/spouse were invited. Also it was not super-competitive, so I was able to be fairly selective about the locations I applied to, mostly big cities. That said, I brought my partner to one dinner event in a location that we thought might be less GLBT-friendly than others just to test the waters. My attitude is that you will be spending a lot time with your fellow residents for the next several years both in an out of the hospital, so if there was going to be awkwardness/weirdness I wanted to know about it. The dinner went fine--everyone was cool and barely batted an eye at the fact that we were a same-sex couple. I liked the program and ended up ranking it very highly, thought ultimately got my first choice.

At most of the other dinners/lunches/happy hours residents asked applicants if we had spouses/sig others who would be moving with us. I was always open about my relationship and it was never an issue. And despite the fact that questions about "marital status" are illegal, I was asked them at several programs by faculty. The way those conversations went did influence where I ranked these programs to some degree.

I do not think you have to be in a "government sanctioned" relationship to bring your partner along. In most states that is not even an option. There were also many people I met on the trail who were straight and talked about their boyfriend/girlfriend. I knew people who couples matched who were not engaged/married and had no issues. If you are in a significant relationship and your partner is going to move with you, it makes sense that he come along if you are comfortable. If you have any doubts I would not bring him because if you are both uncomfortable it may show.

Finally, I am not sure how much impact these dinners have on the selection process at some programs. From what I've seen/heard they tend to be more informal and are only likely to get back to the PD if someone is really inappropriate.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your interviews.
 

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My opinion is...you have NOTHING to gain by bringing your partner (regardless of sex, race, etc etc) to the interview dinner, and EVERYTHING to lose.

Of course it's not right for anyone, residents/faculty or whoever, to judge applicants based on their selection of partner. But, they do, perhaps in subconscious ways, and your app could potentially be hurt by this. We all know that residents, chiefs, etc, talk about applicants and this probably has some effect on the selection process.

I take it back...if you're fugly and your partner is hella hot then you could benefit by bringing him/her via the "halo effect" :D

Your partner also gets a free meal I guess
 

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I have been to about 6 of these pre-interview dinners by now. Only two people (out of more than 30) have brought a signifigant other. I think the applicant feels uncomfortable, looks stupid, and generally is looked down upon because they brought someone. These dinners are for the residents to get to know the applicant, not their SO. Personally, I always feel bad for the applicants who brings their SO. Also, it appears as if the applicant is not independent enough to go to a dinner by him/herself.
 

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I have been to about 6 of these pre-interview dinners by now. Only two people (out of more than 30) have brought a signifigant other. I think the applicant feels uncomfortable, looks stupid, and generally is looked down upon because they brought someone. These dinners are for the residents to get to know the applicant, not their SO. Personally, I always feel bad for the applicants who brings their SO. Also, it appears as if the applicant is not independent enough to go to a dinner by him/herself.

Maybe it's just because I applied to Surgery and a subspecialty, but the idea of bringing my wife never entered my head. You're there to network, present yourself, and generally show your devotion to the field/program. Bringing an SO/spouse has so many potential pitfalls it's not even funny. Leave them at home.
 

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This question is directed toward gay/lesbian applicants. If you are straight I appreciate your advice but will take it with the grain of salt.

Have any of you taken your same-sex partners to the pre-interview dinner?
How did it go? Maybe I'm being paranoid, I don't really care, but I'm applying to a very competitive specialty and want to do everything I can to match.

Gay or straight, who the heck takes their significant other to the pre-interview dinners? :confused:

If you take your partner to these dinners, I don't think you'll stick out for being gay. You'll stick out for being the one who brought along a guest.

Unless your partner is also in medicine, is he going to have anything to talk about? I'd imagine that he'd be bored out of his mind. Why would you inflict a pre-interview dinner on him anyway? It's not a fun atmosphere. Aside from the free food and drinks, all the applicants are kind of tense and not very relaxed.
 
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I think this is very field-specific. I'm applying in peds, and have had quite a few people bring SO's to the dinners (both residents bringing their SOs and applicants bringing theirs). I don't think it would stand out in that field.
 

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I have been to about 6 of these pre-interview dinners by now. Only two people (out of more than 30) have brought a signifigant other. I think the applicant feels uncomfortable, looks stupid, and generally is looked down upon because they brought someone. These dinners are for the residents to get to know the applicant, not their SO. Personally, I always feel bad for the applicants who brings their SO. Also, it appears as if the applicant is not independent enough to go to a dinner by him/herself.

Very field-specific, I think- I've been to quite a few of these dinners (in FM) and almost all residents and many applicants have had their SOs with them. The invitation to the dinner has always said "you and your spouse/significant other" so I never have thought twice about bringing my husband. I can see the downside, however. FM is not exactly competitive.
 

