‘Straight’ Spouses At Risk

images-1No matter how hard I try to filter out spam, I end up getting all sorts of unwanted email messages: fraudulent appeals from friends supposedly stranded abroad who need large sums of money to help them come home; sales pitches from China offering goods and services I don’t need; notices that I’ve won huge sums of money in lotteries for which I don’t even have a ticket. You know the usual thing.

The most interesting bit of unsolicited mail I got last week was from South Florida Connects, Inc. Its tag line is ‘No Straight Spouse Left Behind: Straight Spouse Awareness’. The language is old-fashioned, but the issues are current. The website reveals that “You are a straight spouse if you are a heterosexual individual married to or dating someone who is secretly gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered.”

images-2I immediately wondered how you would know that your allegedly heterosexual partner is not what he or she appears to be if his/her double life really is a secret. That’s the trouble with being an English teacher. You constantly pay attention to the meaning of words. All the same, I suppose secrets have a way of slipping out, especially if the spouse in hiding secretly wishes to come clean.

The website offers the assurance that “[i]t is better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a dangerous lie”. Then again, proverbial wisdom advises that “where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise”. Anyhow, I called the number on the website (954-815-6563) and left a voicemail message.

Ian Boyne
Ian Boyne


The night before I got the ‘straight spouse’ email, I watched ‘Religious Hardtalk’, hosted by Ian Boyne. It was painful. I saw my friend Annie Kitchin valiantly trying to engage in intelligent conversation with the Rev Clinton Chisholm. She had a hard time. Rev Chisholm defines himself as a “Christian apologist”. This is not the same as an apology for a Christian. Annie declared herself to be an atheist.

The problem with being an apologist for any cause is that you often end up appearing irrational. Even if, as in the case of Rev Chisholm, your cause is proving the rationality of Christianity! An apologist takes a position and refuses to budge. On the subject of homosexuality and the Bible, the good reverend seemed unwilling to concede that the laws of Leviticus which sentence to death perpetrators of “unnatural” acts are unconscionably outdated. Well, that’s how it sounded to me.

images-4Annie was on form, completely dismissive of the backward view that all Old Testament laws have validity in modern times. She systematically demolished Rev Chisholm’s arguments. But, of course, he may not agree. In any case, it is precisely this hanging on to irrelevant biblical codes of conduct that makes us so unwillingly to accept the fact that the human rights of all homosexuals in Jamaica ought to be protected under the law. Not only those whose class privilege usually gives them immunity.

And just as the rights of lesbians, all-sexuals and gays need to be protected, so too ‘straight’ people should be protected from the guile of deceitful spouses. We need a ‘straight spouse’ support group in Jamaica. It’s the flip side of J-FLAG. I searched the Internet to see if we already had a support group here. I ended up right where I started: on the South Florida Connects, Inc website.


Debbie Thomas-Brown
Debbie Thomas-Brown

Debbie Thomas-Brown, a Jamaican nurse and former schoolteacher, founded the association based on her own experience and the fact that her research showed there was no support for immigrant straight spouses like her. Right off the bat, she said the fundamental problem is that Jamaica makes being gay a crime. Our society does not allow gay people to be their authentic selves. So many pretend to be heterosexual for an easy life.

Their spouses pay the price, especially innocent young women raised in Christian homes who have little sexual experience and no point of comparison to measure their spouse’s performance – or lack of it. Debbie told me about a young couple who had no sex on their honeymoon. The husband had absolutely no interest. Then the wife caught him with a huge erection, pleasuring himself with the help of gay porn. You can just imagine how she felt.

images-8Deprived of sex, neglected wives start to believe that something is wrong with them. Their husbands tell them they are too thin or too fat. They are just not sexy. In some instances, their husbands have sex (with them) only once a year. Debbie argues that gay men tend to marry women with low self-esteem, who often have anxieties about their attractiveness.

Another target group is women in service-oriented professions who have been trained to keep secrets: nurses, teachers, doctors, social workers, lawyers and police. They are not likely to ‘out’ their partners. And if the women do confront their husbands in private, even with very good evidence, the men usually accuse their wives of being ‘crazy’. And the women start to doubt themselves because that’s the last thing they really want to believe.

images-9I learnt that there’s a Grindr app designed for gay men that facilitates quick hook-ups. It’s available all over the world. Say you’re in the National Stadium at a football match and you send out a message that you want a ‘Canadian’. In the jargon, that’s an uncircumcised penis. In two twos, the app will locate several willing members nearby. It’s as easy as that.

Debbie said she would love to be a guest on ‘Religious Hardtalk’. She has a particular burden for Christian women who get caught in relationships with men on the down-low. And it’s not only women who are conned. Heterosexual men also end up marrying lesbians in the church. Finding a ‘good’ man or woman in the house of the Lord is not as straightforward as we once thought it was. Over to you, Pastor Boyne!

8 thoughts on “‘Straight’ Spouses At Risk

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  1. It is time for LGBT people to begin living authentic lives so that they will not feel the need to use innocent, trusting, caring individuals to hide their true sexual orientation.

    There will be less mental health and emotional problems among our Caribbean women if gay and bisexual men don’t feel the need to hide behind good women to pretend that they are straight while in secret they live deceptive, dangerous lifestyles.

    Being treated like criminals because they are gay encourages gay men to hide their sexual orientation within marriages and relationships to unsuspecting straight women who end up suffering emotionally and psychologically.

    Fornicators, adulterers and prostitutes, practice other sexual ‘sins’ but live openly so people know what they represent. Why can’t gays be allowed to be themselves so our women and some of our men won’t be victimized with deception and lies?

    We know what the Bible says about gay orientation and I believe and accept it because God’s words never change. But we were not asked to judge. We are supposed to love the sinner and let God judge the sin.

    Criminalizing gay orientation places too many of our women and young girls in situations where they become the ‘cover’ story for too many scared, selfish, deceptive, gay, bisexual and transgender men.

    Let us show that we care about the women and some men who have unknowingly married or are ‘shaking up’ with LGBT individuals disguised as straight men and women because of fear of imprisonment or just fear of how society treats gays in general.

    Our organization, South Florida Connects, Inc. will help anyone who wants to start a support group for the many straight spouses in Jamaica. Yes, there are many and the sad part is that some people don’t even know that they are straight spouses.

    That’s a problem as they won’t be protecting themselves from any number of sexually transmitted infections. Some of you know what I am talking about. Let us help those who have no clue become more aware.

    Straight spouses, you are not alone as life was not meant to be this complicated and difficult…Period!

  2. I absolutely agree with the above – the real problem is that LGBT people have to pretend to be ‘straight’ if they don’t want to be abused, lose their jobs, their places at university or their lives…

  3. The problem goes beyond straight spouses as well. Other family members may be aware but because of the “keep it in the closet” mentality, they may not speak up on behalf of LGBT people in order to not bring attention to their unspoken support. Yes support for all those wanting to advocate for loved ones who are LGBT is so needed in Jamaica. I totally support the promotion and implementation of such. Thanks Dr. Cooper for always keeping things out on the table on issues affecting Jamaica and elsewhere!

    1. Natalie, this is not about support for LGBT individuals. That is a grave misunderstanding.This is about support for straight spouses.We provide support for men and women who got suckered into relationships or marriages with someone who is LGBT and have no intention of stepping out of the closet.

      We respect LGBT individuals who are honest about their sexual orientation, but we do not support the LGBT agenda. We also know that unless some of the punitive measures against them change, our straight spouses will continue to suffer, and we will continue to have more straight spouses. That is the real argument, not one of support for LGBT issues..

      However, we understand that in order to effectively help straight spouses, the powers that be may need to change some of the ways they penalize LGBT individuals. We believe that decriminalizing their activities will lead to less victimization of our heterosexual men and women who continue to fall prey to deceptive LGBT individuals who only want to hide in ‘straight appearing’ relationships with them.

      If you visit our website http://www.southfloridaconnects.com you will see what our mission is and there won’t be any misunderstanding.

  4. Thanks for the clarification Debs. Your effort is acknowledged and yes very much needed. My comment was meant to add the dimension of support to family members other than spouses. Keep up the good work. Everyone needs to feel loved, worthwhile and accepted!

    1. Actually, we provide support to family members and friends too, but only those who want to support the straight spouse. We don’t encourage taking sides but we support those who understand the level of support the straight spouse needs after the hellish emotional and psychological roller coaster ride their secret LGBT spouse usually put them through.

      The only support we offer to LGBT individuals is to help them ‘come out’ to their heterosexual spouse so they can end the deception and let their straight spouse begin the healing process.

  5. A great endeavor indeed! Take care and I wish you well in your work to educate, support and bring up these tough issues to the general public, government officials and spouses affected by this very specific need.

  6. I am frightened at the situation as it exist today with gays not proliferating the place and polluting the atmosphere but are more open and out of their closets. I must categorically declare I don’t like the sight of gays. In an Jamaica Observer front page article I saw a most disturbing article on AIDS in September of on the prevalence of the virus in the age cohort 12 – 24. It struck me in that the incidence of HIV in these young person on a ratio scale revealed for every one boy with the virus there are 11 young girls with the virus. This is definitely a cause for concern.
    The young men are been given a most uphill task to ensure that they do not get the virus. This is real this is no male chauvinistic thing this is a real to life challenge for our Jamaican kids. The Blackberry Syndrome is said to be basically one of the causes for this impasse where our young children are been spoil by the gays and and even the straight among us. Young girls are getting sex change for blackberry that is solicit sex for the gadget and end up with AIDS. We have to make a better way for the young adult we have in the make and don’t leave them to doom and gloom.
    The men who have sex with men (MSM) are the basically the ones who are creating the dangerous environment for posterity generations. We have to think critically and out of the box to save then from those who are hellbent of taking their childhood from them by engaging them in sexual activities. The Lesbian, Gay, Battyman and Transsexuals (LGBT) society is giving us a warm time with their behaviour. We neded a more civil look at the events of the time and the amount of power homosexual are getting. We need to come out as straitmen and put them back in the closet because that is where they belong. We have to aproach fire with fire not water. If they are hostile we have got t\o be hostile too.

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