The deal with gay dentists (more accurately, gay d-school applicants/students)

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gds

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A previous post in the SDN Pre-Dental forum entitled, "What's the deal with gay dentists?", whether written by a "troll" or not, was insensitive enough to bring me out of "lurking" status here on SDN. This post is intended to educate any interested parties on the additional struggles that GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) folks might endure in their lives and in applying to dental school, on top of the normal pressures all applicants face. I will try to make this as concise as possible.

By the way, I was very impressed with the responses from some of you Pre-Dental forum SDN members to the "What's the deal with gay dentists?” post.

First, please think about possible issues the GLBT applicant dealt with before applying to dental school. GLBT people normally recognize that they are GLBT early in adolescence - usually around age 12 or 13. At this stage, many begin feeling self-hatred and shame, perhaps because of religious or cultural conflicts. These feelings often lead to severe depression and even suicide (my husband of over three years, who was a member of the LDS church, can tell you all about this). In fact, recent research has provided evidence that GLBT youth attempt suicide at a rate 2-3 times higher than their heterosexual peers do. Some studies indicate that the rate of attempted suicide for transgender youth is higher than 50%. (Source: http://www.unhcc.unh.edu/resources/glbt/glbtsuicide.html )

Next, take a moment to think about what the GLBT applicant went through when disclosing their sexual preferences, or "coming out," to friends. Even more frightening, imagine what is like for the GLBT applicant to come out to parents, especially parents who are not accepting of GLBT people. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless, 42 percent of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth are GLBT. Next time you judge a GLBT dental school applicant/dental student/dentist, or any GLBT person for that matter, simply because they are GLBT, just remember that they may have been kicked out their home early on simply for identifying as GLBT. Caution…rhetorical question ahead: Did your parents ever kick you out of your house because of one of your innate, unchangeable characteristics, such as your being left-handed, green-eyed, or brown-haired?

If kids are mean in elementary and junior high school, kids in high school are brutal. High school is hard enough when one is trying to earn good grades, be accepted to a good university, do community service, and fit in socially. Now add coming out as GLBT to the mix. I certainly did not advertise that I was gay, but I was honest when people asked. My attempt to be honest with my peers and myself led to daily harassment, ridicule, name-calling (I got accustomed to being called "[email protected]" [sic] 5 or 10 times a day) - I was beat up twice, one of the times pretty seriously. Why? Because I am gay. Please don't think that this was an isolated incident. A 1999 survey by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) of GLBT youth reported the following statistics: 91% sometimes or frequently hear anti-gay comments such as '[email protected]' [sic] and '****' in school; 61% report verbal harassment; of those who reported verbal harassment, 46% reported that the experienced it daily; 47% report sexual harassment; 28% report being physically attacked; 38% did not feel comfortable speaking to school staff about GLBT issues; and 58% say that they do not feel safe in school. Because of persistent abuse, as many as 28% of GLBT youth eventually drop out of school (Source: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/iag/oppression.htm ). So next time you meet a GLBT dental school applicant/dental student/dentist, or any other gay person who has pursued post-secondary college education, congratulate him/her for getting to where he/she is, considering the many barriers that may have stood in his/her way.

The GLBT dental school applicant has to ask himself/herself many questions that a straight applicant might not in applying to dental school.
  • Will the fact that dentistry is considered a “conservative" profession hold me back in my dental education or career?
  • Where can I find resources for GLBT people interested in dentistry? (Just to illustrate what I mean here, please try this: Without quotation marks, Google “gay doctor.” Now try “gay dentist.” Needless to say, there is much more out there for GLBT folks interested in medicine. The one and only journal article on GLBT issues in dental education that I have found particularly helpful can be found at http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/content/full/68/6/623 ).
  • Whom can I contact from dental schools to ask more about GLBT issues in dental education and dentistry? (Only one dental school that I know of, Tufts, has a contact for GLBT persons).
  • Should I be "out" in my personal statement? (This is a biggie. I chose to be out, but only after months of deliberation).
  • Should I send a copy of my personal statement, if I am “out in it,” to the people writing my letters of recommendation if they don’t know I am GLBT? (I sent “out” versions and “non-out" versions to my letter writers, depending on the situation)
  • Will being out in my personal statement alienate people on admissions committees? (I tend to think it might at certain institutions, but I will not name names).
  • Do I have the courage to talk about being GLBT in my interview? (And if the GLBT applicant is "out" in his or her personal statement, you can bet it will come up in the interview. I speak from experience).
  • Should I list college GLBT organizations or activities I participated in on my AADSAS or secondary applications? (Even if president of a GLBT student organization, an applicant might choose not to include this activity out of fear).
  • For my secondary applications, should I send this personal check with both my name and my (same-sex) partner's name on it?
  • Will I be the only gay dental student in my class or at my university?
  • Are there any GLBT student organizations at the schools to which I am applying?
  • Are there any GLBT or "ally" faculty or staff members that might be able to offer advice?
  • How do I find openly GLBT dentists in my community so that I may job shadow, look up to them as a mentor, or ask questions? (Let me be the first to tell you that this is not an easy task).
The point of me listing these questions (and this is not, by any means, an all-inclusive list) is to show that GLBT applicants must ask themselves many questions and make many decisions that a straight applicant might not have to. I realize that all applicants must make important decisions in the application process, but in the context of "conservative" dentistry (as pointed out in the Journal of Dental Education article listed above), GLBT applicants often have to consider more complex and larger numbers of issues.

