If you’re into social media, if you watch any TV, or even when you overhear others talking, it is impossible not to notice that in this past year, quite a number of people have become more open in expressing beliefs and opinions that would be considered hostile, bigoted and just plain rude. There was a time when a person would feel shame if they were caught in a lie. No more…

Last May, Omar G. Encarnacion wrote in Foreign Affairs (Foreignaffairs.com/articles/2017-05-02/global-backlash-against-gay-rights) that “No revolution worth its salt comes without pushback.” He states that in Western Europe and the Americas, this backlash could be efforts to intimidate the gay community and roll back rights. In Africa, the Middle East, and much of the pro-Communist world, it includes efforts to stop the movement even before it starts.

I am well aware that not everyone has learned to carry on a decent and respectful conversation. We really need to teach those skills starting in first grade in schools. This is really not a matter of sophistication but a life skill and moral values of being honest in expression while exercising respect for one another. There are school dropouts who may not have a huge vocabulary but can communicate with grace. Then there are others who can throw out fancy big words but are absolutely rude and offensive.

After the progress in LGBTQ rights, after marriage equality, we now seem to be seeing a wave of intolerance and attempts to roll back that progress. I just read through a Facebook thread where transgender issues were being discussed. It is disturbing that in 2018, there are so many individuals uneducated and prejudiced that they think it is a man dressed as a woman or vice versa to trick others. It is equally distressing that if you try to carry on a rational discussion, immediately the conversation turns into name-calling and attacking the poster and not the ideas.

This article started on a negative and discouraging note, but now I want to bring in where the pendulum may swing. There seem to be a number of books and articles written about gratitude, happiness, mindfulness, joy, balance in life and work and having an open mind. Inner peace and bigotry do not coexist. A quick search on Google comes up with 212 books on happiness. So I do think there is reason to be optimistic, that just as the pendulum swings one way, it will start to go the other way as well. I find comfort and hope in the Women’s Marches and the general resistance to going back to times of discrimination for all minority groups. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is hard to put it back, although we do see attempts to do just that with environmental issues and voting rights.

Let’s keep on watching each other’s backs and support treating each other with care, love, and respect. This tide will turn. It took a lot of our brothers and sisters to bring about the change in attitudes and beliefs about the LGBTQ community. We now have to protect those rights. t

Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577