5 Health Tips for National Coming Out Day

Saturday October 10, 2020

National Coming Out Day is on October 11. While many people consider how expressing their authentic sexual orientation and/or gender identity may affect their relationships when coming out, it's equally important to take ownership of your medical needs. EDGE chatted with Dr. Evan Goldstein of New York City's Bespoke Surgical to better understand the critical steps LGBTQ people can take to ensure they're receiving compassionate and appropriate medical care.

Find a physician who identifies as part of the queer community or is at least an active ally.

This is the only way that they will be a true confidant and help you navigate the medical space successfully. This is paramount to overall health and wellness because it encourages open and honest communication lines and a better chance of specialized care.

Remember that your annual physical evaluations should involve your sexual health, too.

Sexual assessment and establishing your baseline is all we do at Bespoke Surgical, and it is imperative to your future. A full examination is a must, in and out of the anal region, especially if you bottom (exclusively or regularly). The key to success is understanding your anatomy and building a foundation, making sure you and your doctor shape and match its function to your sexual desires.

Risk assessment fully opens the door to risk mitigation.

How do we analyze your behaviors—without judgment—minimizing the risk directly for you and the community? Educate yourself on PrEP and/or PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), as well as STD management and algorithms, and having a plan for disclosure if you test positive for STD(s) and/or HIV. I support the use of prophylactic antibiotics and antivirals if I know you're engaging in higher-risk activities. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Still, they're a few examples of the education that I think is a must, mostly since some of the riskiest behaviors usually occur when people are still in the closet. Don't wait for the last minute to make the appropriate changes to your sex life.

Anal pap smear and cancer preventative management should be performed once a year.

A good baseline at the initial onset allows for a true understanding of the Human Papilloma Virus and whether it is warranted. I believe everyone, especially those who bottom, should receive Gardisil (the HPV vaccine) at any age, as we have seen significant improvements across recurrences and/or cancer management. Get it!

Serial follow-ups with all your providers—both medical and psychological—allow for success in the future.

Initially, it can be quite common, since there are so many new emotions and physical challenges that you may go through. Working with professionals to develop a game plan and make adjustments along the way will be much easier when you like and respect them (and vice versa).

Being honest with yourself and being proud of who you are is a serious undertaking and coming out can sometimes be difficult. If I have learned anything during my own coming out process, it's that you cannot and should not do it alone. With that, it's imperative that you find a supportive network long before you even come out. Everyone's journey and timing are different, but regardless, we at Bespoke Surgical are here to support everyone and wish you the best of times ahead. Happy National Coming Out Day!