Celebrating Pride Month at {my}dentist

This week marks the beginning of Pride which is dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. At {my}dentist, we want to share the personal stories of some of our senior clinicians and operational team about coming out and the importance of being proud of who they are. The colleagues who share their stories also hope in their confidence to speak out that they will inspire or help others.

Our first story is told by our Clinical Director for Wales and South West, Susy Madrugo….

When I was younger, I didn’t have a burning desire to tell the world that I was gay, but I really wanted to tell them that I had fallen in love, was dating and happy. All my family, friends, colleagues at my practice and even patients wanted to see me happy, settled, to find a boyfriend, get married and have kids. I did not feel what my friends described as butterflies in the stomach when meeting a boy. Boys did not make me nervous at all, they made me feel comfortable. I hid the feelings I had for some of my female friends, so deeply so that no one could find them, not even me. I was ashamed of them and I tried to find reasons to justify these feelings. Society had taught me that a girl loves a boy and a boy loves a girl so I couldn’t possibly love other girls.

I graduated and moved to England; my feelings still had not managed to find their way out. One of our receptionists was chatting to an agency nurse and I overheard her talking about her partner, who was a girl and they had just broken up. As she went back to her surgery, the receptionist said to me “Aww, love her, she has no one to go on holiday with now.” And I replied, hushing, “I think she is gay”. And my receptionist carried on, speaking loudly, “Oh she is!” as if we were talking about what we were going to have for dinner.

I went home and I could not think about anything else other than the fact that for years I had felt that I was gay but could not accept it to myself, let alone others, and yet that nurse seemed so comfortable talking about it, even to someone she had just met!

I woke up and I came out to my flatmate, who was also a dentist. I told him that I had had a dream: I had a red mini, an ear piercing on top of my left ear, I had a girlfriend, and I was happy, the happiest I can remember ever being. I will never forget what he told me: “I can’t get you a girlfriend today, we can go to a car showroom but even easier, let’s find a piercing shop and get that box ticked”. And we did. And this piercing is still here to mark the day I came out to myself and others, after years of turmoil inside of me.

I told my receptionist who said, “Oooh exciting, you are going to get yourself a girlfriend now!” The support I had from my colleagues and friends was unbelievable and I did buy a red mini not long after and met my now wife Emily, with whom I have a beautiful daughter. And my receptionist and practice team have been at my wedding, baby shower and birthday parties.

I used to think that being gay was a choice. It isn’t. I used to think that I could hide being gay. I couldn’t. I thought that you could pick who you fall in love with. You can’t. I believed being gay was wrong. It isn’t. It is who you are, the way you were born and you cannot change who you are, at the core. I did not only come out as gay, I came out as myself, as who I actually am. I am a more confident, extroverted, secure, and positive person than I was before.

Coming out to your friends and family is difficult, and sometimes coming out in your workplace when you have a reputation to maintain is even harder. I am a firm believer that when you can express yourself, the real and best of you comes out and everyone wins. I have found a safe place in the UK and at {my}dentist to be the true me!

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