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I posted this thread in the allopathic forum:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=654021

Seems like a lot of the medical students are unfamiliar with openly gay people in their classes or work....

Any gays wanna opine? Are we just expected to go into psychiatry?

Should we be having any second thoughts?
 

TopSecret

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I posted this thread in the allopathic forum:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=654021

Seems like a lot of the medical students are unfamiliar with openly gay people in their classes or work....

Any gays wanna opine? Are we just expected to go into psychiatry?

Should we be having any second thoughts?
There aren't too many openly gay medical students probably because they're screened out from most schools, especially in the South.
 

Schemp

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While I don't think it's a good idea to bring up while interviewing - primarily because it's probably not the least bit relevant - I certainly don't think most medical students would care. They're purportedly pretty empathetic, compassionate people, right? If they did care, they're certainly not the students I would want to associate with.

I live in Seattle where there are a decent number of gay doctors who basically advertise to the gay community here, which is quite large. I think practicing whatever you like would be fine, and with the direction the country is headed socially you should never suffer for patients, whether you choose to work primarily with gays or not.
 

Hurricane95

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Psychiatry is a gay specialty? That's news to me.

I've seen more gay residents in pediatrics, if anything. Although why does it matter? Go into whatever field you like. If you're a good student and work hard you can go into whatever. Just don't expect to get any kudos or brownie points for being underrepresented once you're in med school. Everyone is on a level playing field there.
 

mdeast

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While I don't think it's a good idea to bring up while interviewing - primarily because it's probably not the least bit relevant - I certainly don't think most medical students would care. They're purportedly pretty empathetic, compassionate people, right? If they did care, they're certainly not the students I would want to associate with.

I live in Seattle where there are a decent number of gay doctors who basically advertise to the gay community here, which is quite large. I think practicing whatever you like would be fine, and with the direction the country is headed socially you should never suffer for patients, whether you choose to work primarily with gays or not.
There seems to be a lot of debate on this issue, but it's not necessarily something that should be hidden in your application. Certainly your choice of sexual partners has little relevance to practicing medicine, but the process of coming out, the potential drive to serve others in a select community, and this shared experience of being different may help you to be a more open, mature and accepting physician. I did a lot of volunteer work related to LGBQT health, so I thought it silly not to relate these experiences back to my sexuality in diversity essays (yes, i'm gay). I'm not trying to equate sexuality to race, but just as your actual skin color has little relevance to practicing medicine, the collective experiences and shared connections to a particularly minority group are why diversity in medicine is important. It's a similar reason why URM are selected to fulfill these needs. And, anyone who might question whether the gay community has a unique set of medical needs obviously hasn't work with a large number of gay patients.

As for being in medical school, my friends actually note a lot of medical students who are openly gay and accepted (at least in the Northeast US). Most that I've talked to have mentioned to stay clear of making it public in OR rotations (mainly because of the sometimes conservative nature of surgeons, as they put it - a "bro" attitude). To be honest, in my professional experience and clinical experience it's never really been an issue that even needed to be discussed outside of instances when a doctor or scientist might have a personal conversation with me about my dating life, "do you have a girlfriend?". Also, don't discount physicians too much. While I've been told many older physicians still may harbor more conversative viewpoints, the majority of doctors grew up in an age of sexual liberation and as being selected among the elite who are assigned to care for and understand the hardships of others, I think far fewer younger doctors would think negatively of a gay student than the average American. It's part of their job description to understand these issues.
 

MegaProjectile

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I posted this thread in the allopathic forum:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=654021

Seems like a lot of the medical students are unfamiliar with openly gay people in their classes or work....

Any gays wanna opine? Are we just expected to go into psychiatry?

Should we be having any second thoughts?

I'm straight but my family doctor is gay.I remember asking him why he chose Family med and he gave some insights on gays and medicine. So here is my take:

Gay women seem more tolerable to society so their choice of medical specialties isn't really as restricted.