I have not exactly elucidated the “deal with gay dentists,” but I hope this is a satisfactory account of my experiences as a GLBT dental school applicant/dental student.

For anyone interested in further reading about dentistry, dental education, and more on my experiences as a GLBT dental school applicant and dental student, please check out my blog at http://www.gaydentalstudent.com . It is still under development, but please check back periodically if you are interested, or contact (PM) me if you are interested in contributing “blog” articles.

Thanks to those who read this!
 

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A couple of quick issues. I am not tring to be insensitive or to attack you in any way, but why would your being Gay really come up in your attempt to get letters of rec. I did not say "Oh by the way I'm straight" to my profs. Also it is generally recomended that things like religous affiliations and the like are left off apps. So I think this would be something else you would not have to intentionally make an issue. I am not saying it's right, but its the way it is right now. If you make an issue about it by, announcing your sexual orientation every chance you get, then you will probably get some responses you won't like. Just my thoughts. I'm sure this will probably be taken as my insensitivity to the gay community.
 
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SFPredent

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Thank you for a well written and insightful post. To respond to the previous post, I think the OP was correct in including his orientation in something as important as his personal statement. He is not flaunting it, but hopefully being out to applicants, students and ad-coms will help him determine the best and most supportive environment for his dental education.
 

esclavo

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I personally don't care one way or the other about who is and who isn't attracted to the same gender. There are two homosexual doctors here at the hospital where I work. I talked to them both about it and they both said that they had mental toughness and didn't let their private lives effect their professional performance. They both said that a big challenge to the gay professional community is more mental toughness and professional performance than it is an issue of "hate mongers in the hospital". They are advisors to the hospital on such issues and they both say that in a far too great of instances, homosexuals need to stop acting victimized and just try to do their jobs. They state that it is the over mixing of these peoples private lives (missing excessive days of work for unsubstantiated reasons, not performing up to professional standards) with the work place that usually becomes the issue, not their sexual orientation. Now the question I have is the anguish of being homosexual in our environment the cause for such fragile performance?.... I don't know. Many of us have disadvantages in life. We don't all have silver spoons in our mouths and yellow brick roads under our feet... but we fight on and do our duty and try to excel.... if I expected everyone to love me and give me whole hearted support in a constant nurturing environment my entire life I would have never left my mothers arms....but the challenge of the adversity, the odds stacked against one make leaving moms arms worth while.....
 

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I would tend to agree that in certain places, being gay or transgender, etc. would make life harder. Dental school or not, medical profession or not, there are just some parts of the country that it is harder to have that sexual orientation (and be open about it) and exist without harassment or prejudices. But, you're not exactly alone. I remember a good friend of mine, a white guy, once told me that while in medical school he was speaking with a patient who after he gave his prognosis turned to him and said. "I believe you doc, at least you aren't one of those colored skinned doctors that these schools keeps turning out." It can be just as annoying and hard to constantly be told as a white male that you only get ahead because you have the benefits of your penis and skin color, so I think everyone has problems...true, the extent that the issues hurt them vary not only by type but from person to person, so sadly, we all have issues.

I have all sorts of things I don't let people know about myself because a conservative world would frown upon them. It would be great if I could be totally free and open about all the stupid, funky, idiotic, and weird things that make me who I am, but sadly, everyone has issues they wish would be accepted and aren't.
 

gds

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A couple of quick issues. I am not tring to be insensitive or to attack you in any way, but why would your being Gay really come up in your attempt to get letters of rec.

Hey DDS, I appreciate your insight. To answer your questions, the gay issue might come up in attempts to get letters of recommendation because many applicants choose to provide personal statements to letter writers. As I mentioned, I was "out" in my personal statement, but to avoid any conflicts, I wrote a "safe" version for letter writers who don't know I'm gay.

I did not say "Oh by the way I'm straight" to my profs. Also it is generally recomended that things like religous affiliations and the like are left off apps. So I think this would be something else you would not have to intentionally make an issue. I am not saying it's right, but its the way it is right now. If you make an issue about it by, announcing your sexual orientation every chance you get, then you will probably get some responses you won't like. Just my thoughts. I'm sure this will probably be taken as my insensitivity to the gay community.

First, I don't announce that I am gay to my professors either. However, a personal statement is exactly that...personal. I have the right to talk about overcoming barriers in my life surrounding being gay just as much as another minority has the right to discuss their struggles. Secondly, I disagree that it is recommended that religious affiliations are left off of applicants. In fact, many people choose to write about their Christian beliefs or their role in the Jewish club or, in another vein, their affiliation with campus African American/Hispanic/Asian organizations. Why should my duties as secretary or president or outreach coordinator of the GLBT organization be omitted from my application?

You are not at all being insensitive, at least in my opinion. Again, I appreciate you sharing your point of view. :thumbup:
 

gds

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Thank you for a well written and insightful post. To respond to the previous post, I think the OP was correct in including his orientation in something as important as his personal statement. He is not flaunting it, but hopefully being out to applicants, students and ad-coms will help him determine the best and most supportive environment for his dental education.

