On Valentine’s Day weekend last year I found myself at Paddles, the local dungeon in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, for the first time. I was perched at the alcohol-free bar when a man politely introduced himself as a human carpet. He asked that I tread on him and lay on the floor to demonstrate. A professional dominatrix-in-training stepped onto his chest and buried her stilettos deep into his belly. His eyes were closed, and he looked calm — blissful, really. As a medical student, I winced, imagining the arrangement of his delicate organs in relation to her vicious heels.
Just last month, the Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring bans on same-sex marriage illegal. While many hail this as a major step in the quest for equality, equity in health outcomes is still lacking in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Many clinicians and prospective clinicians do not receive significant training in how to address the unique needs of members of the LGBT population.