I Love is Gay….
Learning that a loved one is gay, lesbian or
bisexual can be an emotionally difficult situation
for all involved. For the person sharing the
secret they have long harbored, it can be incredibly
stressful anticipating the reactions of their
friends and family, while those who they come
out of the closet to may be in shock or denial
and have a hard time dealing with the news.
Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton, founder of the Straight
Spouse Network and author of “The Other
Side of the Closet,” says that there are
five stages that “straight spouses” go
through after discovering their spouse is gay:
1. Shock, denial and disbelief
2. Facing the reality
3. Acknowledgment and acceptance
4. Letting go of the past
6. Reconfiguring life and identity
7. Transforming and starting a new life
After you have time to accept the revelation
that a loved one is gay, you may wonder how
you can best support him or her. After all,
the same person that you felt so close to before – they
have just trusted you enough to reveal another
side to you.
P-FLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians
and Gays provides the following guidelines
for dealing with the situation:
Do listen to what your loved one’s life
is like, and what kind of experiences he or
she has had in the world.
Don’t blame your own feelings on your
Do take the time to seek information about
the lives of GLBT people from parents of GLBT
friends of your loved one, literature, and,
most of all, directly from your loved one.
Don’t rush the process of trying to understand
your loved one’s sexuality or gender
Do get professional help for anyone in the
family, including yourself, who becomes severely
over your loved one’s sexuality or gender
Don’t assume that your loved one should
see a professional counselor.
Do accept that you are responsible for your
Don’t criticize your loved one for being
Do help your child (or loved one) set individual
goals, even though these may differ drastically
from your own.
Don’t expect your child (or loved one)
to make up for your own failures in life.
Do try to develop trust and openness by allowing
your loved one to choose his or her own lifestyle.
Don’t try to force your loved one to
conform to your ideas of proper sexual behavior.
Do be proud of your loved one’s capacity
for having loving relationships.
Don’t blame yourself because your loved
one is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
Do look for the injured feelings underneath
the anger and respond to them.
Don’t demand that your child (or loved
one) live up to what your idea of what a man
or woman should be.
Do defend him or her against discrimination.
Don’t discriminate against your loved one.
Do respect your loved one’s right to find
out how to choose the right person to love
and how to make relationships last.
Don’t try to break up loving relationships.
Do say, "I love you."
Don’t insist that your morality is the
only right one.
As a national support, education and advocacy organization for gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people, their families, friends and allies,
P-FLAG provides local support groups, public education resources and a platform
Straight Spouse Network
Founded by Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton, this organization is devoted to supporting
the spouses and children of gay individuals. Through the network, mentors, outreach
members and therapists are referred and provided.
For information about the private roundtable discussions on sexuality and relationships,
contact John Craig at email@example.com.
Someone I Love is Gay: How Family and Friends
By Anita Worthen and Bob Davies
My Husband is Gay
By Carol Grever
The Other Side of the Closet
By Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton
Gay Husbands/Straight Wives: A Mutation of Life
By Bonnie Kaye
The Secret Lives of Married Men
By David Leddick