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So why do they tell us to bring along whoever traveled with you on the invitation. And I went to one social at one of the residents' house and all the residents brought their SO plus kids. It was very family oriented. And most of my pre-interview events were more socials than sit down dinners.
 
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Unfortunately, you aren't overreacting. Many people have anti-gay prejudices even in the younger generation, let alone older generations. I think specialty might play a role. There will be fewer judgmental psych programs than others. And several are just plain gay friendly.

Even among straight couples, many do not bring their spouses/significant others to dinner. I've been on 8 interviews now, and even though spouses were invited to most of them, neither residents nor applicants brought their spouses along. I have yet to meet the spouse of either a resident or an applicant at this point.
 

Colba55o

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Thanks for all the great advice. It looks like I probably won't be taking him along, for most of the reasons already mentioned.
This has been an issue over the past year, as I have felt uncomfortable bringing him to dinner's at attendings' homes and other med school social events. I'm out to my class, but didn't want to risk making an attending who will be grading me uncomfortable.

Understandably, my partner feels left out and it causes tension between us when this happens.If I were straight though, I would totally bring my SO to the pre interview dinners. This person is going to move to a new city with you; which they won't know until match week. In the past, I have seen that residents and applicants SOs were able to talk about the job market in the city, living expenses, social/cultural events, etc.
 

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I have been to one interview where one of the residents who was openly gay brought their partner
 

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Thanks for all the great advice. It looks like I probably won't be taking him along, for most of the reasons already mentioned.
This has been an issue over the past year, as I have felt uncomfortable bringing him to dinner's at attendings' homes and other med school social events. I'm out to my class, but didn't want to risk making an attending who will be grading me uncomfortable.

Understandably, my partner feels left out and it causes tension between us when this happens.If I were straight though, I would totally bring my SO to the pre interview dinners. This person is going to move to a new city with you; which they won't know until match week. In the past, I have seen that residents and applicants SOs were able to talk about the job market in the city, living expenses, social/cultural events, etc.

I think it is easy to oversimplify these situations online, so I begin many of my messages with the comment that I don't know all the specific details about your particular situation, and you should probably take my advice in with the same regard as you would a physician offering clinical advice over the phone... i.e. with a grain of salt.

-- If you have decided against taking your "SO" to the dinner because he would not find it a useful experience, I think that is an appropriate concern (although as you point out, not always the case).

-- If you have decided against taking your "SO" because you think having a partner would somehow put you at a disadvantage in the application process, I personally think that is probably a ridiculous assertion, but fine... also an acceptable reason.

-- But if anyone is not willing in this day and age to bring a SO/partner/spouse along to a social function in the medical field simply because you are both of the same sex, then shame on you! Go watch the Harvey Milk movie or something...

I'm not going to lie and say there aren't aspects of the medical field that run rampant with homophobia, but consider the opportunity costs involved when you go to such great lengths to maintain the illusion of heterosexuality (throughout the interview process and possibly even residency). Obviously, this sort of stuff happens all the time -- It is inexcusable, especially as it begins to infect the physician-patient relationship -- as a doctor projects his or her insecurities onto patients and colleagues -- thus, limiting access to care.

Granted, this is a complicated issue, and I would never advocate for someone to go out and grab their glittery pink feather boa and prance through the OR looking like a cheap ***** (don't think I haven't seen it done before), and I certainly think it would be inappropriate for you to go around "flaunting your sexuality" around the other applicants and residents with disgusting/loving glances across the table... (you don't want to make anyone sick...) but we all have a responsibility to help people (including PDs) find the value in diversity in medicine (with regard to age, religion, race, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability status, etc, etc). You will find physicains who disagree with that statement, but they have absolutely no value as humans, and most of them will likely die off in the next 10-20 years.

Believe it or not, I've even found surgeons in Texas and Utah (in addition to California, New York, Massachusetts, etc etc) who celebrate the idea of having "the gays" on their staff... and I think that as long as you stay away from the old curmudgeons in Florida, you will be just fine and you will match and you will be happy where you end up and you will be grateful that you didn't sell your soul to score yourself a better job. If, for one reason or another, you decide to completely throw your partner underneath the bus on behalf of your career, that might be something important to acknowledge to your partner so that he or she may consider it in his or her decision to completely uproot his or her life and move across the country on your behalf.

If the AMA is able to vote as a national body (even with those nasty ortho surgeons on board) saying that transgender patients deserve access to appropriate treatments prescribed by their physicians, then I'm sure a similar body of physicians involved throughout the interview process can get on board with the fact that there are actually one or two competent physicians out there who also happen to be gay...
 

