Translate

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day in US

Thanksgiving Day is a huge holiday in the US, centered mainly around a special family meal. In case you haven't noticed, Americans like to eat a lot. It is always on a Thursday, with Friday typically being a holiday as well. It is considered the busiest travel time in the US. I’m not sure why it is busier than Christmas. Probably because a lot of people throw in New Year’s Eve/Day with Christmas and schools are out for at least two weeks (some for over a month.) So, the travel is spread out over a longer period of time when it comes to Christmas. In addition, with Christmas, gift-giving is a central tradition, and it is easier to stay home and ship presents. For Thanksgiving, people just bring themselves, any luggage they need, and perhaps a dish or two.

Because Thanksgiving is considered to specifically be about family togetherness, it can be a painful time for those who have been rejected by their family because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or choice in patner(s). Some LGBT people, poly people, and those in consanguineous, intergenerational, or interracial relationships are reminded every year that even their own family hates them.

Some people make the best of this and plan a Thanksgiving meal with friends. I throw out a special “good for you” to anyone who hosts such a meal this holiday. Keep up the good work. I think such gatherings are much more enjoyable anyway.

But I also have words for anyone who has driven away or banned someone in their family because of that other family member’s identity, orientation or partner(s): Shame on you. You don’t have to like your family member’s sexuality or how they live. But you should reach out to them and support them instead of driving them away. Every person at that table does things you don’t like. Why single out a family member for punishment because of who they love? If your family member has a partner whose family is more accepting, guess who is going to win? Guess who is going to get to play with any grandkids/nieces/nephews? Not you.

If you can’t go “home” for Thanksgiving and you are feeling down and you haven’t managed to make plans with friends, consider hosting your own Thanksgiving and invite some friends. Or, volunteer at a homeless shelter or some other charity location that will be helping people on Thursday. Don’t allow depression to take hold. You can find a place where you will be welcomed.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to those I love, I’m especially thankful for Linda, Melissa, and Matthew, who inspired this blog, and all of you who read this blog and especially those of you who leave comments or email me. I’m also thankful for everyone who is moving forward the right for all adults to be themselves and share love, sex, residence, and marriage.

What are you thankful for? Can you go home for Thanksgiving? Do you host? You are welcome to leave your comments, as always.

See my Advice to Family and Friends
— — —

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Siblings Helping Siblings

Someone I'll call "John" reached out to me via email...
Hi. I'm not really sure what to say so I'll be blunt and honest. I've had a incestuous experience. It was a one time thing with my sister. Neither of us feel we did anything wrong, we both enjoyed it. We didn't have children or continue with a life long affair, just kids having fun. If anything from my experience can help to expand peoples minds in regard to incest then I would like to share (anonymously). Please reply if you want to hear my story.
I responded and John wrote back to explain...

— — —

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Equality For All, Not Just Some

At socratichomer.wordpress.com, an argument by someone identified as Madman of Chu in regards to marriage equality is examined...
Madman’s claim is that marriage equality is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

There's more than one way to get there, but this is one of the popular ways.
Madman further implies a claim of definition to identify how Marriage should be identified; specifically, that Marriage consists of two persons only.

I don't see where the Constitution says that. Oh, that's right, it doesn't. 
Finally, he puts forth a claim of policy, writing, “We should not confuse the time when a law became unconstitutional with the point at which it “became” wrong.”

It is that particular sentence which presents the best argument for legal recognition of all nontraditional forms of marriage (same sex, polygamous and incestuous). If laws against same sex marriage were wrong before courts decided they were unconstitutional, then there is a very real possibility that laws against polygamous and incestuous marriage are equally wrong, though not yet determined to be unconstitutional.
We agree, and it is our position that laws denying consenting adults the freedom to marry are unjust. They are also hurtful and wasteful.
If so, are we truly on the right side of history when advocating marriage equality for traditional and same sex couples while refusing to do the same for polygamous and incestuous couples?
Good question (although I would not have worded it exactly like that.) The answer is no. The right side of history is full marriage equality. Someone may not like the idea of interracial, same-gender, polygamous, or consanguineous marriages, but their disgust or lack of understanding or religious doctrines should not prevent other people from having the marriages to which they mutually consent.
— — —

Monday, November 24, 2014

Clearing Up Consanguinity

Many people get confused about terms like "second cousins" and "once removed" when referring to close but not-so-close relations. Your parent's sibling's child is your first cousin. That person's child would be your first cousin, once removed. That person's child and your child would be second cousins.

