Allow me to share my story of what I have experienced firsthand and how I have grown to understand the unique challenges in healthcare that we face as LGBT. Too many times friends and patients have told me how they were treated by a doctor or nurse who “did not understand them” or who judged them based on their sexuality. I have had friends and patients share with me how they were too afraid or embarrassed to get an HIV test in their small towns back in Alabama, West Virginia or North Carolina (and even here in Atlanta), due to fear of being shamed. I have heard the stories from my HIV positive friends and patients who tell me they were too fearful to reveal their status to their medical provider in fear of being judged or shamed or treated like they were less than.
I Have Heard Your Stories
I share similar experiences as a gay boy who grew up in a devout Christian family in a small coal mining town in southern West Virginia. I have heard the jeers, the derogatory comments. I’ve experienced the implicit bias and felt the thickness of the stigma as I have walked into a room. I sometimes think back on my journey and wonder how I survived the shame often associated with growing up gay in a place where we are told we are “bad” or made to feel that we are different.
The truth is that we are different and we deserve a medical provider who understands that a gay man, or a lesbian woman, or a transgender man or woman have different healthcare needs than a straight or cisgender person. We all deserve better. You deserve a medical provider who appreciates that there are specific challenges the LGBT community face when it comes to our health. You deserve a provider who understands and relates to you, a provider who keeps your best interests in mind.
I look forward to working together with you.