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DIVERSITY ISSUES

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by CLASSOF2005, Dec 30, 2000.

  1. CLASSOF2005

    CLASSOF2005 Junior Member

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    We, as osteopathic medical students, will work cooperatively and closely together to achieve our shared goals of becoming excellent physicians. This closeness lends the necessity to know each other well. As a gay male, I am concerned about the issues of being out to students, faculty, and staff. Some schools claim that they do not discriminate against those with different sexual orientations, while others lack this stance. I am wondering how other students and their gay friends have encountered and resolved this issue.
     
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  3. Hello,

    I'm not a medical student yet, but eventually I will be. I have known quite a few gay men in my day. Granted, I don't understand the lifestyle obviously because I'm not gay, but I've never held it against anyone. Your sexual preference is your business. If you're a nice guy, I don't see where you have to worry about being gay.

    If I were you I would embrace your gayness and make it known. If people suspect you are gay there will always be whispers. If you're open and upfront most people will get over it. The few that don't are at a loss.

    GoodLuck,
    w.

     
  4. ana

    ana

    There are two openly gay individuals in my class, and they are perceived quite differently by their classmates. There are two who have been trying to keep it a secret, and they aren't fooling anyone. The difference between how they are viewed is related to their degree of comfort with themselves.

    One guy is obviously very comfortable with himself. His orientation is not secret, but not flaunted either. He is sincere, a hard worker, and a class leader -- in fact, we elected him a president. I have heard a few make stupid remarks and jokes about him (with very obvious homophobia), but the majority of us frown down upon it.

    The other openly gay person is a pain in the butt and a kook. Frankly, this person is not well liked, but I think this would be true even if this person were straight. This person always wants everyone to know their orientation and is always bringing it up at inappropriate times.

    The other two who are keeping it a secret are probably lovers, and their attempts to keep it to themselves is just laughable. Everyone in the class likes these guys, but we just wish they would openly acknowledge what everyone already knows instead of skirting the issue.

    There you have it -- the whole panorama of behavior. Anyway, my advice is this: when you are applying, keep you orientation to yourself because most docs are very conservative. Quite a few of them are very homophobic. However, feel free to be yourself once you are in.
     
  5. gower

    gower 1K Member

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    There are many gay men and women in medical schools. Many medical schools have clubs and advertise meetings. Professional schools do not discriminate against gays in admission. They do not ask applicants about religion, medical problems, sexual orientation and if asked, you are under no compulsion to disclose anything you choose not to. How your fellow students feel about you is something I assume you have no control over unless it takes the form of violence or harrassment. I would hope (but I think it is a forlorn hope) that people educated enough to become physicians would harbor no antagonism to you, or to patients, even if they believe your life style to be immoral. They are entitled to their beliefs as long as it is kept to belief.

    I am not a health care giver so I don't know from experience how PATIENTS may respond to what they perceive as homosexuality. That you will probably learn soon enough.
     
  6. CLASSOF2005

    CLASSOF2005 Junior Member

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    First of all, I want to thank Wish Upon a Star, Ana, and Gower for their thoughtful replies. Since I am comfortable with my own sexual orientation, I will not have any problems being out to fellow colleagues. Coming from San Diego, a liberal yet conservative place depending on where you are, I have grown accustomed both to the hypocrisy and genuineness of the general population. Like other med students, I just hope to be able to enjoy the most challenging and exciting years in medical school, free of discrimination.

    I have another question: What are your thoughts about being gay and in the Navy? (I am well qualified to be an officer through the HPSP Program.)
     
  7. ana

    ana

    Do not let anyone in the Navy know your orientation -- ever. It will lead to systematic harassment on the part of your fellow officers, elisted men, and your supervisory staff.

    I have a friend who is a gay person in the Air Force, which has traditionally the less "macho" and conservative branch of the Armed Forces. He agrees with me -- you are just asking for heartache if you reveal your orientation.

    If you can, stay out of the military. There are other ways to finance your medical education that does not involve your signing on with an institution that will hate who you are.
     
  8. I agree with Ana.

    You are a gay man and you are comfortable with your lifestyle. Even in the modern millenium discrimination against gay men and women is abound. Unless you are out to make a statement or following your absolute wish to be in the millitary, I say stay away.

    Don't put yourself in a situation to invite harrassment. I don't think it's worth it be in a place and be hated.

    W.
     
  9. dlacroix

    dlacroix Junior Member

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    I usually compare the prejudices against homosexuals with those against minorities and women (I'm an Afro-American by the way).

    As you go through med school, or go through LIFE in general, you'll have to find a happy median that works for you. Along the way, you'll realize that it will all depend on how comfortable you are with yourself.
    Professionally and socially, there are ways you have to carry yourself simply because you are a minority, a woman, and in your case - a gay male. However, as you learn more about yourself, it will become easier for you to deal with ignorance, indifference, and all that being gay subjects you to. As you become more confident, you can even become a person not only other young gay males could look up to but heteros could look up to as well.

    So basically what I'm saying is that its all up to you.

    You didn't ask to be gay, but you are and unfortunately that entails dealing with the ugliness in people. It's up to you to determine whether being gay will be your handicapp or your uniqueness.

    Don't let it cripple you. Embrace it! Those that can't deal...as you get more mature you'll know how to handle them.

    As with blacks, women, gays and any other groups that get discriminated against... society slowly understands that we're not that different. But it takes time.
     
  10. MaggieD

    MaggieD Member

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    For God's sake, don't join the military. I am in the Army now, and I'm getting out in a couple of months to start on the path to med. school. I can tell you now that you will face unspeakable predjudice if anyone even suspects you are gay. I personally have no objections to gays/lesbians, but I am definitly a minority in feeling that way. Do yourself a favor...stay out of the military.
     
  11. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member

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    My school is, I hope, in the minority. (It's allopathic, but I think these experiences don't fall along MD/DO lines.) We have no support for queer students, except as part of the larger undergrad student body, which fails to address the different issues of the grad and med students. There is open homophobia amongst the students, though on the part of the minority of us. The administration is absolutely silent on the issue, offering no support, recognition, or even thinking about addressing what may well amount to their own tacit approval of harrasing behavior (except that no one's really publicly out, so it's hard to say that there's direct harassment based on orientation). It stinks. However, our counterpart school in Minneapolis is much more supportive in terms of student groups within the med school, administration, and active steps to foster acceptance (or at least tolerance) for each other as we one day must for patients.

    I think you need to scope out your school, and classmates. Being out from the beginning may stifle some of the overt stuff, but waiting and seeing if it's worth it can be valuable, too. This latter one is the path I chose, and am glad for it. But I still wish the situation could be vastly different. Med school has enough of its own struggles that I didn't care to add this on top of it -- I hope someone someday will be able to for the sake of future queer students.
     

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