"Are you a practicing homosexual?"

  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Aug 20, 2009 6:28 AM GMT
    So, a few years ago i began to experience really serious, burning pain when I urinated. I figured, "OMG I have VD." I made an appointment with the doc but could not get one with my regular doc who is a really cool guy. I had to see this older guy, kind of creepy (but not because he was older, just because he was). We talked about my sexual history, and he said in a very stern and serious voice, " Mr. Davis are you a practicing homosexual???" I was taken aback by that. I was angry, but all I said was I had been sexually active. What would you have said to they doc? Some smartass comeback? A lecture on not being a stupid homophobic bigot? I want to be prepared in case it ever happens again.

    As it turned out I had a prostate infection, undoubtedly from not being safe. Yes, I then had three HIV tests six months apart, all negative. Felt very lucky and learned a valuable lesson.
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Aug 20, 2009 2:23 PM GMT
    I am not practicing - I am an expert, and I would be happy to give lessons.
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:30 PM GMT
    i would have torn the doctor a new one. There is NO WAY IN HELL i would EVER take that sitting down from the doctor.

    depending on the mood - i would either

    A) Go batshit crazy and cuss out the doc, letting him know just how i felt about asshole bigots like himself

    or

    B) Proceed to tell him ALL about (in wonderful nasty detail) my sexual activites with men.

    Never - EVER - take that, especially from someone you are paying. Not only do i think it should be grounds for reporting a doc, it should never be something ANYONE could bring up as a service-provider. they are being paid to help you, not to criticize or try to push their disgusting bigot behavior on you.
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:37 PM GMT
    In 1970 at Fort Knox, Kentucky, I developed a urinary tract infection, with the classic symptom of burning urination. It apparently also got into my prostate, and to this day chronic prostatitis is one of my VA-rated service connected disabilities.

    And the Army doctor (Captain) who saw me asked: "Have you been seeing prostitutes in Louisville?" I answered no truthfully, and he said he knew I was lying. No, I wasn't lying, I insisted, this started while I was living out in the field for several weeks without taking a shower, because the field showers were broken, and it was cold with snow on the ground. In fact, I was still living out there, and had only come back to the post clinic that day to have this problem treated.

    He finally seemed to accept my explanation, and gave me some antibiotics. But I've had recurring flare-ups the rest of my life.

    Prostate infections are very difficult to eliminate. Mine has become chronic (permanent). I recommend you see a urologist immediately, to make sure you are being treated aggressively and correctly, probably with something like Septra DS for an extended period. But have a specialist determine that.
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:41 PM GMT
    ok wait, u have a sexual/urinary dysfunction, and a doctor wants to know the specifics of your sex life. the way it was asked maybe was lame, but knowing if you have receptive anal intercourse is pretty reasonable for prostate issues. i would say.
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:41 PM GMT
    Well it's just a question that's helping him make a diagnosis / determine risk factors, etc, is it not? I'd have no problem answering. I agree that it's probably not a NECESSARY question (you could ask 'do you have unprotected sex' instead I guess). It's on the blood donation questionnaire.

    Is a question 'are you married?' equally offensive? If not, why not?

    **Edited: I just re-read the OP and if the complaint is about the delivery (i.e. there was judgement in the tone), then yes I'd be a bit offended.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 20, 2009 2:41 PM GMT
    I might have said... "practice makes perfect". Are you a "practicing physician"?

    icon_mad.gif
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:42 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidI might have said... "practice makes perfect". Are you a "practicing physician"?

    icon_mad.gif


    Brilliant! icon_cool.gif
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:44 PM GMT
    Well Yes and no, I do take it up the ass once in a while but I'm not that observant is mainly a Christmas, Easter, off my face on cocaine and Smirnoff ice on gay pride sort of thing you know?
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    Aug 20, 2009 2:45 PM GMT
    I wouldn't blow it too far out of proportion. You're assuming that he intended the question to be judgmental when in reality he was probably doing what lots of doctors do - being clinical. While he might not get an A+ for good bedside manner I think you're probably making more out of it that necessary.

    Had he said "well, this is what happens to you practicing homosexuals' it would have been different, but seriously, it's not worth getting your practicing panties in a twist over unless he said or did anything that insinuated he was imparting judgment on you.
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    Aug 20, 2009 3:05 PM GMT
    Try this for hurtful questioning: a couple of weeks following 9-11 I rode from my rural farming town into a city that had a blood bank, so I could make a donation. I was brought into a cubicle where a screener asked me questions and entered them into his computer.

    I found it revealing that one was "Have you ever been imprisoned for more than 72 hours?" implying that I would have been anally raped by then, and a possible HIV carrier, a disturbing comment on our US prison system. I answered no.

    But then I was asked if I was a homosexual. I'm an honest person and said yes. The screener did a double take, perhaps confused by my leather motorcycle jacket, and the helmet on my lap. He explained that perhaps I didn't understand that a homosexual was a man who had sex with other men. I told him I did understand that, and I was one.

    That reply brought up another screen with more questions. Did I ever have sex with other men? Yes, I did. Had I had sex with another man in the last 6 months? Yes, again.

    The screener looked very confused, and said he needed to check with his supervisor. He was gone about 5 minutes. When he returned he sat down without a word and started typing away at his keyboard. Finally he turned to me and said:

    "As a sexually active gay man you are prohibited from donating blood. I have just entered your name and Social Security number into a national data base, that will block you from donating blood for the rest of your life. Don't attempt to make a donation, because all blood agencies access this data base, and will see that you are barred."

    I asked if I could appeal this, or have it reviewed, since I didn't have HIV or any STD. He said no, it was Federal policy, and that concluded my business there.

    I rode back home, for the first time in my life feeling dirty about being gay. I want that policy changed, and if the Obama Administration does so, I will be among the first to donate blood, as I did for many years prior. I am HIV negative, have never had an STD, and aside from my chronic prostatitis, have no diseases whatsoever. And in fact, I have a rather rare blood type.
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    Aug 20, 2009 3:10 PM GMT
    RV, the FDA has banned blood donations from gay men since 1985, and the range of that ban said that any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is excluded from donating.

    While it's unfortunate timing that you found out about this right after 9/11, it's been in effect for decades. The guy was just doing his job.
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    Aug 20, 2009 3:17 PM GMT
    badmikeyt saidRV, the FDA has banned blood donations from gay men since 1985, and the range of that ban said that any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is excluded from donating.

    While it's unfortunate timing that you found out about this right after 9/11, it's been in effect for decades. The guy was just doing his job.

    I know this, and I had no animosity towards him personally. My prior donations had almost all been in the US Army, where that homo question was never asked. I think they asked about current illnesses and such, and the date of my last donation, but it was a very superficial screening. And I recall donating at a VA hospital, which had my medical records, and again the gay question wasn't asked.

    But this was the first time I'd tried to donate at a public blood bank, and had never run into that questionnaire before. I guess I never will again. icon_sad.gif
  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Aug 20, 2009 3:20 PM GMT
    Everytime i go see my Dr. they ask about my sexual activity. Ask if I'm safe.
    I am a homosexual and have anal sex anyway I can get it. No shock to anyone of my doctors. Wait til you get treated for a fissure that make a medical professional go OUCH! The questions stop there.
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    Aug 20, 2009 3:33 PM GMT
    I wasn't there to fully get the tone of voice and the conversation, but I don't see what the big deal is. It is a perfectly valid and relevant question at the doctors when you think you might have an STI.
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    Aug 20, 2009 3:37 PM GMT
    My doctor is a female, whose practice is mainly HIV-positive gay men. But she's also the Medical Director of the SMART Ride, the 165-mile bicycle ride down to Key West that raises money for HIV/AIDS agencies.

    As my health is tenuous, and she medically approves all the riders, plus her entire office attends the ride, I figured I should make her my personal doctor so she's there if something happens to me when I ride. And indeed, last year she patched me up when I crashed, and I finished every mile.

    My partner couldn't have her as his own doctor at first, because of some exception to his health plan dealing with his not being HIV positive (which I'm not either, but my own coverage allows it). But this year some rules in his plan changed, so now we are both seen by her.

    And we talk freely with her about our sexual activities together, which are rather vanilla, I must confess. But also monogamous. Even so, when I had my blood work done this week, before a routine visit next week, I made sure an HIV test was included. My partner does the same thing.

    We both know the results are always negative. But the reason is the example we set. He works part time, and I volunteer, at the largest HIV/AIDS agency in the state of Florida. We would have no credibility if we couldn't honestly say to people that everyone in the GLBT community should be tested for HIV regularly, if we didn't do it ourselves.

