My cousin Garth told me this week that his youngest daughter-in-law is in the U.S. illegally. I knew Maria was from Mexico, but Garth’s news surprised me.
“You know, I’ve had strong feelings about this kind of thing for a long time,” he said. “But, since knowing Maria, I’m changing my mind. She’s a good person—a good wife to my son, a good mother to my grandson.”
I understood Garth. For years I was convinced that gays and Lesbians were victims of child abuse—and that homosexuality was contagious. Then, my cousin Robert who had played dolls with me in childhood died of AIDS. And the wild tomboy daughter of long-time friends was excommunicated for a Lesbian relationship. People I actually knew did not match the stereotype I had accepted.
Meeting and loving members of a different group changes them from “others.” If only the human family could recognize that “others” are really “us.”