Dr. Carole Ann Boyd shares two truths that helped her defeat fear as a young dentist in 1984. During LGBTQ+ Pride month, the Texas trailblazer discussed the realizations that inspired her strides within dentistry over the 37 years that followed.

1. “If you don’t do it, who’s going to do it?”

Two years prior to Carole Ann Boyd earning her dental degree at Baylor College in Dallas, Texas, the Centers for Disease Control first used the term AIDS to describe a global epidemic originally linked to gay communities. Death rates were increasing exponentially, and lack of definitive answers created panic and stigma.

Then as a recent graduate, she diagnosed AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in a new dental patient. 

“Sure enough, we got him tested, and he was dead within two weeks. But he sent me all these people. He kept telling all his friends something that wasn’t true. He said, ‘Go see Dr. Boyd, she can tell you if you’ve got it,’ which wasn’t really true, only if they were end stage and had all the manifestations. But I got a ton of people in that period of time. I was terrified, I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t know how it was transmitted…it was really scary,” said Dr. Boyd, referencing the dental patients in her care at a solo practice she had established in North Dallas.

“I called one of mentors and said, ‘I don’t want to do this, I’m terrified.’ And she said, ‘If you don’t do it, who’s going to do it?’
I realized that’s true. It’s like coming upon a wreck in the desert and you’re the only one there, do you stop or drive on?
Well, I don’t know how you could not stop…it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding.”

– Dr. Carole Ann Boyd

2. “We deserve to be comfortable with who we are.”

Later, when Dr. Boyd realized so many people had no access to care and needed to know where they could find it, she took a brave step in her journey to come out. Though she had been “very closeted for quite a while,” she placed an advertisement for her dental practice in the Dallas Voice, which is an LGBT weekly newspaper.

I know it startled people to see me there. But I thought, ‘I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to let them know I’m here for HIV AIDS issues.’”

“I started to see the importance of living as who we are. No one chooses to be gay or trans or anything else. It’s just how they’re born. And we deserve to be comfortable with who we are.”


Find out what led Dr. Boyd to ride on a float in the Dallas Pride parade for the first time, and how she continues to providing support and create allies for the LGBTQ+ community in Dallas today. Read Megan O’Donnell’s in-depth interview with Dr. Boyd in Incisal Edge here.