January 22, 2013

Dear Tiggy,

My son-in-law has just disclosed he is a crossdresser and may be bisexual. My daughter would like to have resources to a cope with this as a spouse and support him as he sorts this out for himself. They are in the military in Hawaii.

-Douglass

What great timing, Douglass — the latest Boston Bisexual Women’s Network newsletter addresses this exact issue. The theme of BBWN’s Winter 2013 newsletter is “Mixed Marriages,” which includes mixed orientation marriages, such as one between a bisexual person and a heterosexual person. Turn to page seven and you’ll find terrific resources provided by therapist Betty Schleyer, Ph.D. These include the groups Alternate Path, Making Mixed Orientation Marriages Work (MMOMW), HUGS Couples, and Monogamous Mixed Orientation Marriages (MMOM), as well as research showing that “stable, satisfactory mixed orientation marriages are possible.”

One caveat: having a spouse who comes out as gay or lesbian is a markedly different experience than one who comes out as bisexual. As your daughter and her husband search for compassionate support, I hope they know that if they receive feedback that makes them feel uncomfortable or judged, or simply doesn’t fit their reality, they should trust themselves and look elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I’m having a devil of a time finding resources for bisexuals and allies specifically in Hawaii. Your daughter and son-in-law might want to see what support is provided by OutServe, the military’s new association of active LGBT personnel. (Never thought we’d see the day, eh?) Furthermore, if they’re open to visiting a Unitarian Universalist church — which would not require them to give up any theism that they currently have — there’s one in Honolulu. UU churches have long been a safe space for LGBT people and this one in particular has a couple of conversation groups that may interest them.

And remember, a lack of local assistance is no obstacle in the Internet Age. The BRC has terrific brochures on our website, including one with a list of books on bisexuality and another on how to support the bisexuals in your life. As for crossdressing, please give your daughter this list of the Top 11 Misconceptions About Crossdressers to ease her mind. She’ll find support and information specifically geared toward wives and girlfriends of crossdressers – also known as transvestites – at A Crossdresser’s Secret Garden and Tri-Ess (Support, Serenity, Service).

Good luck to your family, Douglass, and I’ll put a call out to the bi community to send reinforcements to our beloved 50th state.

© 2013 Tiggy Upland. Tiggy Upland reserves the right to use all submitted queries anonymously, in any medium.

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