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Telling Our Stories by Speaking Out Loud

Telling Our Stories by Speaking Out Loud

Our stories as straight spouses must be told.  We are a diverse group of people, male, female, divorced, married, never married, from different countries, races, and cultures.  The stories of our relationships with our LGBTQ spouses and partners are all different and distinct.

truthThere are millions of us around the world.  Yet our perspectives are seldom considered in any reporting of LGBTQ events and issues.  So we have to do it.  We have to tell our stories, speak our minds, give our opinions, come out of our closets.

We have to speak, because no one will speak for us.

This doesn’t mean outing your spouse in hostility or revenge.  It means speaking up and speaking out.

Our voices must be heard.  The Straight Spouse Network blog Straight Talk, and our social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are dedicated to making the voices and experiences of straight spouses heard and seen.

Getting the word out through other news outlets can be frustrating at times.  We’ve had some good coverage recently, including an article in San Jose Inside, and this Canadian broadcast.  Dear Abby has mentioned us several times in giving advice.  Several years ago a very expansive article appeared in Slate. But in general, when the Straight Spouse Network is approached by media, the story is already written and they just want a comment or someone to interview quickly.

You wouldn’t believe some of the requests we get.

There’s the purely exploitive request – you know, the one that wants “couples” so that they can film the big reveal of a gay spouse coming out, and then record the shock, grief, pain, and provide counseling to wrap it up in an hour, or over a series of a few weeks. Then there’s the “happy and gay” approach: they want “couples” again so that they can show how people really can get along, either remaining married or being best friends after divorce. (It’s never just amicable – it’s always “best friends”). Or they want to interview a straight spouse but first they need to use their real name and get permission from the gay spouse and nothing bad must be said that might offend LGBTQ people.  So, the story of how humiliated you were when you told your doctor you needed testing for HIV is not likely to be shared there.  Nor is the story about how things were relatively smooth with your lesbian wife until her girlfriend moved in and started shoving you around.

We do have media requests that we can help with occasionally. When they want a quote on research or statistics, we refer them to our founder, Amity Buxton. She also assists with some requests for couples that are from legitimate news sources. Sometimes we connect reporters with a local straight spouse who will share their story, but we do so carefully.  We never reveal anyone’s information, and always have the approval of the straight spouse first.  We never recommend that anyone who is new to this experience speak to the media.  There is too much opportunity for distortion and exploitation – or misrepresentation.

It can be very disappointing to give an interview, be filmed, fill out surveys, and never have anything come of it, or find that what eventually is printed or aired is NOT the story you thought was being told.

Then there’s the comments in social media and on news sites.  Most of us know that we proceed with those at our own risk.

It’s also painful to watch some author/celebrity interviews descend into the Grand Inquisition of “what did you know, when did you know it, how did you know”, or a request for the “Top Ten Signs That Your Husband is Gay”.  (It’s never about the wife being a lesbian, guys, sorry….mainstream media doesn’t go there much, leaving the whole subject for discussion in “adults only after dark” programs where again, your point of view is discarded.)

closetThat’s why it is important for straight spouses to speak out, speak up, and tell the truth about our lives, our families, and ourselves. Even if your LGBTQ spouse has forbidden you to talk. Even if they deny the truth that you know so well.  Come out of their closet and live in your world. We know that for many people this is still impossible as some straight spouses have much to fear physically, legally, and financially from an LGBTQ spouse in denial as well as from society in general. But find someone you trust and tell your story, whether it is a close friend or relative, or another straight spouse.  Find your voice and speak for yourself.

When you are ready, tell your friends and family. Sure you should be selective; it is not safe to tell everyone, and not just because LGBTQ people are targeted for hate. We are targets too. Many of us find that we become the target of bullying, hatred, jokes.  Or we find out that they don’t believe us, or subject us to the Grand Inquisition.

speak-300x254We invite straight spouses and their adult children to share their stories with us. On our website, you can view different people telling their own personal experience.  If you are not ready to be quite that forward, you can write about your experience to us for this blog.  Guest submissions should be about 600-900 words.  This is not to defame or out your spouse, it is to speak of your own experience.

Here are some suggested topics:

The coming out experience

Living with a spouse in denial

How your children have adjusted

Meeting your ex spouse’s new partner

Living with an STD or fear of having one as a result of same sex infidelity

“Pretzel logic” – twisted justifications from your ex about their behavior or statements about their orientation.  For example “I’m not gay, I just enjoy having sex with men”, “everyone is gay what’s wrong with you”, “Its not cheating because you’re the only person of the opposite gender that I have sex with.”

Moving forward in a new marriage or relationship

We can publish articles under pen names if requested.  For article guidelines and details, please contact Janet McMonagle, Communications Director.

4 Comments

  1. At this point in my life…I’m not angry…just lost. The adventure as a couple
    into a few years of open marriage has turned into something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Because as the non-working, almost 60 year old partner of a bisexual man…..I now feel as if I have nothing left to call my own. He says everything is still *ours*…but his words “…I want to do stuff…maybe even be fucked by a man…” are like a knife to my heart. In this one aspect of our 32 years together….I have no trust left too enhance the respect I have for him in other
    areas. I love this man deeply…but I’m drowning. I can barely see the shore, the water is freezing, the waves high. But in between I’m reading, being consumed by….articles, videos, stories that make me want to scream at the inevitability of what looks like the end of “us”. I don’t want this, this isn’t fair
    ..

  2. There is a great deal of sympathy for the LGBTQ group but frequently the spouses, children and extended families are forgotten by both the world and by the principals themselves. The spouses point of view is important.

    My husband of 36 years ‘came out at age 74. His war cry was. “I’m 74 years old and I’m in a hurry with my transition.”

    I have nearly completed a book written from the spouses point of view. I it entitled IT’S ALL ABOUT SHE – WHAT ABOUT ME

  3. I am happy to find this site! It’s good to know there are others that have experienced the same feelings I have had. She gets praised for her honesty and bravery in coming out, I get maligned for not promoting her fame. She gets the kids and home because she was primary caregiver, I get the street and “good luck” because I paid the bills. (and will continue to have to pay them.) Thank you for giving us a voice!

  4. I applaud this outlet you have provided. I find I am mired in a stationary state of being, while my former spouse is in a joyous same-sex relationship.

    Maybe I spent too many years closeted, and I am permanently broken. I find myself very reluctant to allow myself to mingle, interact, or even possibly consider a date. I keep a mental list of people to never mention anything about my past, because I get the “why can’t you forget the past?” admonishment. Do I dwell on it in every conversation? NO! My response has often been, “Great idea,I would love to know how to do that!”.

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