Gay Nurses... help! - page 12

Hi - Wondering if any gay nurses have an insight into some concerns i've been having... How much do you self-disclose about yourself? What do you say when patients assume you are straight,... Read More

  1. by   RochesterRN-BSN
    I am in psych ER and including myself we have 2 nurses, a mental health tech and the head social worker that are lesbian. As well as a nurse that left that is Bi and my ex-partner used to work there as well! So needless to say I am out at work to my co-workers.....as far as patients, I don't generally offer this info. Though a had an older (in her 60's) lady the other day telling me about when I was talking to her about getting out and making some friends for support.......she had daid she was lonely and has not had a partner since the late 90's! She tells me that her therapist told her about a ladies coffee at one of the local gay/lesbian coffee places but she wasn't sure what night is was. So I tell her that I know of this place and that they meet on Thursdays........She says to me......oh are you one of us?---it was cute. I told her.....yeah actually I am , off the record of course. Thats the only patient I have ever told. It's interesting though because we actually get a lot of LGBT patients---both out and young patients who are questioning, or struggling with the process--I feel so temped to tell then and think that I should be able to but I refrain.
  2. by   BroadwayRN
    I think most patients think that male nurses are gay. One it shouldn't matter, Two it is no ones business. I think the only reason is because nursing used to be traditionally a womans occupation. This proves the double standard theory. Do patients think most all female doctors are lesbians? No.

    Don't worry what patients or co-workers think. If they have a problem it's theirs don't make it yours. Your high standards and excellent nursing care and skills will do all your talking for you
  3. by   feralnostalgia
    I'm a gay nursing student...and its been kind of bothering me the way that the literature on male nurses keeps aggressively asserting things like "people may assume we're gay, but we're not! very very manly, straight men here!" it's kind of insulting. can you imagine if the same response happened for a racial or religious stereotype?

    "I think more people would get into this field if they weren't so often assumed to be Jewish. the majority of us are not Jewish and this harmful assumption shouldn't be made!" there'd be an uproar...nobody would publish it. I've read a dozen instances of the same thing happening with "gay", though.

    the lengths people go to to dispel the "male nurses are gay" stereotype really just underscore how little respect people have for GLBTQ folks. maybe instead of leaping to assert their heterosexuality or masculinity, they could point out that gay nurses are just as good at their jobs as straight ones, and that it's not a reflection of a person's character?

    I get assumed to be straight all the time. I don't see why people think it's ok to freak out when the reverse happens.
  4. by   RochesterRN-BSN
    I get assumed to be straight all the time. I don't see why people think it's ok to freak out when the reverse happens.[/quote]

    ``Funny........I am a lesbian RN and get assumed to be straight most of the time as well.......(course unless someone see's me at a gay bar! lol ) but I agree, not sure why it's such a big deal for a straight person to be thought gay/lesbian when we often get assumed straight. Guess it's because I am not butch.......
    Double standard. But as you know it's an uphill battle and we live in a straight minded world. Closed minded at times too. But hey at least we now have a president who is in our corner!
  5. by   feralnostalgia
    Quote from psychRNinNY
    But hey at least we now have a president who is in our corner!
    here's hopin'.

    as far as presidential aid...I'm reminded of the old Russian proverb "Pray to God, but row for shore."
  6. by   Atheos
    Quote from feralnostalgia
    I get assumed to be straight all the time. I don't see why people think it's ok to freak out when the reverse happens.
    It IS ok. Who are you to say that someone's feelings aren't legitimate. In any case, not ALL of us freak out.

    And let's be realistic, in some places it's still taboo and some times people are a tad nervous when it concerns their sexuality and others talking/knowing about it or discussing it.

    You can't really fault them so in the end it IS ok for someone to freak out because one's sexuality is highly personal and others shouldn't be encroaching on that. I mean, for you to be gay and be ok to be assumed to be straight is fine if it is fine for you. For someone else to be a bit ambiguous and not want someone else to concern themselves with it is quite acceptable.
  7. by   ZanatuBelmont
    Quote from quakerkid
    Hi - Wondering if any gay nurses have an insight into some concerns i've been having...

    How much do you self-disclose about yourself? What do you say when patients assume you are straight, and ask you about your girlfriend/wife? How about when they assume you are gay?!? How appropriate is it to be out to them? to your co-workers? Certainly there is a double standard, as straight nurses would be 'out' at work (by talking about thier family, or feeling comfortable self-disclosing about their family), but what techniques do you use at work?

    Oh, and if you respond - please mention a little about what kind of nursing you do.

    Thanks so much!

