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Should we avoid outing ourselves in the interview or application?

Discussion in 'LGBTQ' started by NeuroendoHolism, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. NeuroendoHolism


    Apr 23, 2016
    hey y’all. This I think is an interesting topic, there is so much going through ones head during the interview process should we include actively censoring our sexuality or hey maybe and I think it is being gay is a huge advantage in being a doctor. Studies show just look at the ted talk that gay men have increased empathy and ability to bring different people together so hey why not? Literally tell me why not.
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  3. starri

    starri 5+ Year Member

    May 7, 2012
    Queens, NY
    I was warned up, down, and sideways by the pre-med committee at my undergrad (well, undergrad 2.0) not to mention my husband at any med school interviews. One of the secondary applications that I got asked for information about my spouse, and so I included his (obviously male) name without a second thought. I got an interview invite and was accepted about two weeks after that.

    I don't know if my experience was at all typical, but I am of the mindset that any place that would turn you down for not being coy about it is a place you don't want to be.
  4. giga

    giga Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2005
    If it is relevant to why you want to be a doctor, sure. If it is not, don't bring it up.
  5. Guero

    Guero 2QT2Bcis Plaidapus Moderator 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2010
    Tropical Tropicana
    There are many reasons applicants might consider discussing their sexuality and/or gender during interviews and applications. For instance, if you're planning to come out or to continue being out, you may consider asking about the school's resources for GSM (gender and sexual minority) students, such as student organizations and health insurance options. Medicine is an inherently difficult journey. Set yourself up for sucess early on. Strongly consider whether or not you'll find comfort and fit within potential programs.

    You may also be interested in learning opportunities that involve working with GSM communities: How often are students exposed to these populations during rotations and preceptorships, if at all? Are there any faculty that are out and might be willing to mentor fellow GSM students? Are there any current or planned GSM research projects? How strong is the GSM curriculum?

    Likewise, for those with fewer interviews or those pursuing conservative regions, you may find the aforementioned issues less important than the acceptance itself. Whatever the reason, do what's best for you and your success. Trust your gut. You know yourself better than anyone else.

    Much luck <3
  6. tantacles

    tantacles Moderator Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2009
    I think it's a great idea to mention your sexual orientation at interviews regardless of whether it's relevant to your interest in medicine because it is relevant to your life and it's important to ensure you will be in a supportive environment. I mentioned my partner at most of my residency interviews and my orientation came up at many medical school interviews, and I think it overall helped my application.
  7. Tots

    Tots c/o 2018 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    I agree with both these comments.

    I was out on my medical school application because it was relevant to some of my experiences and motivations for medicine. More importantly though I really wanted to find a school with a welcoming and supportive environment. I had come out late in college and knew medical school would be a time for a lot of personal growth in this domain. I have no regrets in that regard. It was great going to a school where there was a robust network of peers and faculty who had this shared experienced.

    On my residency application I was a bit less out just because it wasn't quite as relevant to my interests at that point. It was still obvious if you did a close reading of my application (MSPE mentioned interest in doing more work with LGBTQ populations & I was in the student group) but still not as forward. I asked at a lot of programs about opportunities to work with with SGM populations but to my pleasant surprise this was actually an interest of many of my fellow applicants in primary care IM, and most did not identify as a member of the LGBTQ community. It was great to connect with these people!

    TL;DR: You do you.
    Guero likes this.
  8. MrMe123

    MrMe123 2+ Year Member

    Jul 19, 2013
    My personal statement starts with my coming out process and was largely about my LGBT work experiences and I had a successful interview trail back in 2014-2015. Many schools nationally are currently trying to integrate more LGBT material into their curricula, are starting to discuss more actively trying to recruit LGBT students / including specific questions about gender/sexual orientation on their apps, etc.

    I'm sure your experience as an LGBT person has largely shaped you, the assets you provide to an LGBT patient population who you share some higher level of connection with than your straight peers, and how you generally connect with others. If you can find a compelling way to shape the narrative go for it, don't worry about schools that might be turned off by it. Ultimately, if this is an important part of your life and identity (like it is for me and a lot of my colleagues), and you are going to pursue mentorship from LGBT faculty during your time in medical school, your CV for residency is going to be a rainbow too. You might as well start finding your place and advocating for yourself as an LGBT professional in medicine now.
    CUatthefinishline and Amygdarya like this.
  9. CUatthefinishline

    CUatthefinishline 2+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2015
    I actually landed an interview (& am currently WL) at a place where I spoke about being queer & my SO in the secondary. I allowed myself to be super open due to that school's public outreach for LGBT peeps and the nature of the question. It even came up during my interviews and it was super relaxed (even though I felt more nervous about it: I'm super brazen on paper apparently ;)). However, I did not bring it up at most schools (I didn't mention a SO either way actually) because it didn't relate to the questions and it does not particularly pertain to my career goals (which are 30% undecided lol). I think if it is important to you, and/or your goals/motivations in medicine, than bring it up. Tactfully, of course, but do what feels right & portrays you in your best & truest light. I spoke about my passion for women, underserved and minority populations all through my applications (primary & secondaries) so schools knew what they were getting into and that's the lens I assessed them through as well. (I also applied broadly to cast a very wide net with my somewhat specific/niche bait)

    That being said, like others have mentioned, if a school is willing to reject you simply for being queer or out then it shows that they aren't a school you would want to attend anyway. However, I am also Black so I tend to think of things in terms of "making it through"; if you attend a school that is less than friendly or supportive of what aspects of who you are (female, URM, queer), then it is ok to just get by. I have personally been more put off by schools that lack diversity (of race/gender/ethnicity/nationality/socioeconomic status in student/faculty/patient population) than anything else, but if those same schools were my only acceptances I would still go there. You are there to get a degree after all. You can build on that later, but sometimes you will be the odd man out in certain environments for a period of time.

    Another random tidbit: I tend to think of sharing my queer status or SO info kind of like wearing my natural hair (which I do a lot). It's an extension of myself & reveals a vulnerable part of me, and how people react to that (or lack to their reaction, which is the goal) shows me things about my environment. But I also use it as a statement to change things for people coming after me; people cannot get used to what they never encounter. Sharing that you are LGBT helps others down the line and helps change views, but there is nothing wrong with choosing not to be the trendsetter. You choose your path and you don't always have to be a blazing rainbow to live your truth and help others. (The world needs both the MLK's & Malcolm X's)

    NOTE: Sorry if this got rambly and all over the place. I'll come back and edit it later (maybe)
    MrMe123 likes this.

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