We, the LGBT community, have achieved a great deal in the past few years. A few states granted us the right to marry and our military personnel are no longer forced to hide their sexual orientation. We seem closer to social equality. Unfortunately, complete social equality is an illusion at this time. An encounter I had with a supposed medical professional will serve to illustrate my point.

Our primary care physician at Johns Hopkins White Marsh did not have any open appointments on November 1, 2011. We chose another doctor who could see us that day. We had previously consulted with this doctor and even considered asking him to become our primary care physician. At the close of the appointment my partner asked the doctor if he was accepting new patients.

The doctor told us that he had strong Christian values and that he did not condone our relationship. He told us that he treated a man once who requested Viagra. But, according to the doctor, because the man was not married he refused to prescribe the medicine. I asked the doctor if he thought what he just said contradicted his oath to do no harm. The doctor told me that we did not have time to discuss that. I walked out without acknowledging the doctor, without the customary salutations. To me, he did not deserve such social niceties. My partner and I were shocked. We were in a nightmare involving our medical care, homophobia, discrimination, and religion.

I have written letters to his supervisor and informed the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland concerning this encounter. I am not sure of what the outcome will be. But I do know this: We, the LGBT communities, must not become complacent. We must be vigilant and fight against social injustice, discrimination, and homophobia. We must challenge authority, especially when that authority thinks/believes that we are inferior because of our sexual orientation. I, personally, will challenge anyone, regardless of credentials, who tries to make me feel inferior, who tries to undermine my sense of self and worth as a human being using religious rhetoric. I encourage you to do the same. Do not condone such blatant, overt acts of homophobia and discrimination through passivity and complacency. ACT!

Jeffrey Dieter
Nottingham, Maryland