Editors' Note: Guest blogger Jim Toevs co-founded the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. In 1992, Jim was the Democratic nominee for Congress against then-closeted Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe. He resides in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
If you are a person of color, Jewish, or virtually any other minority that suffers from discrimination, the bosom of your biological family is almost always a safe haven of comfort and support. If you are suffering from racial or religious prejudice, the other members of the family can relate because of their similar experience. The family erects an "us against them" protective shield against the arrows of hurt coming from the outside.
Not so, with LGBT people. Very often, our biological families are the source of our deepest hurt and pain. There are numerous reasons for this, but the fact that the heterosexual members of our families have different life experience is one of the main ones. When we seem to defy convention, and trample on our parent's expectations of providing them grandchildren, it can be perceived as arrogant and selfish. There are also social consequences: if the son is supposed to be a chip off of the old block and the son is gay, what does that say about the old block?
When you add the demonization of sex in general (and homo sex in particular) by society and organized religion, many members of our families feel they are placed in the position of having to choose between us and God. Unfortunately, instead of rejecting the Hobson's Choice in which they find themselves, they often choose to reject us instead.
Anyone in the USA who is not a white male heterosexual has suffered from prejudice and discrimination at one point or another and even many of that privileged group have suffered financial and/or other discrimination if they fall below a certain income level or live on "the wrong side of the tracks." Any difference can be used to create the politics of "other".
Because the majority of human beings have always been attracted to the opposite sex, one of the biggest lies told about homosexuality is that it is, "unnatural." The following analogy may be helpful in explaining the concept of what is sexually "natural".