Thanks for the support, SFPredent. I agree that there are many good reasons for an applicant to be "out" in his/her personal statement. As you said, it can help the applicant to find the most inviting dental school environment - it certainly did in my case. I couldn't have asked for a more accepting program. Another good reason is that, in many cases, being gay is a legitimate life challenge. It presents an opportunity for the applicant to describe how they overcame adversity, a process that, if nothing else, strengthens one's compassion for marginalized groups.
 

gds

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I personally don't care one way or the other about who is and who isn't attracted to the same gender. There are two homosexual doctors here at the hospital where I work. I talked to them both about it and they both said that they had mental toughness and didn't let their private lives effect their professional performance. They both said that a big challenge to the gay professional community is more mental toughness and professional performance than it is an issue of "hate mongers in the hospital". They are advisors to the hospital on such issues and they both say that in a far too great of instances, homosexuals need to stop acting victimized and just try to do their jobs. They state that it is the over mixing of these peoples private lives (missing excessive days of work for unsubstantiated reasons, not performing up to professional standards) with the work place that usually becomes the issue, not their sexual orientation. Now the question I have is the anguish of being homosexual in our environment the cause for such fragile performance?.... I don't know.

Hi esclavo, I appreciate your opinions. First off, I disagree with the gay advisors/doctors who claim that "homosexuals [or more appropriately, GLBT persons - sorry to be the political-correctness police] need to stop acting victimized and just try to do their jobs." The ugly truth is that GLBT folks are victimized, not necessarily in an abusive way in the professional environment, but there is definitely a problem with discrimination (I can find plenty of studies and associated journal articles to back up this claim, if you would like). As far as doing their jobs, there's no question that GLBT folks in general do perform their jobs. I would like to know what these "advisors" mean when they say this.

Many of us have disadvantages in life. We don't all have silver spoons in our mouths and yellow brick roads under our feet... but we fight on and do our duty and try to excel.... if I expected everyone to love me and give me whole hearted support in a constant nurturing environment my entire life I would have never left my mothers arms....but the challenge of the adversity, the odds stacked against one make leaving moms arms worth while.....

I agree 110% that we all must deal with disadvantages in life, but in this case, you are talking about "silver spoons and yellow brick roads" - economic disadvantages - that have nothing to do with one being straight or GLBT. As I have said, I realize all applicants must make difficult decisions in applying to dental school, but wanted to emphasize that in many cases, GLBT applicants have even more to think about, in addition to the issues other dental students face. I really do encourage everyone to look at the article I mentioned previously, entitled "Strategies for Student Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students in dental school, which can be found at http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/content/full/68/6/623 .
 

gds

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I would tend to agree that in certain places, being gay or transgender, etc. would make life harder. Dental school or not, medical profession or not, there are just some parts of the country that it is harder to have that sexual orientation (and be open about it) and exist without harassment or prejudices. But, you're not exactly alone. I remember a good friend of mine, a white guy, once told me that while in medical school he was speaking with a patient who after he gave his prognosis turned to him and said. "I believe you doc, at least you aren't one of those colored skinned doctors that these schools keeps turning out." It can be just as annoying and hard to constantly be told as a white male that you only get ahead because you have the benefits of your penis and skin color, so I think everyone has problems...true, the extent that the issues hurt them vary not only by type but from person to person, so sadly, we all have issues.

I have all sorts of things I don't let people know about myself because a conservative world would frown upon them. It would be great if I could be totally free and open about all the stupid, funky, idiotic, and weird things that make me who I am, but sadly, everyone has issues they wish would be accepted and aren't.

Thanks for the post, djeffreyt. I couldn't agree more that I'm not alone. Discrimination against anyone sucks!

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating that one be "totally free and open about all the stupid, funky, idiotic, and weird things" that make a person who they are. Rather, an applicant should have the right to reveal personal characteristics and life challenges that make them unique without having to deal with potentially adverse consequences.
 

esclavo

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I agree 110% that we all must deal with disadvantages in life, but in this case, you are talking about "silver spoons and yellow brick roads" - economic disadvantages - that have nothing to do with one being straight or GLBT. .


You're missing the point... there is nothing more special about GLBT people than any other people who have a perceived "tough row to hoe".... be it socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, familial, physical, or otherwise, many battle tough issues. But many of us don't try to change society to fit us we just excel and leave society to its own devices. We win people over quietly or change their minds by our merits and actions. I think GLBT people or any other "downtrodden" group can hurt their cause by crying about it all the time like they are some pariah or leper. They are real people who breath air, eat food, sleep horizontal.... nothing special....

I am different than most, I say we just move forward and do our best and change society by consistent merits and laurels. No meaningful change is quick. I think people can disagree and still be fair, honest, and peaceful. People shouldn't group people who respectfully disagree with them with those who persecute them with hostility. People need to get some thicker skin and if their cause is right and their rationale is sound, time will bring society along...
 

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You're missing the point... there is nothing more special about GLBT people than any other people who have a perceived "tough row to hoe".... be it socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, familial, physical, or otherwise, many battle tough issues. But many of us don't try to change society to fit us we just excel and leave society to its own devices. We win people over quietly or change their minds by our merits and actions. I think GLBT people or any other "downtrodden" group can hurt their cause by crying about it all the time like they are some pariah or leper. They are real people who breath air, eat food, sleep horizontal.... nothing special....

I am different than most, I say we just move forward and do our best and change society by consistent merits and laurels. No meaningful change is quick. I think people can disagree and still be fair, honest, and peaceful. People shouldn't group people who respectfully disagree with them with those who persecute them with hostility. People need to get some thicker skin and if their cause is right and their rationale is sound, time will bring society along...

