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Brad Pitt, Gay Marriage, and Charitable Donations

Posted by on Sep 12, 2008 in Blog | 0 comments

Much like AA and other support groups, SSN is the type of group that needs to be supported by the people it supports. Other funders look to see that this is happening, sort of like a “pass the hat” approach at AA meetings. Then they feel comfortable donating to meet a specific goal, like maintaining a website, training leaders, etc.

Imagine if Brad Pitt or any other well known celebrity publicly supported us. Imagine the reaction. Here’s some of what he might hear:
“Always knew he was gay”
“His poor wife”
“His wife is hot and now we know why”
“They adopted those kids and now this???? ”
“But didn’t his wife just have a baby???? Then how could he be gay?”
“Right. Straight people need money. Gimme some.”
“He gave money to what??? Isn’t that an anti gay group?????”

We are not a political cause. (And we are definitely <strong><em><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>NOT</span></em></strong> anti gay.) We are a support group for straight spouses, people whose husbands are on the “down low”, people whose wives are “playing for the other team”. In the mainstream public eye, we are not as well defined as groups that advocate for a specific cause.

Perhaps someday we will find a celebrity who does for us what Late Late show host <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bbaRyDLMvA”>Craig Ferguson</a> does for recovering alcoholics. He is a recovering alcoholic, and makes jokes about it, often in passing. He is very funny. Anyone who has any experience with alcoholism knows what he is talking about. Maybe someday there will be a straight spouse on TV who can share the humor we often share among ourselves, not as a focus of our lives, but as an experience that is part of the whole.

Now imagine if Craig Ferguson announced that he was giving a lot of money to Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is supported largely by private donations, passing the hat, and is well known but confidential. Imagine the possible reaction. “What, he’s drinking again? Well after last night’s show, I am not surprised”. Publicly giving money to AA does not buy you the same credibility as publicly acknowledging that you are a recovering alcoholic, and crediting a twelve step program. Publicly giving money ties you to a group – and the positive and negative perceptions of it. The best public support of AA is among churches and community centers who donate a place for meetings.

If Craig or Brad or any other celebrity announced that he was supporting a specific rehab clinic, he’d be lauded and glorified – or criticized if that clinic later were found to be doing the wrong thing for patients. Just look at <a href=”http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN151371.html”>Oprah’s experience</a> with that. When celebrities donate to a group, and do so publicly, their name is tied to the mission of the group or the effectiveness of the organization.

We are a very diverse group of people with no single thing tying us together other than a negative experience in our marriages. So the best strategy is for us to support SSN, and get our friends to. And as Craig says, if you have a problem, find a group of people who have similar experiences and talk to them.  If you are a straight person who discovered that your spouse is gay, lesbian, bi, or transgender, the folks you need to find are at SSN meetings and online support groups.

If you are a straight spouse and you work for a corporation that will match your donations of time or treasure for any 501 (c) (3) organization, or buy from a company that will donate to any charity as a thank you for your business, please let SSN know so we can add them to our prospects. Ditto if you have family or friends with a private charitable foundation who would be inclined to show their support for you by making a donation.

And if anyone knows Brad Pitt, send his contact info to our Executive Director, Kathy C….

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