Oakland, CA – The prevailing belief that marriage is between a man and a woman has compelled many gays and lesbians to enter heterosexual marriages and even start families. When revelations such as these occur within committed relationships, the consequence is typically one of utter devastation for the straight spouse; it’s a combination of shock, disbelief, rejection, betrayal, and above all confusion.
“Of course we’re happy when a person can finally be himself or herself, but when he or she comes out of the closet, we straight spouses go into our own closet,” says Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton. “Straight spouses must go through the same process of coming to grips with who they are as did their lesbian or gay spouses. To do so, they need to know they’re not alone and they can get through it.”
Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton is the founder of the Straight Spouse Network, a non-profit, worldwide organization that provides support to straight spouses and couples as they navigate this emotional transition, as well as research-based information for spouses, couples, families and the community at large to understand the traumatic nature of these revelations and the underlying societal causes of the crisis.
Dr. Buxton first gained attention for her book The Other Side of the Closet: A Coming Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families. Her most recent book is Unseen, Unheard: Straight Spouses from Trauma to Transformation, which captures the voices of these spouses as they discover the truth, cope with their pain and figure out how to make decisions in the middle of all this emotional chaos.
“We, the Straight Spouse Network, need all the help we can to get the word out. We want every straight spouse to know we’re here,” says Dr. Buxton. “Hopefully by the next generation we’ll no longer be needed.”
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