For us LGBT'ers, there's another community of significant size that often goes unrecognized as a welcoming ally and home away from home -- the world of kink.
Despite the scary misconceptions of BDSM groups as full of predatory leather-clad sadists, sex offenders and emotionally damaged masochists, the kink community can be a hospitable place where "normal" people safely explore their not-so-normal sides. All the shuttered characters of the everyday world come out to play in full light. It's a twilight zone full of crossdressers, trans men and women, gay men and women, butch girls, femmy men and bisexuals everywhere you turn. While those in or searching for hetero relationships make up the majority, queers are very comfortable there.
The social contract in this situation is simple: Respect others' interests and they do the same for you. This creates an atmosphere in which LGBT folks feel at ease.
Add to that the genuine interest many members have in helping and educating their peers, and the usual social pressures are defused even further. Straight men often will play with the queerest, genderbending-est men to simply indulge curiosities such as how it feels to be worked over with that deer-skin flogger, or tied up and suspended from the ceiling. There's no uneasiness at playing across one's defined sexuality; there's no fear of judgment. It's simply one person doing a favor for another - a friendly offer of goods and services.
There is more to it than respect and helpfulness, however. Queers feel welcome for reasons beyond kink groups' tolerant attitudes. Like a lot of us, many kinksters grew up confused by their feelings, ashamed of their desires. Granted, those feelings and desires often relate to tying people up and hurting them, but the principle is the same. They lived in their own closets. They felt "not normal;" and as such, they grew up questioning the norm. When in an environment where being oneself is encouraged, they have that shared experience with the queers present. There is true empathy between kinksters, straight and queer.
In kink world, everyone fits the term "alternative sexuality," and the resulting bonds can be just as meaningful as those we find in the queer community.