Defying expectations of a woman growing up in Arizona in the 1960s, Patricia Grayhall fled Phoenix at nineteen for the vibrant streets of San Francisco, determined to finally come out as a lesbian after years of trying to be a “normal” girl. Her dream of becoming a physician drew her back to college, and then on to medical school in conservative Salt Lake City.
Though Patricia enjoyed a supportive friendship with a male colleague, she longed for an equal, loving relationship with a woman. But her graduate medical training in Boston, with its emotional demands, long hours, lack of sleep, and social isolation, compounded by the free-wheeling sexual revolution of the 1970s, made finding that special relationship difficult. Often disappointed but never defeated, Patricia—armed with wit and determination—battled on against sexism in her male-dominated profession and against discrimination in a still largely homophobic nation, plunging herself into a life that was never boring and certainly never without passion.
A chronicle of coming of age during second-wave feminism and striving to have both love and career as a gay medical doctor, Making the Rounds is a well-paced and deeply humanizing memoir of what it means to seek belonging and love—and to find them, in the most surprising ways.
That summer of 1976, David and I traveled by train to New York for the Gay Pride Parade. It had been seven years since Stonewall. The 1969 riot in Greenwich Village erupted after police raided a gay bar in the city and the occupants resisted, jump-starting the gay rights movement.
That day, we waved jauntily to a busload of tourists from Kansas who were hanging out the windows and snapping pictures of us in our rainbow t-shirts and tiaras. The mood was upbeat and joyous, the attire outrageous and colorful. David and I were marching in front of a float full of drag queens in reflective mirrored sequins, huge speakers blaring Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby.” We were swept up in the moment, singing along and laughing, gay and proud, our arms around each other’s shoulders. Among the crowd, I saw smiling faces—people of all ages waving rainbow flags and giving us the thumbs-up.
Then David squeezed my shoulder. “Oh God, Patroosk, they’re filming us for the TV news.”
I flinched, remembering we had to hide our sexual orientation from our employers.
The year of the Stonewall uprising was the same year I came out of the closet as a lesbian in San Francisco. Then I had to hide in the closet in Salt Lake City, and again during my difficult internship. It had been challenging being in the minority as a woman, let alone as a lesbian, in the medical field.
For this one day, our first gay pride parade, we could freely announce to the world who we were, and revel with other gays and lesbians—with pride.
The hell with hiding. I stepped in front of the camera.
About the Author
Patricia Grayhall is a medical doctor and author of Making the Rounds: Defying Norms in Love and Medicine as well as articles in Queer Forty and The Gay and Lesbian Review.
After nearly forty years of medical practice, this is her debut, very personal, and frank memoir about coming out as a lesbian in the late 1960s and training to become a doctor when society disapproved of both for a woman. Patricia chose to write using a pen name to protect the privacy of some of her characters as well as her own. She lives with the love of her life on an island in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys other people’s dogs, the occasional Orca and black bear, hiking, and wine with friends.