Surgery is a Male Dominated Field
Although we have come along way, many old school practices still remain in the surgical world. Many practices that I as a woman and a lesbian, have to challenge daily. During medical school, I intentionally chose a residency training program that I felt was more progressive. The program heavily valued diversity, was a but there were no LGBTQ+ faculty or residents when I started. So from the beginning, I made a conscious decision to be “out” to my co-residents and surgical attendings. There was no wondering, no assumptions. I put myself out there from the start. I’m comfortable with myself and I’m comfortable talking about my wife and family, so it normalizes it.
I decided others don’t need to make a safe space for me- I make a safe space them.
A space where we can talk openly. I can share my story and they can share theirs. Since then, I have also made a conscious effort to do the same with patients. I have found this to be a great opportunity to open their hearts and minds. I only share my personal life when it comes up, or if patients ask- often its correcting them when they ask about my “husband.”
99% of the time patients are visibly surprised when I share that I have a wife, and even more surprised that we have three kids.
I share this because this may be THE window where I can change their perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community.
I am their surgeon: a Hispanic, a lesbian, a wife and a mother- and someone who has spent the majority of my life training to help them. Most patients think highly of their surgeons, so now maybe they’ll think more highly of the LGBTQ+ community as well.
I think increasing visibility for our community is so so important. I personally try to be a more visible member of our community in my everyday life. I now never miss an opportunity to “out” myself- these seemingly small daily conversations we have may take our entire community one step closer to understanding and acceptance. Love is love, and there’s always room for more.