On Being LGBTQ in Medical School

My girlfriend joined me during orientation week, and I was half-expecting to encounter at least some confusion or surprise as I introduced her to my future peers. Instead, I was met with unanimous, unquestioning acceptance. That being said, I’m very glad that I arrived at med school already in a relationship, because I can’t speak to a visible LGBTQ community within the confines of campus. Certainly there are opportunities out there — interest groups, selectives, and affiliated organizations. Additionally, the Grove — the small but vibrant hub of LGBTQ activity in St. Louis — is a 5-minute walk from campus. Bottom line: Opportunities exist if you’re willing to put a little effort into finding them. Finally, as far as taking the big steps and challenging heteronormativity, the gender binary, etc., I would say you’re mostly out of luck wherever you go. The expectations and presumptions of the mainstream social structure are rather hopelessly ingrained in the medical mindset, at least for now. As students, the best we can usually offer is another voice to raise awareness.

— Alyssa K., M1