Gay Pre-Med: HPSP and USUHS

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Asclepius293

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Hey everyone,

I'm a pre med student applying to med school this upcoming summer. I've been really interested in going into military medicine through the HPSP program or the USUHS Military med school. I come from a big military family and I think it would be an honor and unique experience to care for military and their families while traveling and learning a ton as a physician.

I've done a lot of research into the cons of milmed but I think the pros still outweigh it for me and the life I want.

However, one thing that is holding me back is the fact that I'm gay. I'm not flamboyant or anything and it wouldn't interfere with my work, but I also don't want to hide completely and lie or put myself in a very negative situation socially. I've searched a few older threads on this but can anyone give some insight into if LGBT is as big of a deal today in the military, or for the USUHS students, any input on how this might factor into the school life?

I appreciate any comments or insight in general. Thanks.

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Shikima

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Don't ask, Don't tell. It's not an issue if you don't discuss it. Private lives are that, private.
 
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Onefellswoop87

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Of course you can appropriately and reasonably discuss your private life.
It's all about being professional. My wife has come into my office. I talk about her and our kids. But I don't make out with her in public. A few of my corpsmen are gay and have mentioned their husbands. They've come by the office, but none of them are making out in the work spaces.
Yes, DADT was repealed, and you'll meet people in and out of the military who will judge (silently and vocally) your lifestyle, but combat that with professionalism.
 
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Cooperd0g

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I have met flight docs and staff who are gay. Some don't try to hide it at all, but aren't all in your face about it either. Just more like "I was out with my boyfriend last night ..." kind of thing. Some are very cautious when talking with new people though. Regardless there are (and probably always have been) gays in the military. Having come from the line it is definitely more open in the med corps.
 
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I can only speak for USUHS.

I think I have at least half a dozen openly gay classmates in my year alone...nobody really cares? We're all people and treat each other with respect here.
 
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pgg

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DADT is nearly-ancient history at this point. People can be openly gay in the military now.

I don't perceive that kind of discrimination to be a large problem, at least in medical commands. I bet the line is still a less welcoming environment. But I'm an English-as-a-first-language straight white male doctor straight outta some upper middle class suburbs with a socially-acceptable non-zero but not excessive number of non-mixed-race children, so I'm not really any kind of authority on being a victim of any kind of discrimination. So hell if I know how to answer your question.

On the officer side of the military, there is a very strong conservative streak, which is correlated with opposition to gay marriage and related subjects.

If you like, you can PM me your email address and I can put you in touch with an openly gay active duty physician I know well. I'm sure he'd be happy to talk to you.
 
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Asclepius293

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Thank you everyone for your replies. Of course I expect discrimination to exist. In the military and civilian world there are always going to be those who don't agree. I'm glad to hear it doesn't seem like it would affect my ability to do my job or attend USUHS though. I appreciate everyone's insight.
 

jabreal00

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Hey everyone,

I'm a pre med student applying to med school this upcoming summer. I've been really interested in going into military medicine through the HPSP program or the USUHS Military med school. I come from a big military family and I think it would be an honor and unique experience to care for military and their families while traveling and learning a ton as a physician.

I've done a lot of research into the cons of milmed but I think the pros still outweigh it for me and the life I want.

However, one thing that is holding me back is the fact that I'm gay. I'm not flamboyant or anything and it wouldn't interfere with my work, but I also don't want to hide completely and lie or put myself in a very negative situation socially. I've searched a few older threads on this but can anyone give some insight into if LGBT is as big of a deal today in the military, or for the USUHS students, any input on how this might factor into the school life?

I appreciate any comments or insight in general. Thanks.

It is not an issue being gay in the military, especially as a physician. One of my good friends who was a physician in the military was gay. He's now out of the military but his husband is still in the military and is non-medical. At my last duty station one of the physicians was openly gay and no one said a thing. They brought their same sex spouse to all events without any problems.

No one will say anything to you. You'll have more rank than any non-medical person on your base for the most part. You may encounter some micro-aggression especially in a deployed setting but it's no different than what a female or minority may encounter in some certain environments. There is still a very good old boy club to the military. If you have a healthy life outside of this, it will not be an issue.
 
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Atlas Shrugged

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I can only speak for USUHS.

I think I have at least half a dozen openly gay classmates in my year alone...nobody really cares? We're all people and treat each other with respect here.


Can confirm. Gay people attend USUHS. It's not a big deal.
 
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j4pac

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The military is problem one of the most diverse work forces in America. Could you see some prejudice or discrimination along the way? Of course...but probably not a whole lot more than in the civilian world. I've worked with COUNTLESS gay military service members, including ones in the med Corp and quite frankly people don't care. Be respectful toward others (as in don't throw your gayness around to the point of annoyance) and you'll be fine.
 
