Friday, September 01, 2017

No End to Injustice

Written by  Janan Broadbent, Ph.D.

Wow! I dare not even imagine what all may transpire by the time this article appears in print. But last night’s news dump – with the military transgender action, Sheriff Joe’s pardon, other political happenings, and the hurricane in Texas – may not have any rivals. How to keep one’s sanity and survive in these times? How do we, whether a minority member or not, deal with the anxiety over the vulnerability we feel for ourselves, our friends, and families? Some people choose to limit their exposure to all media, and that may work for them as long as one does not have anything to do with the consequences of these developments. For most of us, if not for ourselves, there is a person or a group we care about, that is affected by the new rules.

Seeing one more man incarcerated for years when he was proved innocent, reading the stories of men and women who have died in Arpaio’s jails with no medical attention and no definite paperwork as to cause … these all make my blood boil. I do, however, want to turn my attention, and yours, to what we can do to address these injustices. And this is where I focus on what comprises our personal world: Our families and friends. However we decide to contribute to any cause, first, how do we deal with those in our sphere who may disagree or not support our beliefs? How do we not feel disappointed? The key is not to take it personally, to respect whatever they believe, and then disengage if a civil discussion cannot ensue. You may see that on any social media thread, there are those who immediately launch into personal attacks and name-calling. Surely one can argue, even passionately, on any subject? When it becomes insulting, then the only option is to disengage because no productive result can follow that course. This may go so far as to breaking up relationships and friendships, as I have recently seen in families. But let us be positive, which good mental health requires. How do we stay true to ourselves?

Remember when you first learned to ride a bicycle? Or when you first mastered any other skill? That sense of power? Of feeling like you own the world? So tap into that feeling and remind yourself that bad times come but they also go. Do those things that you enjoy; spend time with those whose company and support make a difference in your life. use humor, whether by watching a funny show or movie, or reading jokes. Most of all, strengthen your connections with people who are important to you and look for opportunities to be with people who support your causes. There is strength in numbers. Seeing thousands of people marching for minority rights, or for marriage equality lifts our spirits and adds to our sense of community. That, in fact, is how we fight helplessness.

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