    And so we do. At the office of a doctor whose practice is HIV, and with whom we freely discuss our gay sex lives. I simply couldn't imagine it any other way.
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    Aug 20, 2009 3:44 PM GMT
    Cobalt said...Proceed to tell him ALL about (in wonderful nasty detail) my sexual activites with men.

    Hell yeah! That's what I would do too.
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    Aug 20, 2009 4:15 PM GMT
    Sparkycat said We talked about my sexual history, and he said in a very stern and serious voice, " Mr. Davis are you a practicing homosexual???"


    I've found over the years that people who feel like they should be in authority sort of subtly try to position themselves into a parent/child relationship with others. That is to say, he's talking to you like you're a child, and he's your parent, so he thinks he can talk down to you and treat you like a child.

    You're not a child; you're an adult, and you deserve to be spoken to as an adult, not accused like you're a child. Moreover, you are paying him to provide you with a service. I've found that I can usually shut down this behaviour by asking a pointed question in return:

    "What makes you think you can speak to me that way?"

    This tends to make them stop and think for a second. They're so accustomed to bullying people around without being challenged for it that they get taken aback a little when you demand to be interacted with as an adult. It's kind of entertaining to hear them sputter.
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    Aug 20, 2009 4:20 PM GMT
    I'm an expert. My boyfriend can vouch for that. icon_biggrin.gif
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Aug 20, 2009 4:32 PM GMT
    I'm gonna keep practicing till I get it right...

    But, I did work for a national gay organization for seven years. So, during that time you could say I was a professional homosexual (I'd prefer that than "gay-for-pay".)

    Seriously though, I had a similar experience with a "straight" older doctor. He didn't know how to treat a rather basic sexually transmitted disease. I guess he had an older practice. I immediately went out and found a doctor with a primarily gay clientele who was familiar with the health issues of gay men. Let's face it, there are certain things we can be exposed to that most doctors might not know how to deal with or to warn you of. That lack of information can put you at risk. I can't advise strong enough that you should be out to your doctor and that your doctor be very familiar with issues affecting his gay patients.
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    Aug 20, 2009 4:43 PM GMT
    Practicing, Hum, I would ask; "Define what you mean by practicing?" Then he would have to say sexually with men or something like that, the you could reply, "Oh, like sucking cock?" You get my point. Sometimes you have to stand up and not be silenced. Put it back in their face. Guys like that whom stand up, gets my vote.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 20, 2009 4:53 PM GMT
    It's funny that most of the people in this thread immediately go into victim mode and assume the doctor was being anything other than clinical in the way he phrased the question. It must be a really heavy load to carry to assume that people are always out to denigrate you.

    Again, if the doctor in question didn't lecture you about being gay, didn't tell or insinuate that being a 'practicing homosexual' was anything other than something he wanted to know to better/more quickly diagnose your issue, then who cares?

    As EricLA pointed out, gay/gay friendly doctors have more experience in this realm, which is hardly a victory for any of us if the implication behind that sentence is that they're used to the regular instances of STD's their patients bring them to treat.

    At any rate, OP, by your own admission this happened several years ago. The only person who can/could tell you what was meant by the question (if anything) is the doctor in question, so either call him and tell him that you've been stewing on his question for years and give him an opportunity to explain himself or just move on.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Aug 20, 2009 5:22 PM GMT
    MsclDrew saidWell Yes and no, I do take it up the ass once in a while but I'm not that observant is mainly a Christmas, Easter, off my face on cocaine and Smirnoff ice on gay pride sort of thing you know?


    So like twice a week? icon_wink.gif
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Aug 20, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
    badmikeyt saidAs EricLA pointed out, gay/gay friendly doctors have more experience in this realm, which is hardly a victory for any of us if the implication behind that sentence is that they're used to the regular instances of STD's their patients bring them to treat.


    Well, I think it's more than that, but if a gay man is sexually active there are certain things he should be made aware of. I'm not sure how many straight doctors know to advise their gay male patients to get Hepatitis A and B inoculations. I don't frequent bath houses, but a couple of years ago MRSA virus was spreading in that environment. I read the paper, so I was already aware of it, but it was good to have my doctor warn me of the possible threat. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples I could cite. I just believe that gay men are doing themselves -- and their health -- a disservice if they do not have an informed primary physician.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Aug 20, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
    Is it possible he just isn't very tactful. I have been asked by several physicians if I were gay, and some were better at doing so than others. It actually does make a difference when they know. I can see how some older doctor really didn't know how to ask that question in any other way.