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Medical How should I handle queer identification?

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TheBoneDoctah

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Hello Friends,

This is a personal story, so I hope you keep this private.

I come from a family that will not accept my queer identity and I cannot explicitly come out to those in my world because my family is investing in my Medical Education and I cannot risk getting disowned and not being unable to afford my education.

I've worked with LGBTQIA health equity non-profits and have been part of LGBTQIA-driven mentorship programs as a peer mentor for other kids through High School and College.

I really want to talk about this in my Med School applications and I want to discuss my queer identity as a professional disclosure; however, I just want to make sure that Medical Schools keep this private.

Even in Medical School, as someone who's queer, I intend to work with student organizations and make LGBTQIA-focused health a focus of my education but I can't publicly come out until much much later in life and I just want to make sure that that's ok. Is it ok to be out but keep it private in medical school? I'm sorry if this is an obvious question, just wanted to ask even if this is obvious.

Thank you for helping me, our world has become increasingly accepting, but some of us still have to be closeted to our families. Thank you for your understanding.
There is no reason your school should/would say anything to anyone about this or make this public knowledge.
 

Goro

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There is absolutely no reason or venue for your school to compromise this information. So, no need to worry.
But for God's sake, do NOT apply to LUCOM or Loma Linda!

Make sure to play up your service to LGBT communities in your app.
 

GoSpursGo

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I truly wish this was an "obvious" question, and the answer is clear, but I understand why you feel the need to ask.

I also agree, you absolutely should include your service in your application.
 

lord999

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There is no reason your school should/would say anything to anyone about this or make this public knowledge.

I disagree wholeheartedly. If you put this in your application, you actually put yourself in a position to publicly disclose it. If you see some of my other answers about sensitive topics in an application, I have responded the same way that if you ever do, you have to be able to discuss them and they are a matter of commentary. Now, FERPA does shield from some of this, but this would be a public organization that the Op is a part of in the application. That public organization disclosure would not be considered private, though it would not be volunteered unless directly asked. In fact, whatever groups the Op worked with if they are officially sponsored student organizations would be disclosed under a FERPA request.

I'll use a less problematic example to illustrate. Say that I am a member of the ASU College Republicans which is an official ASU organization. This would not come up with Student Services on my transcript, but it would come up if someone intentionally asked for the membership of the ASU CRU which as a student organization, the membership, officers, and charter are disclosable and not FERPA protected as it is supposed to be open membership.

Op, if you are going to participate in an open community, you always run the risk of having that community in your private life, like it or not. By choosing voluntarily to participate in those communities, you choose to be involved with being identified with them. From others who went down this road, I can tell you that this does not usually end well. You need to be prepared for disclosure. Hopefully, you get the opportunity to do so yourself, but if you are going to participate in an community, that may end up being a situation where disclosure might be forced.

The health professions are probably the most understanding of those circumstances, but we don't think about it ourselves. We have quite a number of openly LBGT faculty and administration, and they themselves have accidentally outed others in casual conversation because they do not realize that they are in the closet which has caused some personal issues. You run two risks of disclosure: someone accidentally outs you to your family which is innocent from them ("Yeah, Op is a real advocate for LBGT care sensitivity issues.") but still gets you in trouble or your family is suspicious enough to ask probing questions, where FERPA in this case will not protect you.

Unfortunately, you do live with the burden of a non-understanding family which you should have some contingencies for in case disclosure happens. Again, if you put this in the app, it is open for discussion. And a matter of this sort would not be a standard report, but no one is going to protect you if directly asked as that participation is voluntary. Also, if your parents are fairly adept, they would make you sign the FERPA release contingent on funding.
 

GoSpursGo

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I disagree wholeheartedly. If you put this in your application, you actually put yourself in a position to publicly disclose it. If you see some of my other answers about sensitive topics in an application, I have responded the same way that if you ever do, you have to be able to discuss them and they are a matter of commentary. Now, FERPA does shield from some of this, but this would be a public organization that the Op is a part of in the application. That public organization disclosure would not be considered private, though it would not be volunteered unless directly asked. In fact, whatever groups the Op worked with if they are officially sponsored student organizations would be disclosed under a FERPA request.

I'll use a less problematic example to illustrate. Say that I am a member of the ASU College Republicans which is an official ASU organization. This would not come up with Student Services on my transcript, but it would come up if someone intentionally asked for the membership of the ASU CRU which as a student organization, the membership, officers, and charter are disclosable and not FERPA protected as it is supposed to be open membership.

