Doctors know : It Gets Better

This is the video I co-created for the It Gets Better Project. You can learn more here: It Gets Better Project

The production quality leaves a lot to be desired, the wording could be more eloquent, but that’s not the most important aspect of this video to me.

When I was in medical school, the cover of the national medical student publication proclaimed that homophobia was the last accepted prejudice in medicine; the American Medical Association denied membership to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender physicians. In my own training I heard anti-gay slurs in operating rooms and received feedback from well meaning teachers embedded in homophobic expressions (one senior resident said to me,”Ted, you’re holding that suturing needle like a faggot.”) As a student, I really wasn’t in a position to say anything, because it was a reality that a person’s career could be cut short just because of who they were. At the same time, I was the recipient of incredible kindness, and great opportunities, by people who had been there, and wanted to make sure that those who came after them would make it better for the next generation.

The last time I recall being the direct recipient of anti-gay attitudes was about 3 years ago, when a senior physician leader pulled me aside and said, “Ted, this ‘gay rights’ thing just isn’t catching on.” This time, I was able to let him know in a happy, friendly way, about his error in judgement, person to person, across the medical hierarchy.

More recently, two very dear friends of  mine were victims of a brutal hate-based assault in New York City. People of all ages, all parts of society are still being harmed.

So for me, the most important aspect of this video is that I am able to participate, as I have been doing for my entire career, as a doctor, more recently as an employee of Kaiser Permanente (which scores a perfect 100% on the Corporate Equality Index and Healthcare Equality Index), to change attitudes and behaviors toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the medical profession, in health care, in employment, in society.

What I have seen is that the world is ultimately becoming kinder and more compassionate rather than less; what used to be normal in many parts of society is now abnormal. I’m here to help that process along. When I was a student, I was hoping this is the way it would go, and I am so glad to find out that it has, which really confirms that love always wins.



…and I am fortunate to share a community with thoughtful people who potentiate the spirit of the #epicenter. Thank you!


It's an honor to share, please use whatever you'd like and thanks for spreading the word,


Ted, first, the video is great. Thank you to the 4 of you for recording it and putting it on you tube.

I am not convinced at all that "love always wins" because most of the changes you are now enjoying have been really hard fought. Let's not forget that the fascists, fundamentalist religious and all other so-called moralizers are still around, haven;t changed their mindsets and will try to deny you your rights at every opportunity. We must all remain aware, because denying the rights of any individual for their sexual preference is equal to denying amy other universal human right.

Now let me ask you a non-trivial question: do you think that the bias you evidently experienced many times during med school explain, at least in part, why you are also one of the earliest and most ardent promoters of the concept of equal participation by patients in their care?

Hi Gilles,

I endorse what you're saying that we always need to be aware. One of the most dangerous things I have heard is said to me, "This is X organization/community, discrimination doesn't happen here."

Experiencing life as a minority is definitely related to my work to promote participation – no question about it. I promised myself after I got those two letters after my name that I would put them to use to make it easier for those who came after me, regardless of the basis of their disempowered status.

A long time ago a close friend told me, "I am so happy I was made this way," and I agree – it provides an unlimited amount of energy and perspective that impact my work, and connects me to a community full of creativity and innovation. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I am sure that the teens who are struggling today will feel the same way in their lives, that's the part about love always wins,



Great video! Happy to see Kaiser represented. I'm a 64 year old lesbian mom of two adult sons. I'm a social worker in the NICU at Kaiser Oakland and a proud member of KP Pride. PS. There are a lot of us around here. We ARE everywhere….

Dear Francie,

Thanks for taking the time to write a comment! As someone who grew up in the medical system, it always has extra special meaning to hear from a fellow professional in that system who is there, too, setting a great example. Glad I found the KP Pride group online, yet another benefit of social networking within an organization,


I appreciated your post. As a gay doctor, just starting FM residency this July, I'm not looking forward to the "should I be out at work" tightrope. It's good to see some perspective from the other side.


Hello Beach Bum,

I wanted to reply and say thanks and encourage you that more and more because of changes I see in the profession, the tightrope is more of a fleeting sensation as people get to know you and what you're capable of as a doctor, and that's great.

Best of luck to you and thanks for adding your diversity to the conversation and to the health of those who you'll support in your career,


ooh, this video gives me chills and Ted, you smiled!! I love it. will pass it on to many more.


Nice work, Ted–and thanks for the link to this excellent extraordinary project of hope and caring. The many videos are quite an inspiration. Watched half a dozen or more.


Here we are NINE YEARS LATER and I needed to come looking for this for someone … so glad you created it. Miss you, Ted!

Ted Eytan, MD