Gay men on the other hand face somewhat of a conundrum. Pediatrics is one big no-no at least in the past stemming from past stereotypes about gay men and pedophilia. Surgical specialties are still very straight,macho and somewhat conservative. A residency director may be hesitant in ranking an openly gay man(especially if he's effeminate), not really because of bigotry, but whether or not he can "fit in" with the other guys (no pun intended). Remember you are going to be working with these residents for 4 to 5 years. So fitting in is important to directors.


Bottom line: Pursue whichever career in medicine you want but don't do it to try to make a statement. Remember that even after residency you are out in world and will be faced with other people with different culture and values. Pick a specialty where you won't be faced with the choice of choosing between your sexuality and a meal ticket. There is a big world outside of NYC, Seattle, SF and Chicago.
 

shiftingmirage

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There's nothing wrong with being gay in medicine as long as sexuality isn't apparent. I'm not openly straight in my classes and you shouldn't be openly gay. People shouldn't care that you are gay, but unfortunately some do. If you choose to tell them outside of class, then that's your business... but professionalism should be maintained where it's expected.
I disagree. People talk about their spouses, gf, bf, and kids at work all the time. Lots of people put up pictures in their office of their kids, implying they are heterosexual. I don't think that is unprofessional, and neither does most of America, because if they did, they wouldn't do it. The homosexuals discussing their bf/gf is no different. Someone, somewhere will ask if you have any plans for the weekend, or what did you do on your day off? If a straight person says she went to the kids soccer match with her husband and it not be deemed unprofessional, than a gay person can say he had dinner and a movie with his bf.

To the OP- I don't think gays are limited in what speciality they select. I do think there are certain areas of the country that are more accepting to the homosexual lifestyle than others. Different parts of the US have their own cultures, and I think if you find one that is accepting of your lifestyle, you will be happier.
 

Zona Pellucida

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Seems like most people in the 18-30 generation really don't care as much as their parents and grandparent generation, at least up here in the north.

Do what you want and don't make it have anything to do with your sexuality.
 

Poliscidoc

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Seems like most people in the 18-30 generation really don't care as much as their parents and grandparent generation, at least up here in the north.

Do what you want and don't make it have anything to do with your sexuality.

I would say that most of the people in the South don't care either. I mean I have grown up in the south and go to school here and I could care less.. I think the South gets the bad rep for what our previous generations did. But I think it could be argued that everyone in our age group 18-30 doesn't care "as much" anymore.
 
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i believe homosexuality should be URM! =)
LOL but that's not quite as easy to prove as race/ethnicity, is it?


I'm not trying to equate sexuality to race, but just as your actual skin color has little relevance to practicing medicine, the collective experiences and shared connections to a particularly minority group are why diversity in medicine is important.
I wholly agree.
 

tunafishsandwic

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There's nothing wrong with being gay in medicine as long as sexuality isn't apparent. I'm not openly straight in my classes and you shouldn't be openly gay.
Actually, most straight people ARE openly straight in their classes. It comes out in every conversation. What you did over the weekend (e.g. spent time with bf/gf), what movie(s) you saw (some gay film?), where you went (gay club? straight club?), etc. Anyone with a wedding ring/ band is essentially announcing their sexual orientation.

And what if you're gay and married? I get asked all the time about my wedding ring and I have to explain to people that no, I don't have a husband, I have a wife. It comes up all the time and it's naive to think that we don't have to be open about our sexual orientation.
 

Poliscidoc

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If this was the case, some people might pretend to be gay in order to use this to their advantage :p

I would. I would be the most over the top flaming guy known to man kind if it meant that I could get into a better med school
 

FuturaDocta

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Gay men on the other hand face somewhat of a conundrum. Pediatrics is one big no-no at least in the past stemming from past stereotypes about gay men and pedophilia. Surgical specialties are still very straight,macho and somewhat conservative. A residency director may be hesitant in ranking an openly gay man(especially if he's effeminate), not really because of bigotry, but whether or not he can "fit in" with the other guys (no pun intended). Remember you are going to be working with these residents for 4 to 5 years. So fitting in is important to directors.
:laugh::laugh::laugh: The pun....LMAO.