    EDIT: Thanks for the first several responses - I wanted to update my question a little. I guess I am asking specifically about the situation when patients ask about your personal life (which, during nursing school, we were taught not to disclose, since the focus should be on the pt. not on the nurse.) But at the same time, we have to build a healty, healing relationship... answers?
    Last week at clinical rotations I was asked by my patient how long I've been married (I have a wedding ring). I told her my wife's name is Stephanie, when actually, HIS name is Steven. I didn't feel comfortable disclosing the fact that I'm married to a person of the same sex, so I lied. It depends on where you live, I suppose. I'm in East Texas, the most conservative part of the state. I'm not just going to whip out small-talk about my marriage, even though that's all it was, small talk about how long I've been married (and technically, I live in Texas, so my marriage from California isn't even valid THERE anymore!).
  8. by   feralnostalgia
    Quote from SDBreaux
    Last week at clinical rotations I was asked by my patient how long I've been married (I have a wedding ring). I told her my wife's name is Stephanie, when actually, HIS name is Steven. I didn't feel comfortable disclosing the fact that I'm married to a person of the same sex, so I lied. It depends on where you live, I suppose. I'm in East Texas, the most conservative part of the state. I'm not just going to whip out small-talk about my marriage, even though that's all it was, small talk about how long I've been married (and technically, I live in Texas, so my marriage from California isn't even valid THERE anymore!).
    one of my close friends is a CNA (and a damn good one) who was doing home care working for a family with an adult with Cerebral Palsy and some developmental issues. the patient got to talking to her, and she admitted to having gay friends. my friend is a devout charismatic christian, so was the patient, but he started complaining a LOT and eventually started screaming that she would give him AIDS by touching him, because she touched gay people. this was in southwest arkansas. I hate living here. I don't blame people for not wanting to be out at work.
  9. by   itsbuzzy
    I basically don't go running around with my "Honk if your a Homo" bumpersticker, but I don't hide it either. I just see that as one small detail that makes up who I am. If someone justs wants to concentrate on that one small thing, they are complete idiots and not worth the time. When I first started nursing school I didn't tell anyone, not because I'm ashamed it just never came up. When we started having study groups and one night a few of the people cancelled and it was just gonna be me and another dude at my house, I told him. I felt like if I'm hanging out with someone 1 on 1 then they should know. After I told him we studied and did our usual routine. On a funny note he asked me if he was my "type" and I said "No, i like guys not whiney little b****es". After that night slowly more people found out and no one cares. I'm not obvious, i'd prob be one of the last people that someone would think was gay, based on the stereotypes, so some people were surprised. As for patients, I don't tell them unless they ask. Most of the patients i've dealt with don't really care, so I'm not really approached on the floor alot about it.
  10. by   LuxCalidaNP
    Onboard with Tweety...except for one thing. I keep things about my orientation DL unless a patient asks. For me, it is always a question of "who it serves to tell." That being said, I have definetely had bigotous patients who made off-color comments or gay-bashed, and I do make a point of disclosing my orientation and my preference for them treating us with the same respect that we treat them
  11. by   inshallamiami
    Quote from TLCinCICU
    I did have a patient once who pushed me to the point I almost wanted to burst into rainbow flames at the end of the shift and say "By the way, a big ol' queen has been your nurse all day!" He was demonstrably racist and from an area of the state where there is a rumored active KKK group. He wouldn't allow either of our techs on duty that day to put him on a bedpan, give him a bath - anything that compromised his modesty. (One tech was an African-American male. The other was Hindu female. Each of them was both personable and professional.) He would shoo them out of the room and ask for his nurse if they even poked their head in to answer his call light. However, my own conscience wouldn't allow it. He'd felt comfortable with me all day (frequent stooling from a lower GI bleed) and shown me only kindness and gratitude. My desire to make a rather emphatic point wasn't important enough to risk undoing whatever progress he'd made throughout the day by adding anger & stress to his CICU stay.
    What a kind person you are, and a better nurse than me.
    Last edit by inshallamiami on May 18, '09 : Reason: i know this is an old post, but i was impressed with this person.
  12. by   carpediem_1271
    I'm going to make a quick reply here, only because I find this subject interesting on many levels...

    First off, I'm not a nurse. I'm not even a nursing student, I'm seriously considering a career change in nursing and I'm in the process of deciding which school I'd like to apply to. I am an IT manager, I have gay friends and one of my employees is openly gay and has an adopted child with his life partner.

    I don't see how being gay is any different than discussing other aspects of your personal life and I don't think it's extra special or should have such special considerations. As a society, we've placed these extra special considerations in this area and give it more importance than it deserves in my opinion. If you're gay and you decide to be open about it, there are going to be some people that openly do not accept this, patients and coworkers. There's not a whole lot you can do about that as those people are entitled to feel the way they want to feel. Abuse and discrimination are a whole other realm of intolerance and are, without question, another issue altogether. Opinions and non-acceptance, however, is natural and is perfectly acceptable. If you feel justified telling people about your most personal life, you should feel justified dealing with someone's opinion, despite how ignorant it may be.