I have to agree with esclavo. I am gay but I really don't like hearing sob stories about the pressures we've had to face to get where we are. I think the point of the OP was in response to the "what's the deal with gay dentists" thread that was extremeley negative and questioned whether LBGT belong in dentistry. I find this view extremeley narrow minded. Everyone here has made it to dental school facing all kinds of trials and tribulations. We've all been able to perservere through them and succeed. We all belong in dentistry. Whose pressures were greater, is just an arguement of semantics. The point: Discrimination sucks...prove to people that you do belong in dentistry and earn their respect.
 
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As an LGBT student myself, Ive faced my own share of troubles. I didnt bother coming out in HS, since people disliked me enough back then anyway. I started to be open in college, and still got crap from people, though to much less of a degree. At the same time, Ive heard of LGBT friends who still face some ignorance in med school, though a tad more subtle.

The point is, people grow and mature, and at some point, the childishness of namecalling goes away. But no matter what level of the professional stage you are at, there will always be a few idiots. People like that used to affect me with their hurtful comments, but after a while, I just accepted their inevitability and let it roll off my shoulder.

The best thing to truly do is to be happy with who you are and surround yourself by positive influences. Prove yourself with your brains and dont let your sexuality become your identity. Alot of progress has been made, and all we can do is hope it continues.
 

djeffreyt

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Thanks for the post, djeffreyt. I couldn't agree more that I'm not alone. Discrimination against anyone sucks!

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating that one be "totally free and open about all the stupid, funky, idiotic, and weird things" that make a person who they are. Rather, an applicant should have the right to reveal personal characteristics and life challenges that make them unique without having to deal with potentially adverse consequences.

agreed
 

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I am of the " if you ask, I'm going to tell you" mentality. You shouldn't have to hide your personal life or flaunt it either. Heterosexual individuals get asked if they are married all the time... if you ask me if I am married (in an interview or in casual conversation) I will tell you, "no I am not married, my partner and I have been together for 7 years and we are not legally allowed to marry". I won't hide that I'm gay by not giving you an answer. That is how I approach it at school everyday. I don't run down the halls with a gay pride flag either...the people that care to ask about my life will know that I'm gay. People don't have to hide that they are christian, black, muslim, asian, or straight....I don't have to hide that I am gay.
 

gds

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I have to agree with esclavo. I am gay but I really don't like hearing sob stories about the pressures we've had to face to get where we are. I think the point of the OP was in response to the "what's the deal with gay dentists" thread that was extremeley negative and questioned whether LBGT belong in dentistry. I find this view extremeley narrow minded. Everyone here has made it to dental school facing all kinds of trials and tribulations. We've all been able to perservere through them and succeed. We all belong in dentistry. Whose pressures were greater, is just an arguement of semantics. The point: Discrimination sucks...prove to people that you do belong in dentistry and earn their respect.

Well said!
 

gds

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You're missing the point... there is nothing more special about GLBT people than any other people who have a perceived "tough row to hoe".... be it socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, familial, physical, or otherwise, many battle tough issues. But many of us don't try to change society to fit us we just excel and leave society to its own devices. We win people over quietly or change their minds by our merits and actions. I think GLBT people or any other "downtrodden" group can hurt their cause by crying about it all the time like they are some pariah or leper. They are real people who breath air, eat food, sleep horizontal.... nothing special....

I am different than most, I say we just move forward and do our best and change society by consistent merits and laurels. No meaningful change is quick. I think people can disagree and still be fair, honest, and peaceful. People shouldn't group people who respectfully disagree with them with those who persecute them with hostility. People need to get some thicker skin and if their cause is right and their rationale is sound, time will bring society along...

I agree with you all the way...there really is nothing more special about GLBT people than any other people who have a "tough row to hoe" and I'm glad you pointed this out.

Also, I should have tried a little harder to avoid coming across as a pariah. This is no excuse, but that homophobic post really pissed me off!
 

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You're missing the point... there is nothing more special about GLBT people than any other people who have a perceived "tough row to hoe".... be it socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, familial, physical, or otherwise, many battle tough issues. But many of us don't try to change society to fit us we just excel and leave society to its own devices. We win people over quietly or change their minds by our merits and actions.

Bingo. 100% agree, and written better than I could have.
 

Nuriko

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I am of the " if you ask, I'm going to tell you" mentality. You shouldn't have to hide your personal life or flaunt it either. Heterosexual individuals get asked if they are married all the time... if you ask me if I am married (in an interview or in casual conversation) I will tell you, "no I am not married, my partner and I have been together for 7 years and we are not legally allowed to marry". I won't hide that I'm gay by not giving you an answer. That is how I approach it at school everyday. I don't run down the halls with a gay pride flag either...the people that care to ask about my life will know that I'm gay. People don't have to hide that they are christian, black, muslim, asian, or straight....I don't have to hide that I am gay.