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Disclaimer: I am straight.
1) If you brought your partner, I would have no problems with it.
2) If you are gay/lesbian, the people at your future residency program will find out anyway once you get there so why not let them know up front. If they have a problem with it, then why would you want to work with those kinds of people anyway? I have a good friend who hid the fact that he was gay, went to a residency, which ended up being very homophobic, and he ultimately dropped out.
Just something to consider.
 

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If he is a spouse (in states that permit such) or partner in a civil union, ie a government sanctioned partner, then bring him. If he's the equivalent of a boyfriend you don't. Same rule applies for straight folks -- if the person is a spouse or fiancee, then they can be brought, if not at that stage -- IMHO, it's best if they stay at the hotel.

Bear in mind that these events are not really parties or something you'd hate to attend dateless, nor will your SO be missing out on anything by not attending. This is effectively a business interview gathering -- you are meeting with people who you perhaps will be working with, and they will be meeting you. So you are there to sell yourself as someone they will enjoy working with 80 hours/week. Most people don't even bring their spouses to these things, and those spouses that do get brought generally feel that they are doing a favor to the applicant, not vice versa. Your goal at this gathering is to paint a picture of yourself as someone the residents will want as part of their team. If you get that residency slot, there will be ample opportunities to bring SO's out with the gang in a non-interview setting.

No, the same rules DON'T apply... I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt in assuming that you are unfamiliar with American law. In the USA, the "same rules" apply in only one state. In all others, gay couples can't get married. There are two or three states that have cheesy fake "domestic partner" provisions meant to give gay couples inheritance rights and other practical benefits, but are certainly not marriage. Many gay couples feel that registering for these partnerships is the civil rights equivalent of as meekly heading to the back of the bus, head held down so's not to offend the better people who get to sit up front. Therefore, gay couples don't have any paper evidence of the legitimacy of the relationship.

I do agree that you should definitely NOT bring anyone to the dinner that you aren't in a lifelong relationship with. But when it comes to same-sex couples, you just have to take us at our word that it is permanent, stable, and lifelong, because we don't have any other proof... seeing as we can't bring our kids to these things! :)

To the OP: I had only one interview dinner where I was allowed to bring a guest. This was an out of state interview (in a red Midwest state) and I did bring my partner. To be fair, I'm a good applicant in a noncompetitive field, and I have no fears of not matching. But I thought it was really helpful to have her there. First, it kept her involved with the process. It's easy for her to get left out, especially since she's non medical and unfamiliar with the process. Second, she was able to talk to the resident's spouses and get a feel for family friendliness, school districts, the city in general, stress, general level of camaraderie, and other important things, and that left me free to just think about the program. Third, she checked out the city while I was interviewing. Fourth, it answered any questions on the part of the program about my orientation. The only gay thing on my ERAS is the LGBT concerns in medicine interest group, which doesn't necessarily mean I'm gay but could. I want programs to know that I'm gay, because I trust them not to rank me if a gay resident wouldn't fit in. I wouldn't be comfortable at a program that wasn't gay friendly, and there's no easier way to find out. I've been in unfriendly workplaces before and I can honestly say that it's miserable.

And during the actual dinner, everyone is on their most professional behavior anyway, so you're completely safe from any unfriendliness at the dinner itself.
 

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No, the same rules DON'T apply... I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt in assuming that you are unfamiliar with American law.

:laugh:

Law2Doc was a practicing US attorney before going to medical school. He is presumably familiar with American law.


In the USA, the "same rules" apply in only one state. In all others, gay couples can't get married. There are two or three states that have cheesy fake "domestic partner" provisions meant to give gay couples inheritance rights and other practical benefits, but are certainly not marriage. Many gay couples feel that registering for these partnerships is the civil rights equivalent of as meekly heading to the back of the bus, head held down so's not to offend the better people who get to sit up front. Therefore, gay couples don't have any paper evidence of the legitimacy of the relationship.

I do agree that you should definitely NOT bring anyone to the dinner that you aren't in a lifelong relationship with. But when it comes to same-sex couples, you just have to take us at our word that it is permanent, stable, and lifelong, because we don't have any other proof... seeing as we can't bring our kids to these things! :)

But even if he weren't (familiar with American law), you have missed his point entirely. His POV is that you don't need "proof" of the commitment status of the relationship only that some commitment exists - for both straight and gay couples. That is, the SAME RULES APPLY:

- gay in a commited relationship: bring your partner if you choose
- gay in a casual, non-serious, whatever relationship: don't bring them
- straight in a committed relationship: bring your partner if you choose
- straight in a casual, non-serious, whatever relationship: don't bring them

See? The same rules apply. We are not talking about US law here, but rather the expectations of these interview dinners. Very few care whether you are gay or straight, married or committed via some ceremony. What seems weird is to bring someone who isn't a serious/committed/lifelong (presumably) partner. And that goes regardless of your sexual orientation.
 