    I'm an alcoholic and I have not had a drink in almost 4 years. Seems unrelated right? It's not... Wherever I go, whatever situation I find myself in socially, eventually someone asks me to go to a bar or club or whatever and the awkward questions begin. Sometimes it's as simple as me ordering a softdrink somewhere or someone offering me a beer or glass of wine to which I decline. That ALWAYS generates a question and/or prodding to have a drink (think about this, many of you do this all the time). I continue to decline which generates more questions and eventually I just have to tell people that I don't drink. This elicits the same response almost universally. "At all!?!?" Then the exchange of glances, the uncomfortable realization and the abrupt end to the questioning. There is a preconceived notion that alcoholics are all borderline gutter drunks. Truth is, one day I just decided that I was tired of planning my social calendar around hangovers and the ability to drive or share driving duties to/from social events with friends and coworkers. I got tired of the whole thing and I was unable to change it a bit without cutting it out altogether. So I've been dry for almost 4 years and I couldn't be happier. No meetings, no step programs, no counseling, just personal resolve and an inner strength. I HATE to talk to people about this because it makes me feel weak. It is a weakness for alcohol that has driven me to this situation after all... I guess my point is that I keep it personal because I don't care to allow people to judge me, as they always do when they find out that I don't drink alcohol at all (I've only told those that are very close to me that I'm an alcoholic. I just let the others have their theories and opinions).

    I'm not directly comparing being an alcoholic to being gay. Two completely different life situations, unrelated in every way possible. I'm just saying that we all make decisions to discuss aspects of our personal lives with those we work with or share time with. Telling people about your sex life is a personal life choice. Opinions are also personal life choices. I cannot expect to hamper yours if you decide to criticize mine so I choose to be selective. It is ultimately my choice who I allow to know my most personal business.

    Just my .02 I can easily and openly say that I genuinly love a few individuals who are openly gay, not because of their lifestyle choices, but because they are wonderful examples of human beings. There are so many reasons to dislike people. My acceptance of someone based on their sexual orientation seems rather strange if I have no interest in having sex with them :c)
    Last edit by carpediem_1271 on May 19, '09
  13. by   ZanatuBelmont
    Quote from carpediem_1271
    i'm going to make a quick reply here, only because i find this subject interesting on many levels...

    first off, i'm not a nurse. i'm not even a nursing student, i'm seriously considering a career change in nursing and i'm in the process of deciding which school i'd like to apply to. i am an it manager, i have gay friends and one of my employees is openly gay and has an adopted child with his life partner.

    i don't see how being gay is any different than discussing other aspects of your personal life and i don't think it's extra special or should have such special considerations. as a society, we've placed these extra special considerations in this area and give it more importance than it deserves in my opinion. if you're gay and you decide to be open about it, there are going to be some people that openly do not accept this, patients and coworkers. there's not a whole lot you can do about that as those people are entitled to feel the way they want to feel. abuse and discrimination are a whole other realm of intolerance and are, without question, another issue altogether. opinions and non-acceptance, however, is natural and is perfectly acceptable. if you feel justified telling people about your most personal life, you should feel justified dealing with someone's opinion, despite how ignorant it may be.

    i'm an alcoholic and i have not had a drink in almost 4 years. seems unrelated right? it's not... wherever i go, whatever situation i find myself in socially, eventually someone asks me to go to a bar or club or whatever and the awkward questions begin. sometimes it's as simple as me ordering a softdrink somewhere or someone offering me a beer or glass of wine to which i decline. that always generates a question and/or prodding to have a drink (think about this, many of you do this all the time). i continue to decline which generates more questions and eventually i just have to tell people that i don't drink. this elicits the same response almost universally. "at all!?!?" then the exchange of glances, the uncomfortable realization and the abrupt end to the questioning. there is a preconceived notion that alcoholics are all borderline gutter drunks. truth is, one day i just decided that i was tired of planning my social calendar around hangovers and the ability to drive or share driving duties to/from social events with friends and coworkers. i got tired of the whole thing and i was unable to change it a bit without cutting it out altogether. so i've been dry for almost 4 years and i couldn't be happier. no meetings, no step programs, no counseling, just personal resolve and an inner strength. i hate to talk to people about this because it makes me feel weak. it is a weakness for alcohol that has driven me to this situation after all... i guess my point is that i keep it personal because i don't care to allow people to judge me, as they always do when they find out that i don't drink alcohol at all (i've only told those that are very close to me that i'm an alcoholic. i just let the others have their theories and opinions).

    i'm not directly comparing being an alcoholic to being gay. two completely different life situations, unrelated in every way possible. i'm just saying that we all make decisions to discuss aspects of our personal lives with those we work with or share time with. telling people about your sex life is a personal life choice. opinions are also personal life choices. i cannot expect to hamper yours if you decide to criticize mine so i choose to be selective. it is ultimately my choice who i allow to know my most personal business.

    just my .02 i can easily and openly say that i genuinly love a few individuals who are openly gay, not because of their lifestyle choices, but because they are wonderful examples of human beings. there are so many reasons to dislike people. my acceptance of someone based on their sexual orientation seems rather strange if i have no interest in having sex with them :c)
    i've always wondered why people consider admitting one is gay as an announcement of one's sex life. when someone asks if you are married, and the answer is "yes, my wife and i for 10 years," people don't automatically think they are disclosing their sex life. just a simple fact - they are married and share a life together. why do people take on the complete opposite attitude when a homosexual "admits" their relationship?

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