The gay doctor wants to show everyone that you can be thorough professional even as you express yourself.
A gay doctor from Chicago is encouraging members of the LGBTQIA+ community to express themselves, especially at work, rather than hide their identity. The primary care physician in Chicago who goes by the username @thatgaydoctor has made it his personal mission to increase queer visibility at work and online. For the sake of his privacy, he prefers to be known as the gay doctor and he regularly posts videos on TikTok and Instagram encouraging other LGBTQIA+ to express themselves.
He is also aware of the lack of LGBTQIA+ representation in medicine and he hopes to change that. @ThatGayDoctor says it's the fear of homophobia at work that causes people to hide their true selves at work or otherwise. He wants to change that. "I want to show everyone that you can balance being a respectable professional while also being your authentic self," @ThatGayDoctor told BuzzFeed. He is aware that TikTok and Instagram are platforms that are dominated by the younger generation. He is hoping his message reaches those struggling with accepting their identity. He also added that he hoped to help other healthcare workers with some positive communication practices.
Through his videos, he wants to show people that it's ok to be proud of who you are. "So many of us can be out and proud in our lives, but feel like we have to mask our true identity in the workplace," said @ThatGayDoctor. "I want to show people that it's okay to be out and proud." He adds that even talking about being gay is key when it comes to pushing for equality. He even wrote a rap about being a gay doctor, who's sex-positive and non-judgemental. The lyrics go: "I won't shame you for having sex and I'll use your right pronouns/I get to dress like this but you still have to wear these gowns," and "If you don't want to be judged then you've come to the right place/I'll help you with your problems, I'm not just a pretty face.
He has more than 500,000 followers on TikTok and 42,000 followers on Instagram. Thanks to his visibility, other aspiring LGBTQIA+ doctors also often approach him seeking help to carry on their practice without having to hide their true selves at work. He also added that medical students and residents often ask him if it's ok to be openly gay at school or work. "There is a huge fear that they will be judged or excluded for sharing this integral part of their personal life. Many people who are out in their personal lives go back into the closet in the workplace in order to 'be professional,'" he added.
The primary care doctor had come out as gay only in his final year of his undergraduate and added that he wished he could embrace his sexuality at a younger age. He is now hoping he can serve as that inspiration to whoever is looking to come out of the closet. "I often wonder about how it would have impacted my life trajectory. Of course, I think things worked out pretty well, but there will always be the 'what ifs' that I wonder about." When asked about how he dresses, the doctor added that he dressed to express himself and to let his LGBTQIA+ patients know that he is someone they can approach.
He also addresses and reacts to policies affecting the LGBTQIA+. Recently, Arkansas state passed a discriminatory law allowing medical practitioners to turn away LGBTQIA+ members and he had some sharp words on it. "I can’t even begin to understand how this is happening in 2021. Open and blatant discrimination in medical care. Refusing services to someone based on WHO THEY LOVE and who they were born to be. It is despicable and absolutely heartbreaking. Because of this, more queer individuals will continue to leave the state," he wrote.