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Um,
maybe I'm off base here.
However, at the IM programs where I've been, the preinterview dinner was a pretty casual thing and nobody would have questioned the relationship status of the people bringing a "significant other". I mean, nobody would have been weirded out if the person wasn't a spouse or formal fiancee. If someone brought a girlfriend or boyfriend, we pretty much assumed the person was a very serious girlfriend/boyfriend, either a live-in one or practically so, and that they were there for legitimate reason. I'm 100% certain that people didn't consider it inappropriate to bring someone just because there wasn't some formal legal commitment made. If you found a date on the street and just dragged her there, that would be weird, but if it's your real significant other, then no problemo. We also never dressed up for the preinterview dinner, though some applicants were in nice khakis/buttondowns or nice blouses for the women.

Besides that, 2/6 of our recent chief residents are already divorced, so from my point of view it would be pretty messed up if these same chief residents and/or the PD were weirded out that someone brought his serious girlfriend to the preinterview dinner. I don't see that marriage is being taken as a serious lifelong commitment by a lot of people these days, but that's a whole other issue I guess...

Bringing a same sex partner has the potential to provoke some homophobes,but that's totally up to the applicant whether he/she is willing to take the risk. I think the vast majority of folks in IM in this day and age would be open minded, even in the South where I trained. If they aren't you might end up miserable for the next 3 years so probably not worth it to dissemble.
 

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:laugh:

Law2Doc was a practicing US attorney before going to medical school. He is presumably familiar with American law.




But even if he weren't (familiar with American law), you have missed his point entirely. His POV is that you don't need "proof" of the commitment status of the relationship only that some commitment exists - for both straight and gay couples. That is, the SAME RULES APPLY:

- gay in a commited relationship: bring your partner if you choose
- gay in a casual, non-serious, whatever relationship: don't bring them
- straight in a committed relationship: bring your partner if you choose
- straight in a casual, non-serious, whatever relationship: don't bring them

See? The same rules apply. We are not talking about US law here, but rather the expectations of these interview dinners. Very few care whether you are gay or straight, married or committed via some ceremony. What seems weird is to bring someone who isn't a serious/committed/lifelong (presumably) partner. And that goes regardless of your sexual orientation.

If you read the original post, Law2doc specifically said it was OK to bring a partner in only two situations:
1. If he is a spouse (in states that permit such) or
2. partner in a civil union, ie a government sanctioned partner,

Otherwise Law2doc said the partner was "just a boyfriend" and it would be inappropriate to bring him. In most states, neither option 1 nor 2 are available-and like I said, number 2 is ridiculous.
 

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If you read the original post, Law2doc specifically said it was OK to bring a partner in only two situations:
1. If he is a spouse (in states that permit such) or
2. partner in a civil union, ie a government sanctioned partner,

Otherwise Law2doc said the partner was "just a boyfriend" and it would be inappropriate to bring him. In most states, neither option 1 nor 2 are available-and like I said, number 2 is ridiculous.

I didn't read that he meant that those were the ONLY situations in which it was ok...perhaps I was reading between the lines in that I understood him to state that if the situation is 1 or 2 above its ok, but its also ok if the person is "more" than just a BF/GF.

I know he didn't say that, but I think I know him well enough that I can appreciate that he understands that options 1 or 2 aren't available to everyone and that relationships exist which are long-term and committed outside of those parameters. I think most of us understand the difference between "my BF/GF" and "just a BF/GF".

And I agree with you, it is ridiculous but I'll try and L2D speak for himself now. ;)
 

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And I agree with you, it is ridiculous but I'll try and L2D speak for himself now. ;)

Honestly, most people don't bring spouses, SOs, etc to these dinners, and it's probably a smart thing. You are basically there to gather information -- the initial part of the interview process, not have fun. For the same reasons you don't really want others there on interview day, you don't really want them there the night before. Most of the folks I know with spouses didn't bring them. These dinners are not a party a spouse or partner would be missing out on if they didn't attend -- they are really just interviews in a different setting -- with residents in a bar. So I'm for not bringing anyone regardless. However I did suggest that if you are going to use the "plus one", regardless of your orientation, you don't bring someone with whom you have not made some permanence of your relationship (beyond just having been together for a while, or relocating together). Construe that however you'd like. I personally say it's probably smartest not to bring anyone regardless -- you will be able to sell yourself better without being distracted by someone who may be bored to tears and ready to go home.
It's hard enough to manage how you come across when you are just there alone -- but harder still when you have to coordinate how information is being imparted from multiple sources.
 

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I've been to 7 dinners and only 1 person brought a SO. It was weird, not because either hetero or homo relationship, but because it made it seem like the person was unable to make a decision himself. I guess it depends on the specialty though.
 
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