OP, I think it all depends on the area you choose to practice or go to medical school. The geography makes a big diff. Even regarding virginity. The south is more conservative where as in California people may think something is wrong with you if you haven't been layed during high school. Anyway, you should still have professional mannerisms in order to get avoid any prejudice views whether you're gay or not.
 

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If you have no problem with straight doctors performing exams on members of the opposite sex, then you should have no problem with gay doctors performing exams on members of the same sex. Female and male straight doctors have to examine members of the opposite sex whom they might be attracted to. I see no reason why there is an issue with female and male gay doctors having to examine members of the same sex whom they might be attracted to. As long as you keep it professional, I have no qualm with whether you are straight, gay, bisexual, or Chuck Norris.
 

anxiousteen

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a doctor needs to establish rapport with his patients. it's a lot more difficult if the doctor is flamboyantly gay. it is actually hard for me to imagine an effeminate doctor in my mind, except for doctor ray.
 

Compass

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a doctor needs to establish rapport with his patients. it's a lot more difficult if the doctor is flamboyantly gay. it is actually hard for me to imagine an effeminate doctor in my mind, except for doctor ray.
How is it harder?
 

FuturaDocta

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a doctor needs to establish rapport with his patients. it's a lot more difficult if the doctor is flamboyantly gay. it is actually hard for me to imagine an effeminate doctor in my mind, except for doctor ray.
Is also depends on the people. I personally have no problem with having a gay dude check my ****. In fact, I would feel more comfortable with him doing that versus some super macho dude looking down under.
 
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I know two very successful gay physicians, one's a psychiatrist, the other's in internal medicine. Of course, this is in the northeast. (They went to damned good med schools.)

Very interesting topic, homosexuality in medicine. I would imagine that since medicine is typically a profession of smart, compassionate people, it trends to be a liberal profession, no?
 
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a doctor needs to establish rapport with his patients. it's a lot more difficult if the doctor is flamboyantly gay. it is actually hard for me to imagine an effeminate doctor in my mind, except for doctor ray.
So male doctors shouldn't provide care to females, or effeminant males then?
 

ThirdEye

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Actually, most straight people ARE openly straight in their classes. It comes out in every conversation. What you did over the weekend (e.g. spent time with bf/gf), what movie(s) you saw (some gay film?), where you went (gay club? straight club?), etc. Anyone with a wedding ring/ band is essentially announcing their sexual orientation.

And what if you're gay and married? I get asked all the time about my wedding ring and I have to explain to people that no, I don't have a husband, I have a wife. It comes up all the time and it's naive to think that we don't have to be open about our sexual orientation.
What I ment is sexual orientation should be apparent in a lecture class because you should be sitting there listening... not puting your orientation on display. I have no issues with conversation between friends. Basically all I was really getting at is "People who don't know you, shouldn't know your sexual orientation". I agree with everything you have said.
 

ThirdEye

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I disagree. People talk about their spouses, gf, bf, and kids at work all the time. Lots of people put up pictures in their office of their kids, implying they are heterosexual. I don't think that is unprofessional, and neither does most of America, because if they did, they wouldn't do it. The homosexuals discussing their bf/gf is no different. Someone, somewhere will ask if you have any plans for the weekend, or what did you do on your day off? If a straight person says she went to the kids soccer match with her husband and it not be deemed unprofessional, than a gay person can say he had dinner and a movie with his bf.
I agree. See above post.
 
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Well if a gay individual is in medical school, they should kiss their sexuality goodbye. Heterosexuals have a hard enough time maintaining or developing any sort of relationship; I'd hate to see a statistic put on the odds the gays in medical school are going against. They must be far and few in between.
 

Exalya

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I would hope that the supposedly "educated" people of my generation would be open-minded enough not to care if the person they work with is gay, straight or bisexual. However, being educated doesn't always mean being open-minded. If you're looking for more accepting schools, you might look into schools with an active LGBT/gay-straight alliance club, or something to that nature. I would imagine that a club of people facing the same obstacles as you would make medical school feel more welcoming, even if some other people at school turn out to be stupid. A number of schools I have checked out had such things.

