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Reflections on “I am Cait’

LGBT Community Sensitively Portrayed on TV Show

Congratulations to E Entertainment for its portrayal of the challenges faced by the LGBT community. I have watched the first two segments of the “I am Cait’ television show and have been touched by the LGBT adults who have so openly shared their experiences transitioning and coming out, and subsequent issues they face. In case you’ve been asleep for the past few months, the TV program depicts the life of Caitlin Jenner (previously Bruce Jenner) in his transition to a woman.

For me the program is a wake-up call to the challenges faced by a segment of our population that want nothing more than to lead their lives as “normal” human beings. What could be more basic than that? What could be more of a basic civil right than that? Don't we all have the right to pursue happiness? -- in whatever form we choose?

I’ve been reflecting on the true message of the program, Caitlin’s experience, and the struggles faced by the LGBT community. For some this may not be a difficult issue. Those of us who find discrimination abhorrent in any form, we support the LGBT community and anyone who has been discriminated against because of national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. For others it may be a matter of non-acceptance of anyone who deviates from the “norm,” as they see it. For those of you out there, I dedicate this blog.

We live in very troubled times. During the past few years, discrimination against African Americans has reached new levels with the disclosure of certain actions by a small number of police officers who seem to be more aggressive towards black youth and young adults, certainly than they need to be and which is justified in these situations. Let me also make it clear that these instances do not reflect the attitudes of the vast majority of police officers, who are well aware of their responsibilities to all communities and sensitive to the needs of African American communities in particular. Still, some of these incidents are shocking.

Then, we have seemingly never-ending instances of senseless violence in movie theaters, recruiting centers, schools and elsewhere. Can there be any doubt we have a troubled society when so many instances occur and, in some way, they are linked to mental illness?

Today we have to be concerned about “lone-wolf” terrorists who are out to kill our servicemen, police, and, for that matter, all Americans because our values do not agree with their agenda. I worry whether we’ll reach a point in America when we stop and wonder whether we’ll be safe when we go to the movies, a shopping mall, or just eat or drink in an outside café.

Here is the bottom line for me. If LGBT people are good people, caring people, and hard-working people, then shouldn’t they be treated the same as any other American who meets these ethical standards?  

To me our happiness depends on living our lives the way it keeps us true to ourselves and our values. I’m reminded of the famous line in Hamlet when Polonius says to his son, Laertes, as a last bit of advice: “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Blog posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on August 4, 2015. Professor Mintz teaches in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He also blogs at: