glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy





social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

Mixed-Orientation Marriages  
page: 1  2  3  4  5  

A gay man I know divorced his wife and married his male partner but insisted on wearing his wedding band on his right hand to honor his first marriage to his wife.


Only recently has the topic of mixed-orientation marriages attracted much attention in the therapeutic community. Many therapists are unfamiliar with the particular dynamics of such marriages.

Sponsor Message.

While a number of resources are available to the gay or lesbian spouse who comes out, until recently the straight spouse could find little help in dealing with the feelings of shock, hurt, anger, powerlessness, grief, and self-blame that are typical reactions to learning that one's partner is gay or lesbian.

In 1986, however, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) formed a task force for straight spouses of gay men and lesbians. Jane Vennard, former wife of a gay man, organized a cluster of regional contacts and a handful of support groups for wives and husbands whose mates had come out as gay or lesbian. Since then the Straight Spouse Network has grown to become an international organization devoted to supporting the heterosexual spouses of glbtq partners and mixed-orientation couples.

In addition to facilitating support groups, SSN also provides information about family issues and mixed-orientation marriages to professionals, community organizations, and the media.

The English website,, also provides information for married men who are gay or bisexual, as well as for their wives and partners.

Joe Kort

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3  4  5    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Social Sciences

   Related Entries
social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexuality

Although until recently rejected by most sexologists as a distinct sexual identity, bisexuality is gradually becoming recognized and studied as such.

social sciences >> Overview:  The Closet

If the closet has served to institutionalize homosexuality as shameful and inferior vis-à-vis the legitimate heterosexual culture, it has also provided a space of possibility for subversive sexual and political acts.

social sciences >> Overview:  Coming Out

"Coming out" is the revelation or acknowledgment that one is a member of a sexual minority, a process that is at once personal and social and often political.

social sciences >> Overview:  Counseling

In recent years there has been a push for glbtq-sensitive counselor training and glbtq-affirmative counseling, which, although occurring slowly and encountering resistance, marks a significant move in a positive direction.

social sciences >> Overview:  Family

Many glbtq people reject a fixed definition of family imposed by society, and instead claim the right to define their own families as they choose.

social sciences >> Overview:  Family Therapy

Glbtq family therapy is a relatively new field that merges gay-affirmative therapy with family systems theory; its goal is to help glbtq people create and maintain healthy families.

social sciences >> Overview:  Passing

Generally defined as seeking or allowing oneself to be identified with a race, class, or other social group to which one does not genuinely belong, passing is a complex and layered issue in queer culture.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation indicates erotic attraction, whether toward people of the same gender (homosexual), the opposite gender (heterosexual), or both (bisexual).

social sciences >> Overview:  Straight Men Who Have Sex with Men (SMSM)

Straight men who have sex with men do so for a number of reasons, but in general such activity is about physical release and sexual behaviors, not about attraction or desire for another man.

social sciences >> BiNet USA

BiNet USA is the oldest national bisexual advocacy organization in the United States, attempting to serve as a voice of bisexual and pansexual people.

social sciences >> Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), an American organization of some 460 affiliated chapters and 80,000 members, works to support glbtq people and their loved ones.

arts >> Perkins, Anthony

In his personal life, American actor Anthony Perkins often seemed as tortured as the troubled characters he played on film, hiding--and perhaps despising--his true nature while desperately seeking happiness and "normality."

social sciences >> Robinson, V. Gene

The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be consecrated a bishop of the Episcopal Church, has earned strong support from members of his diocese, but has become a lightning rod for conservatives within the Anglican Communion.

social sciences >> White, James Melville "Mel"

Mel White spent over thirty years serving the Evangelical Christian community; after struggling with his homosexuality for many years, he broke his ties with anti-gay religious leaders and became a glbtq activist.


Ball, Aimee Lee. "When Gay Men Happen to Straight Women." O, The OprahMagazine (December 2004): 236-39, 259-63.

Butler, Katy. "Many Couples Must Negotiate Terms of 'Brokeback' Marriages." New York Times (March 7, 2006): Section F, 5.

Fleisher, Joanne. Living Two Lives: Married to a Man and in Love with a Woman. Los Angeles: Alyson, 2005.

Gochros, Jean Schaar. When Husbands Come Out of the Closet. Binghamton, N. Y.: Harrington Park Press, 1989.

Grever, Carol. My Husband is Gay: A Woman's Guide to Surviving the Crisis. Berkeley, Calif.: Crossing Press, 2001.

Gross, Jane. "When the Beard Is Too Painful to Remove." New York Times (August 3, 2006):

Married Gay Website.

Pierce, Amity Buxton. The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families. Rev. ed. Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons, 1994.

Straight Spouse Network.


    Citation Information
    Author: Kort, Joe  
    Entry Title: Mixed-Orientation Marriages  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated October 15, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.