My podcast on coming out to your doctor ultimately started with Sir Ian McKellen. I met him in September 1992, years before his jump to stratospheric fame in Lord of the Rings, X-Men, and his Oscar-nominated role in Gods and Monsters. In 1992, the term “LGBT” was just beginning to get a foothold, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hadn’t even been issued yet let alone repealed, and Ellen’s historic coming out on TV was five years away. Legalizing same-sex marriage seemed like a pipe dream to me. I had the privilege of introducing Sir Ian at a post-performance reception for Richard III at Royce Hall in LA. The UCLA gay and lesbian alumni were honoring him as the first openly gay man to be knighted.
After my introduction, he leapt to the podium, pierced me with his sky blue eyes and then turned to speak. He was self-effacing in saying that “there wasn’t anything special” about his coming out. Yet, he acknowledged that every time an individual does take this step, the effect can be monumental in one’s sphere of influence. He was both luminous and down-to-earth. Funny and inspiring. He’s one of my heroes.
Twenty-two years later, I forgot to publish my blog on October 11th, National Coming Out Day. That says something about how far the LGBT movement has come or how far gone my memory is. Anyways, one thing I’ve never forgotten since listening to Ian McKellen is the significance of coming out…especially to your physician. Coming out Coach Rick Clemons says that not revealing your sexuality puts your doctor at a disadvantage. To put it bluntly, not coming out is a liability for you and the doctor. Doctors are investigators and every aspect of your life is a piece of a puzzle that may make a diagnosis. The more pieces of the puzzle, the faster you both reach an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Do you need guidance in coming out to your doctor? Listen here with Rick Clemons, Edgar Reece, and Dr. Jason Schneider.