:thumbup: :thumbup:
 

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First, I don't announce that I am gay to my professors either. However, a personal statement is exactly that...personal. I have the right to talk about overcoming barriers in my life surrounding being gay just as much as another minority has the right to discuss their struggles.
From an ADCOM members perspective, I would strongly advise against using the "overcoming barriers as a minority" topic in your personal statement. I understand that it is YOUR personal statement and is supposed to be about YOU and YOUR journey to the dental field, but from our perspective, too much of the "I deserve to be in dental school because the road was tougher for me" scenario can be quite exhausting. I hope I don't come across as insensitive, but those ideas, however personal they are, become ordinary after reading so many of them. Think of something unique you have seen, done, explored about yourself or the field of dentistry and make it exciting and personal so we get to know you a little by reading it. This is not to say that you cannot make mention of the fact that you are gay, it just shouldn't be the focus of your statement.
Again, this is only meant to be a word of warning for all, and if you look at my previous posts, I am only here to help all of you in this process...feel free to PM me if you have any further questions.
 

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From an ADCOM members perspective, I would strongly advise against using the "overcoming barriers as a minority" topic in your personal statement. I understand that it is YOUR personal statement and is supposed to be about YOU and YOUR journey to the dental field, but from our perspective, too much of the "I deserve to be in dental school because the road was tougher for me" scenario can be quite exhausting. I hope I don't come across as insensitive, but those ideas, however personal they are, become ordinary after reading so many of them. Think of something unique you have seen, done, explored about yourself or the field of dentistry and make it exciting and personal so we get to know you a little by reading it. This is not to say that you cannot make mention of the fact that you are gay, it just shouldn't be the focus of your statement.
Again, this is only meant to be a word of warning for all, and if you look at my previous posts, I am only here to help all of you in this process...feel free to PM me if you have any further questions.

Thank you for providing the light at the end of this long tunnel of a lame thread, which is hopefully coming to an end.
 
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Caution…rhetorical question ahead: Did your parents ever kick you out of your house because of one of your innate, unchangeable characteristics, such as your being left-handed, green-eyed, or brown-haired?

Thanks to those who read this!

I think in no other person's life experience would this be considered a valid point. The evidence is that people have overcome disabilities, addictions, and behaviors in their lives to be the person they want to be. Some people become gay and some leave the gay life to become married. Your idea of being a prisoner to your desires, is not one of authentic freedom.

It seems with all the gay group statistics and such you are pushing for a validation of your lifestyle more than an understanding.
 

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Ithe question I have is the anguish of being homosexual in our environment the cause for such fragile performance?.... ..

esclavo, i have been reading your replies on this thread and as usual, you show nothing but reason, common sense and pure wisdom. the question you ask is very interesting and here's an attempt at answering it:

the majority of issues that gay men may have that affect their performance in life generally and at work specifically, are NOT primarily due to discrimination. Everyone pretty much has some sort of a social handicap....
the social/mental/work performance problems that gay men tend to have are for the most part due to the state of the gay community here in the U.S. the gay scene is mainly in big cities. there, substance (hard nasty drugs like meth and alcohol) abuse, depression, a sense of loss, and loneliness are the main culprits. there is tremendous peer pressure in the gay community to 1-do drugs 2-to not have a BF but instead just have sport sex 3-to drink lots of booze 4-to do steroids 5-to not value what is serious and just value what is superficial 6-to spend lots of money on materialistic aspects of life.....there is also discrimination against gay men who do not come from affluent families and against gay men who are not considered attractive by the standards. those groups get ostracized because they are not cool, not rich, not popular, not fashionable, cannot afford to live in a city...
not being popular in the gay community is a problem because gay men turn to friends as a substitute for family, and so when friends are not available, many gay men find themselves alone. straight men can turn to their families when they do not have friends. besides, lines are often blurred between friends and lovers and relationships are often marred by jealousy, insecurity, sexual and economic competition.

Having said that, there are other reasons beyond the gay community's control:

Straight men can flaunt their sexuality through flirting and physical touch. I truly and whole-heartedly believe that men and women, straight and gay, have a real need to proudly express their sexuality; they have a real need to flirt. Flirting relieves the stress at work, it breaks the ice, makes people smile, makes people feel sexually desirable. Straight men can flirt almost everywhere because more often then not, the woman standing next to them is straight. Gay men cannot do that; otherwise, they get punched in the face because at anytime, the guy standing next you in a bar, coffee shop or library is most likely straight. Physical touch is another real emotional need. Single, and even coupled, straight men get to satisfy that need when they go out with coworkers or co-residents. They have cocktails and get cuddly with the women. A gay man on the other hand has to go to a gay bar with gay friends in order to satisfy that need and engage in these emotionally fulfilling activities. This forces gay men to be asexual in most places, and that gets to you from time to time. In fact it kinda sucks. On top of that you have the bad experiences that gay men go through in high school—which linger in the back of the mind as immortal demons—and society's refusal to respect the desire of some gay men to be in dignified, socially recognized, and long-lasting bonds (marriage).

Gay men have to fix their community from within and only then the public would be more receptive and accepting, not just tolerant.
 

dancedancekj

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I think in no other person's life experience would this be considered a valid point. The evidence is that people have overcome disabilities, addictions, and behaviors in their lives to be the person they want to be. Some people become gay and some leave the gay life to become married. Your idea of being a prisoner to your desires, is not one of authentic freedom.

It seems with all the gay group statistics and such you are pushing for a validation of your lifestyle more than an understanding.

Point of information that homosexuality is not something to overcome, and is not in the same behavior as addiction to drugs or porn. I'm pretty sure that it's not a definable lifestyle either. Understand that comparing sexual orientation to addiction, mental disorders, physical handicaps or neurological disorders is not quite the same.
Sorry if I went off a little bit, it's just something I keep correcting my parents on as a GLBT ally. :)
 
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MsPurtell

Esclavo....if only your last sentence were true.