Here's a helpful chart that can help explain it.



Source: http://www.sanantonio.gov/atty/ethics/ConsanguinityChart.htm

Remember, there's nothing wrong with experimenting with, dating, or even marrying a cousin. Consanguineous relationships and marriages are nothing new. There are some countries and a little over half of US states where the bigotry against marriage equality extends to preventing first cousins from marrying, but there are many places where marrying a first cousin is legal and common. I'm only aware of a few US states where sex between first cousins is technically illegal, so check the laws of your state if you are concerned. It should be searchable on your official state website.


— — —

We Get Hate Mail


We get a lot of supportive and thankful comments here. We also get some hateful comments left here, and some of them I don't publish either because they don't even attempt to contribute anything to the discussion or because of the words used. If the reason is the latter, I may publish a comment in edited form, as I'm doing here.

Someone left a comment on this very popular entry about a media depiction of a loving relationship initiated through Genetic Sexual Attraction.



This is actually f---ing sick.

One of the great things about everyone having equal rights is that if you don't want to have a relationship like that, you don't have to. And if someone finds your relationship to be sick, they can't stop you.
For all of you who are congratulating them wtf is wrong with you?

It's called... being happy for other people. Try it sometime?
He is her father!

Genetically, yes. But he didn't raise her. So what is the point, either way? Our objecting person doesn't explain what the actual problem is.
That's f---ing beyond disgusting.

Again, then don't do it. See Discredited Argument #1.
I'm gay, and marriage 'equality' make me sick to feel that I should be categorized in the same rank as these two sick people. Ew.

Sad. There are people who say the very same thing about gays. They don't want them considered to be equal to heterosexuals.
Each to their own, yes.

Oh, good, something reasonable.
Why did they have to admit it to everyone?
Sadly, there are people who say the same thing about LGBT people, including some LGBT people. Coming out of the closet should, in general, is a choice that should be made by the individuals.

Comments like this make me appreciate solidarity all the more.

Whether you or I or anyone else likes any given orientation or relationship (or is disgusted), we should affirm that an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion, should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage (or any of those without the others) with any and all consenting adults.
— — —

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Support Freedom, Fight Abuse

has a piece at huffingtonpost.com under the headline of "Relationships: It's a Matter of Choice." [This entry is bumped up.] This is the start...

Any relationship construct has the ability to create an oppressive environment. Whether the construct identifies as monogamous, polyamorous, polygamous, polyandrous or any other relational form, abuse can exist within each and every one of these relationships.

Yes. Thank you! Much of the piece discusses isolated, patriarchal polygyny-only communities with abusive leaders.
As shown on Sister Wives, the four teens residing at Holding out Help met up with the Brown Family to witness a better example of a polygamist family. By the end of their visit, the teens who escaped their abusive situations, found the Brown family to be a healthier and more positive family unit than their own. Despite their approval of the Brown family, all of the teens still stated they wouldn't be part of a polygamous construct again.
That is their choice to make. There are many people who say they do not want to get married at all, having grown up in situations where they saw marriage as part of the problem.

This poses the question: Should the public accept the faith and choice of a relational dynamic if mental, relational, and personal health is compromised? As a proponent of the freedom to choose alternative forms of relationship, the expectation is that all parties involved find liberation through addressing fundamental matters around equality and agency; free from oppressive religious and ideological systems.
The issue, it seems to me, is domestic abuse, including child abuse.

Some women are going to freely choose polygyny, and they should be free to do so, as long as there are domestic violence protections under the law, and as long as those women legitimately have the freedom to NOT marry at all, to divorce, or to marry a woman, or two men, etc.

Polyamory in its various forms, including the various forms of polygamy, has always been around and it is not going away. It is coming out of the closet and will not be going back in. We must move forward to full marriage equality and relationship rights for all adults. Abuse will be easier to stop if we do not criminalize consensual relationships.
— — —

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Relevant Question at GirlsAskGuys



Topics relevant to this blog get discussed at girlsaskguys.com. Don't let the name fool you. Anyone can answer the questions and anyone can ask them, too. Someone anonymous, now between the ages of 18 and 24, asked this...
so obviously i can't go into much detail about this but basically no penetration and it was... my own brother

i was less than 10 years old and so was he but he was too curious about the female body, but like i said no penetration

i didn't fully understand at the time what was going on at the time, but i knew it was wrong.

