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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA dean: It’s OK to be gay

Lee Jones, a surgeon turned psychiatrist, has lived all over the country practicing medicine. On Thursday, he spoke to students about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues in health care and their college advancement into the professional medical field.

Jones, the associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the UA’s College of Medicine, also delved into his personal experiences on Thursday at noon in Room 412 of the Student Union Memorial Center as part of the “”Out on the Job”” lecture series.

“”Talking about medicine in (the) LGBT (community) … it’s a hard thing to do. It’s really variable from specialty to specialty,”” he said. “”The good news is that there’s been very active involvement and things have changed a lot in the last three to five years.””

Jones, who has been with his partner for more than 20 years, shared his “”coming out”” story.

Nervous about his parents’ reaction, he had left a voicemail on their recording machine stating, “”You need to know I’m gay. Call me when you’re ready.””

He received no answer from his parents. A few days later, his father called and informed Jones that he had called the wrong number, and left a voicemail on his neighbor’s answering machine.

“”This is the best thing. Don’t you ever do that again. Don’t you ever keep such a big part of who you are away from us,”” Jones quoted his father after the incident.

One man spoke out about how he had problems getting his mother to understand why he was gay.

A critical problem that members of the LGBT communtiy face is health care disparities.

“”It’s really hard to argue that people don’t deserve health care based on things,”” Jones said. He noted that religion and politics often play into the way LGBT individuals are treated.

“”Doctors don’t think to give lesbians (a) pap smear because they’re not sexually active with men,”” Jones said. “”They think they never have been active with men, and that’s the only reason to do a pap smear.””

He said men also face unaddressed troubles. Gay men are about three times as likely to have an eating disorder than straight men.

“”It started off really being about how to support LGBT applicants, students, staff and ultimately patients. How do we serve them?”” he said.

Cynthia Lee, a public health and pre-business junior who helped put together the event as an LGBTQ Affairs intern, said she felt the biggest issue with LGBT individuals at the UA is many of them are scared.

“”It’s hard to get the word out and say that it’s OK to come out,”” Lee said. “”These kind of events are a liberating experience and tell you that it’s OK. Just being an ally helps by showing that you support.””

Jones ended his lecture by encouraging anyone experiencing issues in applying to medical school or for jobs in any field to contact his personal email.

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