Attitudes of physicians practicing in New Mexico toward gay men and lesbians in the profession

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Abstract

PURPOSE: To examine the attitudes of physicians practicing in New Mexico toward gay and lesbian medical students, house officers, and physician colleagues. METHOD: In May 1996, the authors mailed a questionnaire with demographic and attitude questions to 1,949 non-federally employed physicians practicing in New Mexico. The questionnaire consisted of questions dealing with medical school admission, residency training, and referrals to colleagues. The response rate was 53.6%. RESULTS: Of all the responding physicians, 4.3% would refuse medical school admission to applicants known to be gay or lesbian. Respondents were most opposed to gay and lesbian physicians' seeking residency training in obstetrics and gynecology (10.1%), and least opposed to their seeking residency training in radiology (4.3%). Disclosure of homosexual orientation would also threaten referrals to gay and lesbian obstetrician-gynecologists (11.4%) more than to gay or lesbian physicians in other specialties. CONCLUSION: Physicians' attitudes toward gay and lesbian medical students, house officers, and physician colleagues seem to have improved considerably from those reported previously in the literature. However, gay men and lesbians in medicine continue to face opposition in their medical training and in their pursuit of specialty practice.

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