From Our Listeners

Letters: Being Forced Out Of The Closet

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Talk of the Nation listeners comment on past shows, including the consequences some experienced when they were forced to reveal their homosexuality. Also, listeners responded to our show with Dr. Abraham Verghese about his quest to bring back medical exams.


It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments. Our program about the repercussion when gays and lesbians are outed brought this comment from Wyatt Sandburg(ph): As a gay man who's been coming out for the past three years, I was completely mortified when someone would inadvertently out me since I wanted to notify people on my own terms. Now, I have no fear in being outed. I'm open and honest about my sexual orientation, and I expect people to be respectful of my identity and not be embarrassed or attempt to cover me up. Outing must be done in a way to normalize human sexuality, not to objectify or sensationalize it.

Our conversation with Dr. Abraham Verghese about his quest to bring back the humble medical physical exam prompted Christopher Chen(ph) in Philadelphia to write: I am a fourth year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, and I think one of the major reasons why the physical exam has fallen out of favor is that it's simply not taught well. Students are increasingly isolated from the patient. We play smaller roles in patient care. And at our institution, we face hurdles in doing simply tasks like phlebotomy or inserting a urinary catheter. This clearly has a negative impact on how we are taught to examine patients.

In Bill Bryson's discussion about the things in our homes that mystify us, Karen in California described a niche in the stairwell of her 1887 home, which she was told is a coffin corner. Ken Druce(ph) sent us this note: We all have coffin niches in Brooklyn, New York. Bodies were laid in state in upstairs bedrooms, and in order to carry the coffin up or down without titling it in tight brownstones, it could be backed into the niche to make the turn on a small staircase.

Finally, earlier this year, we spoke with Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz about their book "Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery," in which they examined the death of Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old Washington intern who vanished without a trace, the media circus that followed and the critical mistakes made by police in their investigation.

Jury selection in the trial of Levy's accused killer began here in Washington on Monday. If you'd like to catch up with that program or any others you've missed, go to Click on TALK OF THE NATION. While you're there, you can sign up for our newsletter. We'll send you a daily update of what's coming up on the program and how to get in on the conversation.

And if you're on Twitter, you can follow me there @nealconan, all one word. And as always, if you have questions, comments or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address: Please, let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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