GLBT people have a long history of accomplishments and of very thick skin. We wouldn't make it day to day if we didn't have thick skin and didn't persevere. Still, society at large has not changed its view.

BTW, in using "we" in the first sentence of your second paragraph, are you implying that you are a member of the GLBT community.

You're missing the point... there is nothing more special about GLBT people than any other people who have a perceived "tough row to hoe".... be it socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, familial, physical, or otherwise, many battle tough issues. But many of us don't try to change society to fit us we just excel and leave society to its own devices. We win people over quietly or change their minds by our merits and actions. I think GLBT people or any other "downtrodden" group can hurt their cause by crying about it all the time like they are some pariah or leper. They are real people who breath air, eat food, sleep horizontal.... nothing special....

I am different than most, I say we just move forward and do our best and change society by consistent merits and laurels. No meaningful change is quick. I think people can disagree and still be fair, honest, and peaceful. People shouldn't group people who respectfully disagree with them with those who persecute them with hostility. People need to get some thicker skin and if their cause is right and their rationale is sound, time will bring society along...
 
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MsPurtell

Thank YOU for taking time to post this! I completely hear you on the subject.

A previous post in the SDN Pre-Dental forum entitled, "What's the deal with gay dentists?", whether written by a "troll" or not, was insensitive enough to bring me out of "lurking" status here on SDN. This post is intended to educate any interested parties on the additional struggles that GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) folks might endure in their lives and in applying to dental school, on top of the normal pressures all applicants face. I will try to make this as concise as possible.

By the way, I was very impressed with the responses from some of you Pre-Dental forum SDN members to the "What's the deal with gay dentists?” post.

First, please think about possible issues the GLBT applicant dealt with before applying to dental school. GLBT people normally recognize that they are GLBT early in adolescence - usually around age 12 or 13. At this stage, many begin feeling self-hatred and shame, perhaps because of religious or cultural conflicts. These feelings often lead to severe depression and even suicide (my husband of over three years, who was a member of the LDS church, can tell you all about this). In fact, recent research has provided evidence that GLBT youth attempt suicide at a rate 2-3 times higher than their heterosexual peers do. Some studies indicate that the rate of attempted suicide for transgender youth is higher than 50%. (Source: http://www.unhcc.unh.edu/resources/glbt/glbtsuicide.html )

Next, take a moment to think about what the GLBT applicant went through when disclosing their sexual preferences, or "coming out," to friends. Even more frightening, imagine what is like for the GLBT applicant to come out to parents, especially parents who are not accepting of GLBT people. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless, 42 percent of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth are GLBT. Next time you judge a GLBT dental school applicant/dental student/dentist, or any GLBT person for that matter, simply because they are GLBT, just remember that they may have been kicked out their home early on simply for identifying as GLBT. Caution…rhetorical question ahead: Did your parents ever kick you out of your house because of one of your innate, unchangeable characteristics, such as your being left-handed, green-eyed, or brown-haired?

If kids are mean in elementary and junior high school, kids in high school are brutal. High school is hard enough when one is trying to earn good grades, be accepted to a good university, do community service, and fit in socially. Now add coming out as GLBT to the mix. I certainly did not advertise that I was gay, but I was honest when people asked. My attempt to be honest with my peers and myself led to daily harassment, ridicule, name-calling (I got accustomed to being called "[email protected]" [sic] 5 or 10 times a day) - I was beat up twice, one of the times pretty seriously. Why? Because I am gay. Please don't think that this was an isolated incident. A 1999 survey by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) of GLBT youth reported the following statistics: 91% sometimes or frequently hear anti-gay comments such as '[email protected]' [sic] and '****' in school; 61% report verbal harassment; of those who reported verbal harassment, 46% reported that the experienced it daily; 47% report sexual harassment; 28% report being physically attacked; 38% did not feel comfortable speaking to school staff about GLBT issues; and 58% say that they do not feel safe in school. Because of persistent abuse, as many as 28% of GLBT youth eventually drop out of school (Source: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/iag/oppression.htm ). So next time you meet a GLBT dental school applicant/dental student/dentist, or any other gay person who has pursued post-secondary college education, congratulate him/her for getting to where he/she is, considering the many barriers that may have stood in his/her way.

