Support Contacts reach out to and support Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People one-on-one. Personal support typically happens by phone, email, or Zoom. If the Support Contact lives close to the person they are supporting, and both feel comfortable meeting, they may make plans to do so in a public setting such as a restaurant or coffee shop.
Group Leaders start out as Support Contacts. They coordinate and moderate local support group meetings at least monthly. Groups meet face-to-face or virtually. In-person meetings typically occur in homes, restaurants, coffee shops or other public spaces. Group members may share the expense of meals during meetings. OurPath’s virtual support groups are facilitated through Zoom.
In addition to regularly scheduled support meetings, some Group Leaders will coordinate social outings in their areas as an adjunct to their support group offerings.
Requirements for becoming a Support Contact:
- You are a Straight Partner or Partner of a Trans Person who has experienced disclosure or discovery that your current or former partner is LGBT+.
- Ideally, you should be 2+ years or more post disclosure or discovery and be far enough along in your healing journey to have recovered from the most intense emotions of being a Straight Partner or Partner of a Trans Person. This allows you to offer compassion and perspective to group members.
- You are healed enough to not be easily triggered by other peoples’ stories and experiences.
- You are able to hold space and have compassion for Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People who make life decisions different from your own. You understand that your role is not to advise or direct Straight Partners or Partners of Trans People toward a predetermined outcome, but instead to support them as they find the path that works best for them.
- You are able to offer your opinions if asked. We are here to come alongside the Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People we serve as they discover their own path. We offer perspectives, but not directives. There is no “right” way to navigate this journey.
- You understand and acknowledge that as an organization, OurPath supports LGBT+ rights and acceptance. We believe that full acceptance and rights for LGBT+ people will reduce the creation of future Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People. In addition, many of the people we serve have LGBT+ children or family members of their own. Although Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People usually have strong feelings about the decisions of their individual LGBT+ Partners, OurPath does not demonize or generalize the LGBT+ community as a group. We do not tolerate hate speech in our groups or on our platforms.
- You are prepared to reach out to a Straight Partner or Partner of a Trans Person within 48 hours of receiving the referral from OurPath’s Triage Coordinators.
- You read, sign and abide by OurPath’s Code of Ethics, Social Media Policy, and Conflict of Interest Policy.
As a Support Contact you will (and must be willing to) support Straight Partners or Partners of Trans People who are:
- Men or women
- Married, engaged, separated, divorced or any other relationship status or living arrangement.
- Hoping to remain in a Mixed Orientation Relationship with their LGBT+ Partner, seeking a divorce or separation, or are unsure of what they want.
- Partnered with people who are of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Partnered with people who are newly out of the closet, not yet out of the closet, confused, questioning, or grappling with internalized homophobia.
- Grappling with their own sexuality in the aftermath of their LGBT+ Partner’s disclosure.