Homosexuality was officially removed from the list of diagnosable mental illnesses (the DSM) back in 1973. But at least one doctor’s office in North Carolina seemed to have not gotten the memo as of earlier this week.
That’s when Kristina Rodriguez, 29, caught a glimpse of her medical records during an office visit to have blood work done. And what she spied stunned her: “lesbianism” included on the “problem list,” alongside “anemia” and “situational anxiety.”
Rodriguez, who lives in Indian Trail with her wife and their 15-month-old twins, shared an image of the records on Facebook with the following post: “Someone PLEASE PLEASE enlighten me as to how this is relative to my medical problems?! I am completely SPEECHLESS. If this were listed under sexual orientation up near the top that would be one thing, but I wasn’t aware that being legally married to a same sex partner was a medical condition/problem. It is rare that I jump up on social media like this, but someone else tell me how this is legal?!”
The Jan. 24 post has been shared more than 200 times and has nearly as many comments, with some suggesting that Rodriguez sue the doctor at the Lake Park Family Practice of Carolina’s Healthcare System.
One commenter angrily noted, “Do they note everyone’s sexual promiscuity on medical records as well?! Good grief! What about people who text while driving? Don’t wash their hands in a public bathroom? Crash dieters? Those are actual choices that can be hazardous to your health. Do they list those problems too? I live in Lake Park and have heard other issues about this practice but this one takes the cake.”
Another commenter noted, “On the bright side…your BP was excellent,” adding, “Pretty sure it would be different now.”
In a statement released to Yahoo Beauty, Carolina’s Healthcare System said, in part, “Sexual orientation is not a clinical diagnosis and we will be working closely with our physicians and providers to ensure that information included in medical records is appropriate, respectful and consistent with our belief in the importance of diversity. We strongly support diversity and inclusion in all our interactions with patients, the public and our teammates, including creating an affirming environment for LGBT patients and their families.”
Rodriguez told WSOC-TV, which first reported the situation and also printed the official response, “I thought it was a great statement. It seemed sincere.”
She tells Yahoo Beauty, “I was motivated to speak out on behalf of the community, so that someone younger or less confident would know that this isn’t a ‘problem,’ and who you love doesn’t belong on a medical chart.” Rodriguez says that whether or not she changes medical providers at this point will depend on “how they handle this and removing it from my record.”
The mom of two had also followed up on her Facebook post after hearing back from her doctor about why he had included Rodriguez’s sexuality on the list of medical problems.
“He stated that he put it in there for my protection so that people wouldn’t accidentally refer to my partner as husband or partners as boyfriend,” she wrote in the comments section on her original post. “He stated he could list it somewhere else, he could list it next to my name instead so that other practices would know it when I came in. So I suppose my chart will now say Kristina Rodriguez, lesbian. Unless I want it to say problem list: anemia, Lesbianism. Unfortunately it’s hard for him to remove it, but his boss will call me tomorrow. He says it’s a flaw in their software bc it’s the only place to list it. He tried to make it better but honestly it just made me more frustrated as to why this should be listed in the first place?! People see my kids and I all the time and ask ‘where daddy is’ or ‘my husband’ [and] that’s not offensive and I didn’t need protection for that. It was a hard response for me to buy, but I get it… Regardless, unacceptable. I will fight to change this policy of theirs and the way it reads on paperwork.”