Lifestyle choices

Q. Masters, I am a professional thirty-something man who is engaged in a homosexual relationship with another young professional. We have a number of friends in the gay community and also quite a large number of heterosexual friends. My parents are happy that I have found someone and am finally settling down. My problem is that I have become estranged from my younger brother who always followed me like a shadow. He will not even talk to me about my lifestyle, and refuses to visit my home because of my partner. What can I do to get him back in my life?

A. Your brother is afraid, almost to the point of being terrified. He thinks that too much association with you and your partner will turn him into a homosexual as well. He was in a fraternity of jocks at college who were homophobic. He is even afraid to talk to his friends about your lifestyle for fear of what they will think or do.

Your lesson of sexual preference entailed dealing with ambivalence within yourself. Secondarily, it addressed whether you were strong enough to overcome the self- worth issues that arose as you first made the discovery about yourself and the fact you were not like the majority of other humans on the planet. You never wavered accepting your choice and the related dissension that it caused. Going internally you felt your way to your truth and are now at peace.

You chose to experience a life as a homosexual in order to deal with prejudice and bigotry. It was even determined that you should find yourself in the midst of the family struggle that now exists. Just as your brother chose to put himself into a situation where he is completely controlled by the beliefs of others, you chose to be the stimulant that causes him to examine his feelings versus those of his friends.

You cannot force others to change their mind. You can, however, provide them with information about other points of view which allows them to change their opinion. Do not get confrontational with your brother. Treat him and his opinions as his right. Continue to send him holiday cards and gifts, and keep the invitations coming so that he can see you aren’t discriminating against him – as he is you.