Aiming to help the world get better, Amity P. Buxton has spent the past couple of decades at the head of the Straight Spouse Network. She founded the organization in 1991 to support the “heterosexual partners of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people.” She knows from personal experience how difficult this revelation can be; her husband came out of the closet in 1983 after 25 years of marriage. Dr. Buxton realized there weren’t many resources for people in her situation, so she went to various support groups and talked to a lot of people about it. She wanted to raise the visibility of this issue and to aid people in figuring out their feelings and how to move forward. Her unique nonprofit organization has since grown into a worldwide network of likeminded individuals committed to providing support and information. Dr. Buxton’s role includes engaging in speaking and workshop activities, building awareness about sexual and racial equality, and mentoring others in the group. She also conducts research on the children of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender parents who come out in a heterosexual marriage.

Prior to her work as an activist, Dr. Buxton was an educator. She started as a secondary school teacher at Grosse Pointe Public School in 1952, and became a language arts instructor at San Francisco State College in 1954. She proceeded to hold positions as a French teacher in Bronxville, N.Y., a teacher at Scarsdale High School and St. David’s School, an assistant professor at San Francisco State College University, the director of the Teachers Active Learning Center, an adjunct faculty member at Mills College and San Francisco State University, and an extension instructor at the University of California, San Diego. Additionally, Dr. Buxton was the staff development coordinator of the Oakland Unified School. She is particularly proud of her development of a prototype for teachers’ centers for staff and curriculum development in the United States and her research in children’s language development.

​Over the years, Dr. Buxton has sought to expand her reach and share the knowledge she has accrued. Her most recent piece was a chapter in the book, “Critical & Experiential: Dimensions in Gender and Sexual Diversity.” She also wrote “The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families,” “Supporting the Learning Teacher,” “Building a Teachers’ Center,” “Portraits of High Schools: A Report on Secondary Education in America,” and “The Scientific Basis of Child Custody Decisions,” among others.

Dr. Buxton prepared for her endeavors by earning a PhD from Columbia University Teachers College in 1962. She also became certified in administrative services in the state of California, and general teaching in the states of California, Michigan, and New York. To keep in touch with her peers, she joined prominent organizations like the American Psychological Association. She attributes her success thus far to her energy, enthusiasm, commitment, and sense of equality.

When Dr. Buxton has free time, she enjoys walking, painting, traveling, sketching, playing piano, theater, music, and poetry. She is also on the board of directors of the Family Equality Council.

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