The murder of forty-nine people and the wounding of fifty-three more in the early morning of 12 June 2016, represents not only the irrational violence of a man who pledged allegiance to ISIS with his hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. It also represents one of the greatest fears of straight spouses.
We mourn those who have died because they are LGBTQ, particularly in a place where they were intended to be safe. We hope the physical wounds of those victims who survive will heal speedily, even as the emotional wounds take much longer. Our hearts go out to friends and family members, children and spouses who grieve for those who were killed and will keep vigil for the wounded survivors.
We know that quite likely, among those who mourn or keep vigil, are one or more straight spouses or fiancées of the LGBTQ victims. Perhaps they are learning for the first time that their spouses are LGBTQ when receiving a call from the authorities informing them of the wounding or death of their loved one. The Straight Spouse Network stands ready to support to those straight spouses.
As straight spouses, often bound by parenting children together, we know better than most the prejudices that face LGBTQ individuals. Even as we have to build new understanding of our lives after we learn of our LGBTQ spouses’ orientation, we continually fear that prejudices against them will bring them harm. In a nightclub in Orlando, at the hands of man whose hatred led to violence, our fears were realized – not for our own LGBTQ spouses, but for those who could be. For their sake, for the sake of their friends, and for the sake of their families, including straight spouses, we encourage every effort to undo the patterns of prejudice against LGBTQ people.