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notdeadyet

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I've worked with COUNTLESS gay military service members, including ones in the med Corp and quite frankly people don't care. Be respectful toward others (as in don't throw your gayness around to the point of annoyance) and you'll be fine.
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j4pac

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LOL. I kind of worded it wrong. I meant to say...be professional and he'll be fine. Nobody wants to see inappropriate sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation. Making out with your boyfriend or girlfriend at work or work party...not cool.
 
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notdeadyet

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Yeah, I figured as much. Thanks for clarifying. Wouldn't want folks to take it the wrong way.
 
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Gastrapathy

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Because there are large parts of the military based in the deep south where people definitely do still care. Would you want to do residency at Kessler right now? This also happens to be the region from which most of our enlisted members originate. As a physician, the OP will be unlikely to face significant discrimination personally, but some of his (and your) patients do. Nobody cares anymore is a bit like saying we can't have racism in America now that we elected a black president.
 
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notdeadyet

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Let's keep it in perspective: social acceptance of homosexuals dates back about, what, 5-10 years?

It may seem like a non-issue if you're 25, but open disdain and discrimination isn't a distant memory for many of us. So you'll still hit a LOT of homophobia both in the military and civilian sector. Medical Corps a little less due to education, but it's still there. And as Gastrapathy pointed out, a lot of military bases are in places that the majority of folks would potentially outright ban homosexuals entirely if it wasn't for that damned Constitution.
 

HighPriest

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Yeah, it's "current year," everyone is doing "x."

It's a totally legit question. Just like in real life, there will be some prejudice in the military, but as most people have said above I think MEDCOM is overall fairly accepting. That being said, just like pgg I'm not in the position to experience much prejudice due to my background so the best I can say is that I personally don't give a rat's @$$ what your sexual orientation is, nor do most of those with whom I work.

Might you run into patients or soldiers who take exception? Yup. And I'm sure I have female, Hispanic, and African American colleagues who run into that sort of thing too simply because they're not in the majority as well. In fact, I can specifically think of a civilian provider for whom I was a supervisor who had a patient straight up tell her that he didn't like taking orders from a "black doctor who was large and in-charge." (He wrote that on his ICE complaint, which made it SUPER easy to discredit and ignore, so thanks to him for that little bit of 1930's Mississippi).

I think the issue is that the Army pulls people from all walks of life and spreads them around like a marmalade made of biases. So while on the civilian side you could easily take a job in Seattle and minimize your exposure to the mouth breathers, no matter where you are in the Army you've got a fairly equal chance of being exposed to someone who has at some point duct taped a quarter stick of dynamite onto the side of a farm animal. But those people are fairly unlikely to get through the med school vetting process, so by and large they aren't your colleagues.

In any case, you know what they say: There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.
 
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jabreal00

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I agree with all which has been said so far. In MEDCOM there's no obvious issues with being gay or an ethnic minority or female. As a physician one is automatically a 03 which makes one one of the higher ranking personnel at most bases and smaller MTFs outside of (Walter Reed or SAMMC). Once one gets to 04 they have field grade clout. There may be some micro-aggression or passive aggressiveness encountered more so in the deployed or in an operational setting. This in my experience is when guys become more crudely jocular (sex jokes, gay jokes, minority jokes).

If one is a douche with exhibiting their sex life, gay or straight then they'll have problems. If one is well adjusted and in healthy relationships, gay or straight, then no one will bother them.
 

Homunculus

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the openly gay/DADT issue plays with the non military crowd and politicians, not really the military itself. where was the collapse of the military and implosion that the right wingers and talking heads were predicting? or are we still waiting for it? what the political "experts" fail to realize is that gays have been in the military since time immemorial and have functioned fine. and this is even with the christian undercurrent that the military doesn't broadcast but subtly pushes.

i know several physicians who are gay. LGB shouldn't have any issues if you just act within the boundaries of accepted behavior as people noted above. you should be more worried about promotions, billets, pay, etc.

--your friendly neighborhood they aren't going anywhere so just accept it caveman
 
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notdeadyet

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the openly gay/DADT issue plays with the non military crowd and politicians, not really the military itself. where was the collapse of the military and implosion that the right wingers and talking heads were predicting? or are we still waiting for it? what the political "experts" fail to realize is that gays have been in the military since time immemorial and have functioned fine. and this is even with the christian undercurrent that the military doesn't broadcast but subtly pushes.
^ This. I remember the hand-wringing at the time by Congress convinced that the military would crumble and fall if DADT was repealed and gay servicemembers were permitted to serve openly. If I remember correctly, it was during all this passion in Congress about how it would be a disaster that DoD released reports saying that it would have minimal impact and went about repealing it themselves without incident.
 

Kilgoretrout 65

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I had gay classmates at USUHS in the 90's, I imagine the class of 2016 has some as well. I did attend a promotion ceremony last month that had same sex spouses on stage with their service member spouses. That was a novelty to me (I rarely go to those things) but no-one mentioned it afterward.
 

bustbones26

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In my time, where there senior leaders in the Medical Corps that were gay? Yep and we all knew it! During the DADT days, these individuals did their job, did not flaunt their homosexuality, and everybody left them well enough alone.
 
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