The GLBT dental school applicant has to ask himself/herself many questions that a straight applicant might not in applying to dental school.
  • Will the fact that dentistry is considered a “conservative" profession hold me back in my dental education or career?
  • Where can I find resources for GLBT people interested in dentistry? (Just to illustrate what I mean here, please try this: Without quotation marks, Google “gay doctor.” Now try “gay dentist.” Needless to say, there is much more out there for GLBT folks interested in medicine. The one and only journal article on GLBT issues in dental education that I have found particularly helpful can be found at http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/content/full/68/6/623 ).
  • Whom can I contact from dental schools to ask more about GLBT issues in dental education and dentistry? (Only one dental school that I know of, Tufts, has a contact for GLBT persons).
  • Should I be "out" in my personal statement? (This is a biggie. I chose to be out, but only after months of deliberation).
  • Should I send a copy of my personal statement, if I am “out in it,” to the people writing my letters of recommendation if they don’t know I am GLBT? (I sent “out” versions and “non-out" versions to my letter writers, depending on the situation)
  • Will being out in my personal statement alienate people on admissions committees? (I tend to think it might at certain institutions, but I will not name names).
  • Do I have the courage to talk about being GLBT in my interview? (And if the GLBT applicant is "out" in his or her personal statement, you can bet it will come up in the interview. I speak from experience).
  • Should I list college GLBT organizations or activities I participated in on my AADSAS or secondary applications? (Even if president of a GLBT student organization, an applicant might choose not to include this activity out of fear).
  • For my secondary applications, should I send this personal check with both my name and my (same-sex) partner's name on it?
  • Will I be the only gay dental student in my class or at my university?
  • Are there any GLBT student organizations at the schools to which I am applying?
  • Are there any GLBT or "ally" faculty or staff members that might be able to offer advice?
  • How do I find openly GLBT dentists in my community so that I may job shadow, look up to them as a mentor, or ask questions? (Let me be the first to tell you that this is not an easy task).
The point of me listing these questions (and this is not, by any means, an all-inclusive list) is to show that GLBT applicants must ask themselves many questions and make many decisions that a straight applicant might not have to. I realize that all applicants must make important decisions in the application process, but in the context of "conservative" dentistry (as pointed out in the Journal of Dental Education article listed above), GLBT applicants often have to consider more complex and larger numbers of issues.

I have not exactly elucidated the “deal with gay dentists,” but I hope this is a satisfactory account of my experiences as a GLBT dental school applicant/dental student.

For anyone interested in further reading about dentistry, dental education, and more on my experiences as a GLBT dental school applicant and dental student, please check out my blog at http://www.gaydentalstudent.com . It is still under development, but please check back periodically if you are interested, or contact (PM) me if you are interested in contributing “blog” articles.

Thanks to those who read this!
 

fightingspirit

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.... Some people become gay and some leave the gay life to become married..

you speak with such conviction. would you mind explaining how you reached your conclusions? have you met someone who was gay and then left the "gay life" and married?

you say that gay men make the claim that they neither become nor choose to be gay just because they want to "validate" a "lifestyle".
i say that you and people like you refuse to believe gay men and academics when they say that gays do not choose their sexual orientation just because you 1-do not want to accept the homosexual act 2-you are disgusted by the homosexual act 3-you are afraid of questioning the veracity and wisdom of whatever holly book you've been brought up believing in.
 

Rube

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Dancedanckj, you left "behavior" out of my list, inserted "porn" in a sentence not attributable to me and then quoted the rest. And Fightingspirit, you chopped 2 sentences in half, and took half of each and made a sentence and then attributed it to me.

I may never convince you guys of my point about free will and being able to choose who you have sex with, but if you are going to quote me, do it accurately.

Now onto the classic argument about choice vs genetics, the evidence is far from conclusive and as usual many factors may go into sexual desire, some biological and some environmental may contribute. There is an ongoing debate. My point is largely that whether genetics play a role or not, the choice to engage in a sexual act is not the same as being "green-eyed" as the OP suggests.
 

fightingspirit

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Dancedanckj, you left "behavior" out of my list, inserted "porn" in a sentence not attributable to me and then quoted the rest. And Fightingspirit, you chopped 2 sentences in half, and took half of each and made a sentence and then attributed it to me.

I may never convince you guys of my point about free will and being able to choose who you have sex with, but if you are going to quote me, do it accurately.

Now onto the classic argument about choice vs genetics, the evidence is far from conclusive and as usual many factors may go into sexual desire, some biological and some environmental may contribute. There is an ongoing debate. My point is largely that whether genetics play a role or not, the choice to engage in a sexual act is not the same as being "green-eyed" as the OP suggests.


first: you have not answered the question i asked in the beginning of my rebuttal to your comments. second: why do you say that i chopped and made up sentences attributed to you? the Quote i used in my rebuttal is the same exact full sentence that is in your post.....third: yes, the evidence is far from conclusive and most likely it is nature(complex genetic predisposition through more than one locus)+nurture(intrauterine biochemical environ). however, your tone, albeit subtle, was that of an evangelist: the whole idea of they say it's not a choice so that we could accept them is typical evangelical nonsense. fourth: you are now alluding to a more unacceptable argument. you 're subtly implying: gay men may not be able to choose who they are attracted to but they can surely keep their zipper up. if you are man enough and moral enough, you would admit your true feelings about gays.

in summary, your viewpoint is one of the following two:
1-you believe that ALL gay men are liars because they keep saying that they do not choose it and yet you firmy believe that it is a choice
2-you do not think that they are liars because you think there's a genetic component; however, you feel that they have "free will" so they can avoid having sex and just become asexual and use their genitals for the sole purpose of urination.

in both cases, you are being a bit insensitive and irrational; dont you think?
 

Nuriko

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Dancedanckj, you left "behavior" out of my list, inserted "porn" in a sentence not attributable to me and then quoted the rest. And Fightingspirit, you chopped 2 sentences in half, and took half of each and made a sentence and then attributed it to me.

I may never convince you guys of my point about free will and being able to choose who you have sex with, but if you are going to quote me, do it accurately.

Now onto the classic argument about choice vs genetics, the evidence is far from conclusive and as usual many factors may go into sexual desire, some biological and some environmental may contribute. There is an ongoing debate. My point is largely that whether genetics play a role or not, the choice to engage in a sexual act is not the same as being "green-eyed" as the OP suggests.