Good luck. :)
 
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There aren't too many openly gay medical students probably because they're screened out from most schools, especially in the South.
Does this really happen? I guess I'm not surprised, but still... I'm kind of saddened. I've never really had any real gay friends until I went to college - and nearly all these friends are pre-med. They have great grades but would being gay (well they're actually all lesbian) work against them in the admissions process? (this is in Texas)
 

Forthegood

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I live in the south and there are several LBGT students in my class and those above. While discrimination may happen, I would be willing to bet it is less frequent than one may think.

Most of the elders in the medical community are well-educated, intelligent, thoughtful individuals and as such easily see past these differences.
 

tunafishsandwic

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What I ment is sexual orientation should be apparent in a lecture class because you should be sitting there listening... not puting your orientation on display. I have no issues with conversation between friends. Basically all I was really getting at is "People who don't know you, shouldn't know your sexual orientation". I agree with everything you have said.
I'm sorry, I still don't agree. We put our sexual orientation "on display" whether we mean to or not. It's the way you look, act, talk, etc. If someone asked people in your class whether they think you are gay or straight, most people would have an answer to that. They'd say you're either gay or straight. In your ideal world, the answer would be "I truly don't know." Does that ever happen? So you must be doing something to make people think you are one way or the other, and therefore putting you sexual orientation on display, as you say.
 

Poliscidoc

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I would think that if anybody is about to die or is in need of serious medical attention that they are not going to care if the doctor is openly gay or not.
 

lunchbox_tragedy

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Well if a gay individual is in medical school, they should kiss their sexuality goodbye. Heterosexuals have a hard enough time maintaining or developing any sort of relationship; I'd hate to see a statistic put on the odds the gays in medical school are going against. They must be far and few in between.

Ha! As a gay guy going in to medicine, this is in fact what I'm more worried about. It's been pretty much impossible to find a smart, sciencey gay guy to date at my state school of several thousand...what am I going to do when the class size is reduced to 100 or so? The odds are definitely stacked against us, it's daunting.

To the OP: With half of medical graduates today being women and many schools openly campaigning about how "diverse" they are, I doubt you'll get much flak from your classmates. If you're really worried about it, go to a school in the northeast! Don't choose your specialty based on questionable reputations about its machoness -- choose it based on your abilities and its appeal, and pave ground for future gay doctors.
 

Rendar5

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Ha! As a gay guy going in to medicine, this is in fact what I'm more worried about. It's been pretty much impossible to find a smart, sciencey gay guy to date at my state school of several thousand...what am I going to do when the class size is reduced to 100 or so? The odds are definitely stacked against us, it's daunting.
It's easy, don't look for a geeky gay guy to date in your med school, look for one outside med school. It'll help your sanity too (coming from someone who once dated in their med school class)
 
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Gays seem to be very well represented on SDN. I wonder why that is.
 
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As nice as it is to tell ourselves/everyone else that being gay makes you no different as a person, and that medicine wants people of all backgrounds, etc etc, the fact is, if you are openly gay, more often than not, it may well open up a way for people to discriminate you/prevent you from going up the ladder as a straight person does.

Medicine is a very conservative profession, and many of the people in the field we will deal with (at least for the next 10-20 years) will be older and more conservative. If you're having a personal conversation with someone (that isnt a higher-up), by all means, be yourself. But at interviews or in talking with patients or medical professionals who will have an impact on your moving up the ladder, it would highly discourage it, as harsh as it may sound. I'm very sympathetic towards the gay movement, but as a country, we have a lot of progress to make in this area. The smartest thing is to just play it safe, and not be openly gay in places where you think it might hurt you. Use your discretion.

FYI, I'm a straight male.
 

mdeast

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Ha! As a gay guy going in to medicine, this is in fact what I'm more worried about. It's been pretty much impossible to find a smart, sciencey gay guy to date at my state school of several thousand...what am I going to do when the class size is reduced to 100 or so? The odds are definitely stacked against us, it's daunting.

