The Straight Spouse Network Launches Fundraising Campaign During Gay Pride Month

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The Straight Spouse Network is an international organization that provides confidential support to help spouses and mixed-orientation couples,cope, heal and move forward with their lives through the "coming out" process.

A check for $100 is about what one pays for an hour of therapy. And spouses get two or more hours of help from (SSN)support groups at least once a month for free.

As June Gay Pride events take place across the country, the Straight Spouse Network (SSN) has launched a fundraising campaign in support of heterosexual spouses or partners of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons celebrating in parades and festivals. SSN, whose mission is reaching out, healing and building bridges within such marriages, has 84 support groups around the world, spouse contacts in every state in the U.S.and abroad, and many Internet mailing lists to help straight wives and husbands deal with the shock, pain and challenges when their husbands or wives come out.

"Up to two million straight spouses have been or will be in this situation, SSN Executive Director, Amity Buxton says, but family members and friends minimize their concerns and outsiders ignore their pain. Few therapists understand their issues of sexual rejection, betrayal, and identity crisis. So, straight spouses cope alone in isolation unless they find SSN. SSN is the sole source of support for spouses and mixed-orientation couples as they try to resolve complex issues."

The Straight Spouse Network Campaign 2005 will ensure support for the increasing number of spouses whose partners have come out. Since New Jersey Governor McGreevey disclosed being "a gay American" on television August 2004, and author J.L. King started the public conversation about "men on the down low", shortly thereafter, calls to SSN from straight spouses and from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender partners in mixed-orientation relationships, have more than doubled. Requests are coming from an ever-broadening range of spouses. To meet their needs, Straight Spouse Network must hire more staff, expand programs, and develop outreach to the underserved--especially spouses of color.

The goal of Campaign 2005 is to raise $100,000 by Labor Day. To jump-start the campaign, an angel has given the Straight Spouse Network a grant of $25,000. Donations are already being received by the organization. Many spouses want to give back a measure of what they have received. A recent memo to SSN support group leaders states, "A check for $100 is about what one pays for an hour of therapy. And spouses get two or more hours of help from (SSN)support groups at least once a month for free."

"We want more people to understand how non-acceptance of homosexuality and expectations of only opposite-gender marriages has led to the painful scenarios we hear day after day, says Dr. Buxton. Many gay men and lesbians marry, even today, to meet societal expectations of their familes, communities, or faith congregations. To marry, most deny or ignore their same-gender attractions.

However, these feelings do not stay suppressed, and after struggling - some for many years, "come out" or are "discovered" by their spouses or life partners."

The majority of couples then divorce and families are broken, children suffer - everyone suffers. The Straight Spouse Network serves as the bridge of understanding between the spouses and their families.

To assist the Straight Spouse Network in their efforts to heal and to educate, SSN is seeking individuals and organizations committed to diversity, family concerns and social justice, to join them in celebrating Gay Pride Month by contributing to Campaign 2005. Contribution forms can be found on the Straight Spouse Network website,

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Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton
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