Here is an email I received about an online support group for gay or bisexual men who are out to their wives.
HUSBANDS OUT TO THEIR WIVES
Who We ARE Husbands Out to their Wives is a support group for married Gay or Bisexual men who either have or intend to come out to their wives. (The requirement is that a commitment has been made to themselves that it is necessary for their personal well-being and to have absolute honesty with the wife.)
The group was started in 1996 as a sub-group of Bi-Married Men of America (BMMA), an established group for married men who have identified themselves as Gay or Bisexual, but have not necessarily made the decision to come out of the closet to their spouses. The men in HOW represent a wide variety of life styles as far as relating their sexuality to their marriages. Some have no M2M intimate relationships, some do with the support of their wives, and there are examples of triad relationships living under the same roof. But these three types of situations are only some of the examples you will find within our group.
The basic purpose of the group is to be there for support in the struggles that the male certainly has as he tries to work through the problems that marriages, where the spouses may have different sexual orientations, have. One of the commonalities we find among ourselves is the lack of real male friends; guys we have bonded with, that we share our lives with in the way it appears that women do with their friends. We do not give advice, rather relate through personal experiences, the ways in which we have handled our own lives. We advocate neither divorce nor separation, but we never fail to realize the fact that in human emotions, that status (divorce) may be inevitable for some.
We request that those who have gone through divorce remain on the list for the support and understanding they can offer - both the positives and the negatives of their experiences. Our subjects or "threads" vary from discussions of our sexuality, our relationship to our wives and children, the process of coming out to our children, the sharing of humor (it is needed to break the depression that too often results), spiritual discussions, book or movie reviews or discussions, men's health and sex issues, and anything that helps us to support one another. It has been the tradition to have an Annual Gathering - 2003 was in Toronto, 2004 in Philadelphia, Baltimore in 2005, and Las Vegas in Oct. 2006. This year we will be meeting in Providence in November, an average of 32 men attending each year.
Be aware also, that this can be a very intensive email list. Over the history of the list, we average 30 posts a day coming through the server. Because those that are on the list never truly lose the need for support, problems raised range from the "How do we out", "how do we fulfill our personal needs while remaining in the marriage" to "Ways of remaining self-validated", which may include separation and divorce.
There are approximately 200 members on the list at any given time (233 as of this morning 9/12/07), that number slowly increasing as members join, resign, frequently come back, and there is more recognition and need as the vast numbers of us are slowly being recognized.. We demand civility and a humanistic approach in all we say, though the group is basically unmoderated with an administrator and an advisory committee of long-standing members.
What We Need for Membership in the List:
Being aware of the need for privacy and protection, particularly in those just contemplating coming out, HOW is a closed list in the sense that one must apply, and comply with the simple bits of information we request, some for record-keeping, some for the members to get to know each other, how to respond.
1. Your real name. This is published to the list only if you wish, but we do need it for our records - only the moderator and the bio guy ever have access to the Master List If you do not want your last name used (many begin that way), request that and we will comply. (we will also accept a complete alias for publication purposes - we still need your real name.) Be aware, however, that many of us have emails that display our real names. If you have that type of address, the guys are intelligent enough to figure out who you are.
2. To help all of us determine where we might find a "brother", we request city/country/state or province/ a phone area code where appropriate.
3. Responses can be age-based. Please include your birthdate (we also maintain a list to exchange greetings) or at least your current age.
4. Please tell us if your wife is aware of your current orientation or if your are in the process of telling her, If the latter is appropriate, try to remember that we rarely do things without a time table - we don't need that, you do.
5. Please include a paragraph telling us where you are today that can be sent to the membership in your welcoming letter, 3 - 5 sentences which may includes your intention or how you outted/got outted; length of marriage; age of spouse; your feelings; family situation ( # of kids, ages); if out, how open is your closet door. (This introductory bio can be as comprehensive as you wish, just remember that what you say is how the members will respond.)
6. Within 2 - 4 weeks we require a longer biography (and we will send samples), length and detail to be determined by you, based on the theory that the more we know about you, the better we can tailor our experiences to help you on you potentially bumpy road, This will be placed in our archives for other members to access in order to help each other. (Access to bios requires a list membership number which is only assigned when you submit your own bio.)
I don't want to over-emphasize the importance of letting the Moderator know about your name and whether it can be released to the membership. Each of us deserves the right to determine who and when our private lives become known. To repeat, you may request you last name be withheld from the group, or you may write with your real name and ask to use an alias online.
Please just don't ask for no last name being used if it appears in your email address from your serve - Yahoo is notorious for this.
If we are what you are looking for to regain self-authenticity, please understand that we are ready to help I hope we hear back from you. Please send the information to email@example.com