Op, if you are going to participate in an open community, you always run the risk of having that community in your private life, like it or not. By choosing voluntarily to participate in those communities, you choose to be involved with being identified with them. From others who went down this road, I can tell you that this does not usually end well. You need to be prepared for disclosure. Hopefully, you get the opportunity to do so yourself, but if you are going to participate in an community, that may end up being a situation where disclosure might be forced.

The health professions are probably the most understanding of those circumstances, but we don't think about it ourselves. We have quite a number of openly LBGT faculty and administration, and they themselves have accidentally outed others in casual conversation because they do not realize that they are in the closet which has caused some personal issues. You run two risks of disclosure: someone accidentally outs you to your family which is innocent from them ("Yeah, Op is a real advocate for LBGT care sensitivity issues.") but still gets you in trouble or your family is suspicious enough to ask probing questions, where FERPA in this case will not protect you.

Unfortunately, you do live with the burden of a non-understanding family which you should have some contingencies for in case disclosure happens. Again, if you put this in the app, it is open for discussion. And a matter of this sort would not be a standard report, but no one is going to protect you if directly asked as that participation is voluntary. Also, if your parents are fairly adept, they would make you sign the FERPA release contingent on funding.
Well this sucks.

But just to clarify, are you saying that the OP runs a risk from putting this in their med school application, or from being part of this community in the first place? Because it sounds like in your example the FERPA request would have to go to the individual organizations to obtain membership records. This would seemingly be much more difficult for a nosy parent to figure out than going directly to the school where the OP matriculates.
 

lord999

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Well this sucks.

But just to clarify, are you saying that the OP runs a risk from putting this in their med school application, or from being part of this community in the first place? Because it sounds like in your example the FERPA request would have to go to the individual organizations to obtain membership records. This would seemingly be much more difficult for a nosy parent to figure out than going directly to the school where the OP matriculates.
From the public membership of LBGT support organizations. However, with a FERPA release, the application and what is on it is actually disclosable. This sometimes happens, and our Student Services Dean has lectured us hard on keeping our mouths shut to prevent inadvertent disclosure but cannot prevent someone volunteering the information.

No, depending on the school, this is notated in your own student records if a full set is sent in terms of membership in officially recognized student organizations especially if you are an officer or won some sort of recognition in it. It's tied to Title IX and EEO recordkeeping matters in terms of membership rules.

The other problem is that there is no FERPA protection requirement for student membership in an official student organization. Should the parent know the right groups to ask, they can and are allowed to know who are members, that cannot be withheld from them though it goes through some bureaucracy. If they actually identify the specific individual and ask with the reason to verify membership, the organization is compelled to answer.

A blunt observation may be to say: If you want to keep such a fact from your parents, why are you participating openly in a public organization around this issue? Unless your parents are particularly dense, eventually that sort of participation ends up being known. I am not trying to say that s/he needs to stay in the closet, but there are consequences that the Op must be prepared for if both ways is the way they want it. The application from the student's side (not the review necessarily) is disclosable if there is a FERPA waiver involved and that would out the Op. But the more likely scenario is that the Op gets outed from an inadvertent laudatory comment from the faculty or a clinician not knowing the Op has not disclosed their status to their family and would be censured over it. I've seen that play out enough times badly with good intentions that I make it an absolute rule not to talk about it unless the person is legally married.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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From the public membership of LBGT support organizations. However, with a FERPA release, the application and what is on it is actually disclosable. This sometimes happens, and our Student Services Dean has lectured us hard on keeping our mouths shut to prevent inadvertent disclosure but cannot prevent someone volunteering the information.

No, depending on the school, this is notated in your own student records if a full set is sent in terms of membership in officially recognized student organizations especially if you are an officer or won some sort of recognition in it. It's tied to Title IX and EEO recordkeeping matters in terms of membership rules.

The other problem is that there is no FERPA protection requirement for student membership in an official student organization. Should the parent know the right groups to ask, they can and are allowed to know who are members, that cannot be withheld from them though it goes through some bureaucracy. If they actually identify the specific individual and ask with the reason to verify membership, the organization is compelled to answer.

A blunt observation may be to say: If you want to keep such a fact from your parents, why are you participating openly in a public organization around this issue? Unless your parents are particularly dense, eventually that sort of participation ends up being known. I am not trying to say that s/he needs to stay in the closet, but there are consequences that the Op must be prepared for if both ways is the way they want it. The application from the student's side (not the review necessarily) is disclosable if there is a FERPA waiver involved and that would out the Op. But the more likely scenario is that the Op gets outed from an inadvertent laudatory comment from the faculty or a clinician not knowing the Op has not disclosed their status to their family and would be censured over it. I've seen that play out enough times badly with good intentions that I make it an absolute rule not to talk about it unless the person is legally married.

Interesting. I stand corrected!
 
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