The four-minute video takes place in a hospital and depicts a variety of people in different roles, such as medical staff, patients, and family members. Throughout, people go about their daily business, and we are made aware of what's going on inside their hearts via captions that appear near them. For example:
- An older African-American man, sitting in a wheelchair, is pushed into the entrance of the hospital, with the caption, "Has been dreading this appointment. Fears he's waited too long."
- A young, bald, Asian fellow walks down the hallway, with the caption, "Wife's surgery went well. Going home to rest."
- A sickly woman, sits in an upholstered chair, tubes running into her body, with the caption, "Day 29. Waiting for a new heart."
- A middle-aged man brings his wife a cup of coffee, with the caption, "19-year-old son on life support."
- A woman and a girl walk down the hallway and stop to pet a seeing-eye dog, with the caption, "Husband is terminally ill. Visiting Dad…for the last time."
The point is captured at the beginning of the video in a quote from Henry David Thoreau:
Could a greater miracle take place
than for us to look through each other's eyes
for an instant.
As I sat watching, I looked for the presence of gay people, wondering if scenarios affecting them directly would be included. Sure, any of the scenarios I saw could happen to a gay person as much as to a straight one. But I wondered if, along with acknowledging other minorities, the Cleveland Clinic would acknowledge gay and lesbian people as well, and the life-altering situations specific to them?
No, it did not. I did not see, for example:
- A father sitting by a hospital bed, holding his son's hand, with the caption, "Dying from AIDS."
- A man walking down the corridor, his head down, with the caption, "Husband killed in a car accident."
- An older man, talking to a doctor, with the caption, "Male life partner of over fifty years just had a heart attack."
I realize the world isn't just about gay people or being gay. I get that. And no one is saying that we, as gay people, should get special treatment, in any way, shape, or form, just because of our sexual orientation.
But how progressive, and respectful, it would have been if the Cleveland Clinic had acknowledged the existence of gay and lesbian people, and had shown they have hearts to see inside too. If it had used this opportunity to prove that, in matters of the heart, gay people are no different from anyone else?
If you wish to see the video in its entirely, please click here.