Siobahn Hotaling has been passionate about justice and tolerance ever since she was a young girl growing up in upstate New York. An avid reader, Siobahn found herself drawn to books about history and culture. She was deeply moved by stories of the Civil War, biographies of American suffragettes, and accounts of the Holocaust, and found herself struggling to understand how humans could treat one another with such hatred. She was troubled, too, by the subtle injustices, gender inequality, and xenophobia that still existed in society. As a member of the LGBTQ community, Siobahn also experienced a great deal of intolerance herself as a young adult. While not actively engaged in gay rights advocacy, she worked hard to understand those around her and specifically how to develop a more compassionate view of others.
It became apparent to Siobahn that those around her who seemed to harbor prejudices and biases weren’t bad people; in fact, most people she met seemed to be genuinely kind and caring individuals. So how could they be so intolerant of certain groups? Why did their empathy seem to be limited to those that they could identify with? And where did these biases come from? Were they born with them, or were they taught?