Coming Out: Not a Cause for Celebration for Straight Spouses

Share Article

The Straight Spouse Network is in need of funding to keep up with the rising demand in services offered to spouses and their families often in crisis.

Cries for help by e-mail and by phone have increased by 250%, and our fundraising efforts have taken on a new sense of urgency

October is recognized as "Coming Out" month in the gay community. Thousands of gays and lesbians across America and abroad celebrate their newfound freedom this month, now living their lives in "honesty and in truth." For those spouses and partners who discover themselves while married or in committed heterosexual relationships, their "coming out" is just the beginning of a myriad of issues to deal with.

Ever since former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey made his public announcement of "being a gay American," with his wife at his side, the Straight Spouse Network (SSN) has been inundated with requests from straight spouses and partners across the country, grappling with feelings of disorientation, fear and denial from their loved one's revelation. The McGreevey effect has put a strain on the volunteer organization of over 80 support groups located throughout the United States and abroad.

With the increase in requests from spouses for support in dealing with their pain and grief, The Straight Spouse Network (SSN) is in need of support for itself. "Cries for help by e-mail and by phone have increased by 250%, and our fundraising efforts have taken on a new sense of urgency," states Amity Pierce Buxton, SSN's executive director. "We who help the thousands of straight spouses cope with the challenge to their marriages and concerns of their children, welcomed the affirmation we received from the media following Governor McGreevey's announcement. However, now we need funds to respond effectively to the increasing number of spouses who have found us thanks to the increased visibility in the media."

It is estimated that up to 2 million American families have dealt with or will have to cope with a spouse's coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Straight Spouse Network's new board president, Duncan McInnes comments that "SSN is the only organization of its kind that offers confidential support to the partner impacted and provides education about a spouse's disclosure and its effects on families."

Straight Spouse Network is a diverse organization, and due to its concerns about the underserved, launched the Spouses of Color Network division. "We recognize the cultural differences that play a key role when our African American, Latina and Asian spouses face the revelation of their partners' sexual orientation -- as shown, for example, in JL King's best selling book and that of his ex-wife, Brenda Stone Browder. Addressing these additional factors have required our volunteer organization to stretch beyond our limit," said Buxton.

With funding, the Straight Spouse Network can raise public awareness of the unique and diverse issues of straight spouses or partners and mixed-orientation couples, and yet maintain its high level of service to help the increasing numbers of spouses to heal and cope constructively. "Supported spouses often become advocates for social justice, with the hope that greater acceptance of homosexuality will lead to more gay and lesbian persons coming out before marrying straight people, thus reducing disclosures within marriages that hurt everyone involved. We're making progress in building bridges of understanding, but we need the financial support of the larger community in order to continue," states Buxton.

For more information on the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), to learn of it's activities within the United States and abroad, and how to make a financial contribution, please visit:

Media Contact:

Amity Pierce Buxton, PhD

Executive Director

The Straight Spouse Network

(510) 525-0200

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Pamela Purifoy
Visit website