The Experiences of Long-Term Gay Male Couples in Small Town and Rural Areas: Implications for Counselors, Counselor Educators, and Counseling Supervisors
Dr. John Marszalek, Core Faculty, Walden University, M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT
Based on the presenter’s ongoing interview research with gay male couples in small town and rural Mississippi, his experiences working with gay couple clients, and his own experiences in a same-sex marriage, this presentation will identity both challenges and supports to gay couples living outside of metropolitan areas with large gay communities. The presenter will introduce Sue’s (2010) concept of sexual orientation microaggression, the concept of minority stress applied to same-sex couples, and a brief summary of the interdisciplinary research literature on gay couples compared to heterosexual couples. In addition, the presenter will share the stories of long-term gay couples in their own words, including: how they met in an area without a large gay community, their coming out stories, their positive and negative experiences with their families and communities, how they have maintained their relationships over many years, and how they believe their relationships compare to heterosexual relationships. In sum, the overall goal of this program will be to provide participants with a better understanding of the environmental challenges for gay couples; thus, providing participants with the knowledge they need to best serve their clients, future clients, and supervisee’s clients who are in same-sex relationships.
1. Participants will be able to define the concepts of microaggressions and minority stress.
2. Participants will be able to identify both challenges and supports for long-term gay couples living in small towns and rural areas.
3. Participants will learn about interdisciplinary research on same-sex relationships.
4. Participants will be able to provide examples of gay couples’ positive and negative experiences in their communities.
5. Participants will be able to discuss the implications of the research presented for counseling, counselor education, and counseling supervision.
Dr. John Marszalek has been a counselor educator for over fifteen years, currently as core faculty with the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Walden University. He has maintained private practices in Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans and Columbus, MS, specializing in gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity development and same-sex relationships. Dr. Marszalek has been conducting ongoing interview research with gay male couples in small town Mississippi. Based on this research, he authored the book, Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet, which is currently under review by a publisher. Dr. Marszalek and his husband were the first same-sex couple to be married on Monhegan Island, Maine in 2013.
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