To the OP: With half of medical graduates today being women and many schools openly campaigning about how "diverse" they are, I doubt you'll get much flak from your classmates. If you're really worried about it, go to a school in the northeast! Don't choose your specialty based on questionable reputations about its machoness -- choose it based on your abilities and its appeal, and pave ground for future gay doctors.
My concern is less finding a smart sciency guy....but more so having time to date someone outside of med school. Oddly enough (despite common misconceptions), being a med student is usually a turn off to most people.
 

TopSecret

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My concern is less finding a smart sciency guy....but more so having time to date someone outside of med school. Oddly enough (despite common misconceptions), being a med student is usually a turn off to most people.
Huh?

Most straight guys in medical school will see their dating opportunities improve because they are in their early to mid-20's (can date anywhere from college age to women in their 30's or older!) and on the fast track to success.
 
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Ha! As a gay guy going in to medicine, this is in fact what I'm more worried about. It's been pretty much impossible to find a smart, sciencey gay guy to date at my state school of several thousand...what am I going to do when the class size is reduced to 100 or so? The odds are definitely stacked against us, it's daunting.
My concern is less finding a smart sciency guy....but more so having time to date someone outside of med school. Oddly enough (despite common misconceptions), being a med student is usually a turn off to most people.
Hey! mdeast +JJFoshay = :love:

I solved both of your problems! Well, mostly JJFoshay's.
 

DocJohnson

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hey all - I am a female, gay/lesbian/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and am wondering if it's any harder for lesbians vs straight women? Are you then treated like "one of the guys?" How do classmates accept that you like girls?
Thanks!
 

FuturaDocta

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*waives hand* gay man who could use a boyfriend here
*waives hands at gay dude* straight girl who needs a huge wardrobe makeover over here. You better be one of those. I kid I kid.
 

SnarkyMD

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Sweet bajeezus, the ignorance floating around this thread is ridiculous. I love seeing straight pre-meds weigh in on the ins and outs of being gay in med school. Shut up unless you can speak intelligently about the subject, or maybe at least have 1 gay friend before you start espousing how it "really is" for gays in medicine.

OP, you hit the nail on the head - there are a million gay psychiatrists for whatever reason. There are 5-10 out gay folks per class in my class of 150, so fairly good odds. For whatever reason, there are always fewer out women, but that just runs on my theory that the lesbian community tends to be less out, but also less easy to be outed. Feel free to text me any Qs on being gay in med school. Some specialties certainly attract different types. I'm pretty type A and going into surgery. I'm a little nervous about it, but I think one's personality has a lot more to do with the fit than one's sexuality. Of the 7 out folks in my school's last graduating class that I know, 2 went into ENT, 2 into Plastics, 1 into IM, 1 into Optho, and 1 went into Peds. As you can see, the supposedly super straight categorical Surgery is getting a lot gayer these days ;)

ThirdEye, a few pointers:
1) You're viewpoint of "openly gay" and "openly straight" makes you sound like someone from Alabama in the 80's. It's almost 2010. You out yourself as a straight man everyday and don't even realize it. Others have eloquently explained how.
2) Get used to gay people. In medicine and medical education these days, homophobia is simply not tolerated. There's a reason why med schools want altruistic, diverse, caring people, and you're not displaying any of these traits in your limited comments. Make some changes by interview time or you may be staring at a pile of rejections come springtime.
3) Get used to people who aren't like you. You're going to be encountering patients who are Christians, Jews, Muslims Buddhists and atheists, Whites and Blacks and Latinos and Asians, drug users, straight edgers, abstainers and drunks, rich and poor and homeless. If you can't handle a gay man in your class mentioning his boyfriend, how are you going to handle patient telling you about their drug habit? If you approach with judgement they won't tell you, and you'll miss the diagnosis - making you look like an idiot, or having the patient suffer.

DocJohnson
There are certainly plenty of out women at my school. As I've said before, homophobia is just not acceptable in medicine anymore. I think there's a whole lot more sexism in medicine than there is prejudice against LGB women. I've had plenty of out women professors and attendings in Psych, ID, EM, Trauma, and the list goes on. Are there likely to be some obstacles? Sure, but it's not like we went into medicine because it was easy.

