Gay Nurses... help! Gay Nurses... help! | allnurses

Gay Nurses... help!

  1. 0 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 edit by quakerkid on Sep 29, '05 : Reason: Clarifying my question:
  2. 181 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    3
    Hi and welcome to All Nurses. Personally, I work in a large level one trauma center and though I'm not gay, I don't self-disclose much information anyway just because I'm a pretty private person. I do work with some gay/lesbian nurses and its pretty relaxed - they occasionally mention an outside activity with a significant other but it is no big deal. To be perfectly honest, we are a very busy place and we rarely have time to discuss outside things at all. Sorry, if I wasn't very helpful - I started writing this and then realized that we don't have much time for discussing outside things period.
  4. Visit  truern profile page
    15
    Honestly, I would never "assume", nor would I care who you have sex with

    I would only care that you're a great nurse...and an even better friend.
  5. Visit  RN34TX profile page
    4
    Every hospital and each unit within that hospital has it's own culture so I don't think that any blanket advice is appropriate at all work places.
    Most places where I've worked I've been the only one on the floor so I still have yet to see where all of these supposed gay nurses are because I rarely work with any of them despite the stereotype.
    There are several where I work now and they all of course had to feel me out and ask the usual questions when I first started to see if I was gay or not, but I think everyone does that. The entire crew, straight and gay, hang out together even outside of work without any problems but not all units are this way.

    When I start at a new place, I make it very clear that I live with a guy and have never been married nor have any kids. Of course many of us have been married and do have kids but if someone can't figure out that a guy at age 35 who's never been married nor have any kids nor ever speak of any female love interest is definitely gay is in deep denial and deserves to have it thrown in their face at an awkward moment.
    That way, I'm making it quite clear of what I am without offending co-workers who get tired of having the "gay agenda" or "people's sexuality" thrown in their face.
    Of course straight sexuality is never thrown in our face at work but that's a whole other topic.
    Trust me, you need to make it very clear from the beginning or as time goes on you're going to have awkward moments such as female co-workers asking you out on dates and people asking about when they are going to get to meet your wife/girlfriend etc.
    Not that any of these situations are particularly traumatic but I've made the mistake of assuming that people knew about me and then when these situations came up there were some hurt feelings and it ends up coming up at a bad time.
    Some straight co-workers will get hurt that you didn't think enough of them to share that part of your life with them while others will be repulsed at the mere mention of it so you need to be careful with how you present it.
    Of course it's not something that needs to be announced to the unit on your first day of orientation but I can tell you from experience, the longer you wait, the more awkward it gets.
    I've worked LTC, Med/Surg, ICU, and PACU in several different states and every place and floor is different with their attitude toward gays.
    You'll always have the cool hip folks who like to go to gay clubs with you, the testosterone pumped ER/ICU junkie who's scared to death that someone will think he's gay if he stands too close to you, the suburban mother RN who pretends that gay life doesn't really exist but prays for you at church on sunday,etc.
    Every type of person makes up a given hospital unit.
    You'll be able to feel your co-workers out and do it appropriately.
  6. Visit  mwbeah profile page
    3
    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!
    First of all, if your nickname is a play on Penn I have to say "Go Quakers" (I am Penn SON class '96, Hillman Scholar). I am a military CRNA and former L&D nurse.

    Second, let your work speak for you. I work in the military (married with wife and two beautiful children) and there are straight and gay people in all arenas of the nurse corps. Of course you know we have the "don't ask don't tell" policy so it is never really an issue.

    I personally do not divulge personal information, but I do not lie either. If I am asked about a certain aspect of my life I am truthful. That's my advice to you.
    Mike
    dbowen, dream& achieve, and leemacaz like this.
  7. Visit  Tweety profile page
    19
    I'm 100% out in my job to my coworkers, managers, everyone. I would not work in an environment where I couldn't be myself. They have a policy of tolerance and nondiscrimination written in their human resources policies.

    My work speaks for itself and my sexual preference is a non-issue.

    I wear a wedding ring because I'm happily "married" to my same-sex partner for 8 years and naturally patients occasionally presume I'm married to a woman and I don't correct them. When it comes to patients, I don't discuss the fact that I'm gay because it has no bearing on the care I provide. Occasionally a patient will pick up on my gayness. I never ever hide who I am when asked.....by anybody, patients included. They wouldn't ask if they weren't prepared to deal with a positive answer.
    Jarreux, gonzo1, dbowen, and 16 others like this.
  8. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    3
    Tweety - I was hoping you would come along. Thanks so much for the eloquent words. judi
    xaireel, sharpeimom, and leemacaz like this.
  9. Visit  Tweety profile page
    0
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Tweety - I was hoping you would come along. Thanks so much for the eloquent words. judi

    Thanks Judi!
  10. Visit  Jessy_RN profile page
    1
    Quote from Tweety
    I'm 100% out in my job to my coworkers, managers, everyone. I would not work in an environment where I couldn't be myself. They have a policy of tolerance and nondiscrimination written in their human resources policies.

    My work speaks for itself and my sexual preference is a non-issue.

    I wear a wedding ring because I'm happily "married" to my same-sex partner for 8 years and naturally patients occasionally presume I'm married to a woman and I don't correct them. When it comes to patients, I don't discuss the fact that I'm gay because it has no bearing on the care I provide. Occasionally a patient will pick up on my gayness. I never ever hide who I am when asked.....by anybody, patients included. They wouldn't ask if they weren't prepared to deal with a positive answer.
    So many people can learn mcuh from you Tweety. Seriously, I admire you all the way.
    willthrashforcash likes this.
  11. Visit  Fun2, RN, BSN profile page
    0
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    So many people can learn mcuh from you Tweety. Seriously, I admire you all the way.
    I feel the same way Jess does, Tweety.
  12. Visit  Tweety profile page
    0



    Thanks guys, I'm blushing... :imbar
  13. Visit  RNIT profile page
    0
    Hey,
    I agree with pretty much everything people have expressed here and it's good to hear the support. I'm not sure i have all that much to add but i just thought i might tell you my way of dealing with it in case it helps.
    I've been out since i was 16 and so i am thoroughly out of practice at changing pronouns etc. If I am sitting with people i work with and there is some down time and we are just chatting and the subject of s/o's comes up and i mention mine i just say "oh my boyfriend and i..." or something to that effect. I think that most would agree that i am not throwing anything in their face because it is no more than any person in a heterosexual relationship would do. Sometimes people at that point get a look on thier face that would suggest they think they have never met a gay person before, in which case i'm glad to be a good example for them. Since most, if not all, organizations have anti-discrimination and tolerance regulations including sexual orientation i feel that i am pretty well protected... i've never had a problem.
    As for patients... the little old ladies love to ask me, "So, are you married." I just say something like "oh, not yet." Of course thinking to myself "because it's not legal yet" (btw CT gay marriage started today woo hoo). I no reason to tell the little old ladies that i'm gay... they seem to want so much for me to be happily married. I had one pt. ask me directly if i "liked girls"... he was psych pt. so i told him i did. With pts you have to play it by ear but you can always fall back on the standard "i would rather not discuss that since it doesn't help me care for you any better or worse" or something to that effect that they teach us in nursing school.
    Hope some of this was helpful... in my opinion: it's not a political thing, it's a personal thing.
  14. Visit  jnette profile page
    1
    Quote from Tweety



    Thanks guys, I'm blushing... :imbar
    Add me to the list of Tweety Worshippers................ :chuckle

    Ya done good, Tweets. Excellent post. I admire anyone who says what they mean and means what they say.

    Now blush away, my Friend !
    dream& achieve likes this.

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