Author: Grace Gilbert
Pride is something I celebrate, advocate, and hope for on social media, in my personal life, and in my career. Yet the moment I was asked to write for ortho pride, I was instead filled with fear.
My immediate response was, can I wait until after I match?
Because as much as I am proud of who I am, who I am becoming, as much as I want to be an openly queer career driven surgeon, I am afraid. I am afraid that I may offend someone, and be ranked lower. I am afraid that even those who are not anti-LGBTQ will find my advocacy annoying or “too much”.
A friend of mine casually mentioned recently that it’s “trendy to be gay now”. I understood what he meant, and to some degree it’s true. We have public figures, celebrities, sports stars all publicly gaining a lot of media attention for who they love.
However, that is the select few. Those that we already worship for their beauty, money, success, or talent we accept.
I have to ask though, was it trendy last year when my classmate, a Doctor, was the victim of a hate crime and had to have his jaw wired shut after being attacked? Is it trendy for my sister-in-law, a trans-woman who lives in Texas, to watch as bills are being passed to make it child abuse to allow children to transition?
Is it trendy that LGBTQ youth have the highest rates of suicide out of any group in America?
I am entering the least diverse field of medicine in existence. There is no specialty with less women, less minorities, less IMGs, or less LGBTQ members.
As a woman I have dealt with sexism on this journey. As an IMG I have dealt with discrimination. And yet, I am still afraid that I will not be able to handle how I am treated for who I love.
So what can you do? Pity me? Poor Grace, it must be scary. Write a diversity statement? Lobby for more gay residents?
Truly, all I ask for is a safe space. I don’t need to be celebrated, I don’t need a parade.
Speakup Ortho was not created to get more women into orthopedics, although I hope it does. Orthopride was not created to force feed a narrative to anyone who disagrees with our life style.
These accounts are here to allow you to see what is truly happening to us everyday. They’re here to let you try on our shoes, for the time it takes to read an Instagram post.
I understand more than most, that for many, my orientation defys your beliefs, religion, and culture. I don’t ask you to vote differently, or believe differently. I ask that as I work 80+ hours a week, I can come to work knowing that my colleagues, attendings, and administrators have my back. That they will not mock me or my community in front of me, or behind my back.
Basic, human, decency and kindnesses. That’s all anyone wants. That’s what pride is to me.
That’s what I hope to gain by being an active member of this community.
*Grace matched into a preliminary general surgery position at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN and will be re-applying to Ortho next year.
Grace Gilbert's IG page: @Gilbert.MD.RN
© 2022 Pride Ortho is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
114 Forrest St, Suite 2C, Brooklyn, NY 11206