Others:
-"Faking" being gay for URM status is a ridiculous claim. People could certainly "fake" being a URM just as easily. This is the same logic that prevents gays from having same-sex health benefits. It's illogical. I'd be happy to explain why on a different thread.
-Most med schools do not accept homophobia at all. At UPenn for instance, I've never encountered any prejudice or homophobia. If I ever did, there are multiple channels to report it and the school would have my back. Get used to gay folks in your classes, and stop dropping this preconception of "effeminant" men. One of your profs or classmates is bound to be gay and you might end up with egg on your face.

Side note - YES! it's really hard dating in med school. My straight roommate has a similarly difficult time though. There's just not enough time, and for whatever reason your standards start to shift up when in medicine.
 
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traumasurg

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While I myself am straight I have no problem with peoples sexual preference. The only reason I comment on this thread is to give a perspective of someone from the deep south. I live in Alabama (the belt buckle of the bible belt if you will) and it is deeply conservative. However I have found people at my university very tolerant. They may not agree with you but they don't make it an issue. Just my two cents.

Good luck
 

SnarkyMD

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While I myself am straight I have no problem with peoples sexual preference. The only reason I comment on this thread is to give a perspective of someone from the deep south. I live in Alabama (the belt buckle of the bible belt if you will) and it is deeply conservative. However I have found people at my university very tolerant. They may not agree with you but they don't make it an issue. Just my two cents.

Good luck
two cents appreciated. I also apologize for maligning Alabamans or the South. I just tend to use Alabama due to their recent passage outlawing same-sex adoptions.

TraumaSurg makes a good point though, that medicine these days is attracted open-minded, less-judgemental people simply because the job requires it. Sure, medicine isn't going to be as gay-friendly as the HR department at Banana Republic, but it is certainly one of the more friendly professional industries.
 

TopSecret

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Most gays and lesbians do okay in the medical profession but they may encounter patients who may walk out on them because of irrational fears of AIDS.
 

traumasurg

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two cents appreciated. I also apologize for maligning Alabamans or the South. I just tend to use Alabama due to their recent passage outlawing same-sex adoptions.

TraumaSurg makes a good point though, that medicine these days is attracted open-minded, less-judgemental people simply because the job requires it. Sure, medicine isn't going to be as gay-friendly as the HR department at Banana Republic, but it is certainly one of the more friendly professional industries.

It's no problem. I understand the precedent Alabama set in years past and am frankly embarrassed about the intolerance of Alabama that still exists today in some circles. (you get out of mobile {where I am}, Montgomery, birmingham, or Huntsville you are very likely to encounter much more intolerance). That said, anytime I see news of racism or hate crime you can probably imagine I'm crossing my fingers saying please don't be Alabama....
 
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I would hope that the supposedly "educated" people of my generation would be open-minded enough not to care if the person they work with is gay, straight or bisexual. However, being educated doesn't always mean being open-minded. If you're looking for more accepting schools, you might look into schools with an active LGBT/gay-straight alliance club, or something to that nature. I would imagine that a club of people facing the same obstacles as you would make medical school feel more welcoming, even if some other people at school turn out to be stupid. A number of schools I have checked out had such things.

Good luck. :)
I completely agree with this. I am pre-med and I am straight. However, my doctor is a lesbian and I absolutely love her. She is an amazing physician and I respect her intelligence and dedication to her profession. Also, I am from the south and an avid member of PFLAG. I may not be gay but I have friends and family that are. I say more power to anyone who wants to become a doctor. It will be difficult because there are still people that see sexual orientation in a different light but you have to fight for what is right. and usually the things we cherish most are the most difficult to come by.
 

BerlinDude

7+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2009
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hey all - I am a female, gay/lesbian/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and am wondering if it's any harder for lesbians vs straight women? Are you then treated like "one of the guys?" How do classmates accept that you like girls?
Thanks!
What are you talking about?

I like girls, my classmates never had a problem with it.
 
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