Immigrant Straight Spouses Have Some Unique Problems
There is a certain stigma associated with straight spouses in the immigrant community. Immigrants tend to fear what they do not understand. Straight spouses can loose their status and be avoided if it is perceived that they in some way made their husbands gay. Crazily Impossible, but it is truly how some straight spouses are treated. In the Afro-Caribbean diaspora communities in the USA, Interviews with straight spouses demonstrated that straight spouse-related stigma usually manifests as social distance, physical distance, inappropriate words and silence.
The psychological consequences of being a straight spouse, for those identified or admitted to being straight spouses, can range from emotional pain, sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, to internalized stigma. The social consequences usually cause decreased social network size, limited social support and social isolation, and resulted from not only enacted stigma but also self-imposed social withdrawal.
Being a straight spouse is not merely a condition that impacts the physical health of those affected. It is a condition that has major social and psychological implications that are rooted in perceptions about what it means to have a gay spouse. Being gay in certain immigrant communities is, in fact, a highly stigmatized situation because it is often thought to be highly contrary to religious beliefs often held in very high regard by immigrants.
Having a gay spouse can be very severe, and can result in irresponsible volitional behavior considered by many to be norm-violating as homosexuality and male same sex promiscuity are frowned upon in many immigrant circles.
Coming to America may have created many problems for some minority and immigrant straight spouses. Some come from countries used to particular traditions and a culture which is economically, politically and socially, literally oceans apart. The culture shock alone sometimes is just as difficult as anything else they may have to face.
If a partner or spouse has been incarcerated in their country of origin or the US it creates a problem for the family economically as well as socially. This is when some women begin to fear becoming straight spouses, because of the high incidence of MSM in prisons and the fact that this behavior sometimes continues after release.
Here are some of the situations immigrant straight spouses may find themselves in:
Lack of insurance or knowledge of the insurance system is a known hurdle for immigrant women. This makes it difficult for some to access proper healthcare for proper screenings for