I agree that it is a conscious choice to have sex with whoever you want (excluding sex). The issue of controversy for me and other LGBTs is the matter of attraction, which neither I nor most anyone ever decided. There is evidence linking biological factors to sexual orientation. How 'conclusive' that is is debatable. But nobody has ever disproved that sexual orientation is involuntary. My issue is with those who, without looking at any other evidence, automatically label homosexuals as 'sinful' and automatically assume they 'chose' their life without hearing their side.
 
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Some people become gay and some leave the gay life to become married. Your idea of being a prisoner to your desires, is not one of authentic freedom.

You're kidding right?? "Oh, I think I'll just turn gay...getting discriminated against sounds great!"

As far as a person leaving "the gay life" to get married, I'll believe you when you show me evidence that reparative therapy is successful in the long-term. :sleep:
 

Nuriko

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You're kidding right?? "Oh, I think I'll just turn gay...getting discriminated against sounds great!"

As far as a person leaving "the gay life" to get married, I'll believe you when you show me evidence that reparative therapy is successful in the long-term. :sleep:

For that matter, I challenge ANYONE who believes in reparative therapy to prove that it changes attraction, and NOT just behaviour.
 

Rube

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first: you have not answered the question i asked in the beginning of my rebuttal to your comments. second: why do you say that i chopped and made up sentences attributed to you? the Quote i used in my rebuttal is the same exact full sentence that is in your post.....

Here is what you said I said:

"you say that gay men make the claim that they neither become nor choose to be gay just because they want to "validate" a "lifestyle"."

Here is what I actually said:

"The evidence is that people have overcome disabilities, addictions, and behaviors in their lives to be the person they want to be. Some people become gay and some leave the gay life to become married. Your idea of being a prisoner to your desires, is not one of authentic freedom.

It seems with all the gay group statistics and such you are pushing for a validation of your lifestyle more than an understanding."


Somehow you took my first thought about free choice and combined it with my accusation that the OP is "pushing gay group statistics" .."for a validation" to suggest that gays choose homosexual behavior to validate a lifestyle. As any reasonable person can see I was addressing free will in one instance and the efforts of the OP in the other.

Yes, I know of women who slept with multiple girls (only) and now are married. Yes I know of 2 men who conceived children, one who has left the mother and is dating other men and one who is cheating on his wife and young daughters with other men.

You come across as an authority that people cannot choose. But it is clear from the above examples, and from historical examples in various cultures that have experimented with gay sex (rome, athens, modern day afganistan), that the sexual act is freely chosen and can include any gender.
 

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I have had a lot of friends take steroids to get stronger, none of them drink or do other drugs though; I think it would be strange to combine steroids with a lot of alcohol, can't work out hung over
 

fightingspirit

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I have had a lot of friends take steroids to get stronger, none of them drink or do other drugs though; I think it would be strange to combine steroids with a lot of alcohol, can't work out hung over

common man ....since when men take steroids to be stronger? people bike, do push ups, and swim to be stronger. people lift weights to be sexier. as far as steroids, i dont know.....some men want to see their balls get smaller maybe???
 

OMFSCardsFan

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common man ....since when men take steroids to be stronger? people bike, do push ups, and swim to be stronger. people lift weights to be sexier. as far as steroids, i dont know.....some men want to see their balls get smaller maybe???

Shouldn't you be working on your occlusion questions?
 

blue_moon01

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Here is what you said I said:


Yes, I know of women who slept with multiple girls (only) and now are married. Yes I know of 2 men who conceived children, one who has left the mother and is dating other men and one who is cheating on his wife and young daughters with other men.

You come across as an authority that people cannot choose. But it is clear from the above examples, and from historical examples in various cultures that have experimented with gay sex (rome, athens, modern day afganistan), that the sexual act is freely chosen and can include any gender.

It's true that sexual acts are freely chosen but being gay is not defined by sexual acts. Straight people aren't defined as straight because they never have sex with members of the same sex, they are straight because they are only attracted to members of the other sex. The attractions they felt are not conscious choices, it's a subconscious respond. PEople cannot choose who they are attracted to and who they can fall in love with.


Straight=attracted to members of opposite sex
Gay -attracted to members of same sex
bisexuals-attracted to both
 

dentwannabe

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Yea, one of the dentists I worked with was gay. He was a nice guy -- a little moody, but what dentist isn't??

Basically, its all a professional environment so lets just keep it that way. It shouldn't be a big deal and it shouldn't be a 'hate-factor'.
 

The_Sensei

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I strongly suggest you direct any and all "gay dentist"-type questions toward Aphistis. He would be the most qualified to handle them.
 

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For that matter, I challenge ANYONE who believes in reparative therapy to prove that it changes attraction, and NOT just behaviour.

Apparently you can go through some extensive "therapy" and come out heterosexual.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250513,00.html

Of course, they say nothing about whether or not you'll still be addicted to crack, but at least you'll be cured of The Gay.
 

aphistis

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Really, can anyone get me his phone number?
You can ask my wife, but I doubt she'll give it to you. ;)

The_Sensei has a long & distinguished history of anti-dentist trolling. Don't pay too much attention.
 

Sprgrover

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I strongly suggest you direct any and all "gay dentist"-type questions toward Aphistis. He would be the most qualified to handle them.

Please leave the childish insults on the playground and out of the forums.
 
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