OHSU Family Medicine Shows its Pride

Resident, Will Pérez, MD, On What Pride Means to Him

06/20/16  Portland, Ore.


This weekend, OHSU Family Medicine showed our pride as we marched along our colleagues in the Portland Pride Northwest parade. Among the team was Will Pérez, MD, who shared what the walk meant to him:

As a gay man and more importantly as an openly gay physician it is important for me to walk along side my friends, family and colleagues in the gay pride parade. This walk is made all the more special doing so behind the OHSU banner which represents the inclusivity that is harnessed within the OHSU health system.

I have struggled with the feeling of having to choose between being a a doctor and being openly gay. When I married my husband this past December, the question often comes up in clinic visits about my presumed "wife" as my patients assumed that I was heterosexual. These moments no longer make me as uncomfortable as they used to but they are sobering reminders as to how easily we presume to know people, who they are, who they love and what they believe in. I don't always correct my patients as I am aware of a small fear inside of me that by disclosing my sexual orientation, my rapport will be lost thinking that it somehow shines poorly on me to be gay or a flaw in who I am. This feeling that exists in me as an educated and empowered physician with agency makes me all the more aware of how strong this fear may be among my patients who often lack agency of their own, who are homeless, struggling with their own sexuality or victims of abuse. 

I believe in creating a safe and open space for my patients to be who they are and to discuss all the many and deeply personal aspects of their lives that affect their health. Being present at an event as public as the city's gay pride parade and festival is a way for me to celebrate both who I am and who my patients are.