As I look at these light displays in two of Baltimore’s iconic buildings, I am aware that in all the years, it is the first time that this has happened here. I think of how the White House was bathed in rainbow colors when marriage equality became a reality. I think of friends and acquaintances who are now wife and wife, and husband and husband. I think of the couples who are now enjoying parenthood. And I feel proud.
Then my other, more realistic side kicks in: The bills being introduced against trans kids and adults, the effort to deny healthcare in some instances, and the still present bigotry …. While we are all in the process of emerging from a very challenging year and a half in our lifetime, some people’s prejudices seem to have been exacerbated.
I do realize though that focusing entirely on the negative is debilitating and in fact, ignores the full reality of all the progress we have witnessed. Further, that path consistently leads to anxiety and depression, so it is crucial to keep the positive viewpoint in mind. It is a marker of cognitive ability to maintain both aspects of a situation within our consciousness.
I also think of the resilience that is at the heart of any one or any group when change is an absolute requirement. I can’t think of any aspect of social progress that is linear. It is always up and down, forward and backward and building on increments, at times losing hope but again and again, bouncing back. To continue this journey, we need connection with those who support us and with whom we share common goals and values. Sometimes a single person can start a movement, but others will be needed to keep it going and advancing.
The divisiveness that has been all around us in the past few years does nothing other than destroy those connections and harm the relationships we have built. The task now is to re-connect, re-establish, and strengthen our social bonds, to be around those we care about and re-convey that love. I know many friends, couples and families that not only could not see one another, but also grew apart with their outlook on the political scene. Let’s remember: No person is an island.
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