Happy New Year! As we start 2011, many of us are facing new decisions, and a whole new life we had never thought we would be living. Finding out your spouse is gay, bi, trans, lesbian, on the downlow, questioning, or not answering your questions about their behavior is a real shock, and most of us like to believe that it could never happen to us.
However, it did.
For that reason, the Straight Spouse Network is here with new plans for the new year, to help all the straight spouses in need, and make certain that no one need confront these life changing questions alone for fear of shame, ridicule, or threats. To that end, we are spreading the word as wide as we can, and recruiting more volunteers to respond to the need of those in crisis.
We will keep our new years resolution for 2011 that no one need confront this situation alone.
To that end, we are beginning our project of a Speakers Bureau. Many news organizations and community groups seek speakers from our group, but unless our speakers can be prepared to answer the difficult questions that arise, the impact is just that this happened to just this one type of person, and it does not include such a large number of people. In fact, our experiences and solutions are diverse. It is our intent that anyone who speaks on behalf of our group is familiar with those experiences and the questions that come up. Sometimes speakers are requested on short notice. Sometimes speakers are requested that have a particular background, such as those who have stayed married, men who married lesbians, parents of children, survivors of sexually transmitted diseases, women who are or were married to transvestites and transsexuals. We need to have speakers available who can speak knowledgeably about the range of our straight spouse experiences, even if they themselves have not had the personal experience that is sought. Most of all, we need to have well trained ambassadors who get out the message when we get the call from media. That message is that the straight spouse is not alone, and yes it can happen to you or someone you love.
Our ability to respond to spouses in crisis is the most important thing we do. To continue to meet that growing need, we need volunteers. Please volunteer to facilitate a face to face group in your area, or serve as a contact for those who are needing to be in touch with someone who has been through this experience and understands. And guys – we need you. Approximately one third of the people who contact us are men. There are also questions from people who think their spouse might be gay or lesbian, but they are not sure and the spouse denies it. Still, the doubts persist, and they need someone to talk to without being ridiculed or told to stop starting up trouble.
Lastly, we need continued financial support. We are continually applying for grants. Like most non profits, we’ve seen donations drop off and grants become fewer. If you have not become a GEM, a Give Every Month donor, we encourage you to do so. This is for most people less than your morning coffee budget on the way to work.
One thing is clear: the Straight Spouse Network needs you, and cannot do it without you!