my question is, how does incest (or something close to it) affect you later on in life? (im still a virgin btw, i mean how does it affect you psychologically, socially... etc)
and can the damage (if any) be reversed?

im repulsed by it, but i dont feel like its affecting me right now... actually I don't know how i feel at all..

and no im not that catfish, thats why i didn't go into details, i just want some answers because i dont have anyone to talk to about this and i can't go to a psychologist. thank you 
Per my questions, she clarified...
i can't remember exactly but less than 10 years old and there's a year age difference between us
and no wasn't forced or anything
With only a year's age difference and no coercion, this is what most therapists would call exploration, not abuse. She didn't say if her brother seemed maladjusted (I would think she would have) but obviously it is something that has troubled her, but that's likely to external shaming.

— — —

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hate Adds Pain to Genetic Sexual Attraction and GSA Relationships

I'm bumping up this entry I wrote a while back because there are people who need to see it.

Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA) is a condition that may be experienced when close genetic relatives who have been separated for significant amounts of time, often since birth or before puberty, are reunited or introduced. It describes an intense physical and/or emotional attraction, and may include sexual attraction or be expressed through sex. The attraction may or may not be mutual. Even if mutual, not all GSA results in sexual contact. (Some people prefer the term "Genetic Attraction.")

Reading accounts or watching documentaries about those struggling with GSA feelings or related actions can be heartbreaking. There are many reasons as to why.

First of all, there are all of the problems that come with any attraction or any relationship. One person is attracted to someone else and that attraction is not mutual, or is mutual only for period of time. Relationships involve at least two different people who are trying to get along with each other and to deal with those outside the relationship as well. This can all be increased when the individuals are biologically related.

This new attraction and resulting relationship can bring change, disruption, and uncertainty to someone’s life, which is again something that may happen in general relationships as well, but can be more of an issue with biological relatives and the strong pull of GSA. This is especially a problem when someone has made a life and perhaps has existing vows with someone else. For example, a married, monogamous woman who gets in contact with a biological half-brother and finds herself strongly attracted to him and wanting to spend time with him, with or without sex. The time and attention taken from her marriage may be enough of a problem, but add sexual cheating to the mix, and it is even worse. She may love and value her husband, but feels this intense connection or draw to her half-brother that must be suppressed if she wants to have a chance to save her marriage. In that case, either choice is painful. Or what if she doesn’t want to save her marriage? What if it was dying before the GSA issue surfaced? Divorce is usually a painful experience anyway.

Some people experiencing GSA are disturbed by their feelings (or the feelings of their relative) because they feel a need to have that person in their life as a sibling, a parent, or a child, and they see sexual attraction or sex as incompatible with that role. They may feel like they finally had something they were missing for so long, only to have it taken away by unexpected or unwanted feelings and resulting tensions. Just the unfamiliar nature of these feelings may be bothersome.

In addition to all of the usual problems someone with an unrequited attraction or a mutual attraction between people can bring, one that is different with GSA is, of course, the legal, familial, social, and religious prohibitions imposed against sex with and marriage to close relatives. Incest between consenting adults is still criminalized in many places, including most US states, and bigotry against people in such relationships or experiencing such attraction continues to be perpetuated, sometimes in the most hateful and harmful ways.

This is sometimes compounded by a lack of solidarity. Even if there is a GSA relationship that didn’t break up any existing families, marriages, or relationships, and the individuals are happy together and able to share their lives in a functional way despite legal and social challenges, they may be rebuffed or judged when they reach out for understanding and support from others. Other people experiencing GSA who have decided not to have sexual relationship or have ended a sexual relationship or want to end their sexual relationship may disapprove of those who want to engage in or continue their sexual relationship. Or, if the GSA relationship is intergenerational, interracial [biracial with non-biracial], same-sex, or polyamorous, other people experiencing GSA may express disapproval based on one of those factors (in addition to all of the other people who disapprove based on those factors). Finally, those who have recently struggled or are still struggling for their own freedom to marry or just the basic freedom of association, such as LGBT people or poly people, may express contempt for consanguineous sex and love, including in cases where GSA is factor, or may be unsupportive of those in GSA relationships gaining the freedom to marry. Thus, instead of finding comfort from those who have also been targeted by those who want to control the sexuality of other adults, people experiencing GSA may find some more vitriol or at least a cold shoulder.

All of these things can bring pain and hardship to GSA relationships. Laws and public attitudes can be changed. There is some help for those struggling to deal with their feelings or the feelings of someone else or just to be themselves, but that help would be greatly aided by a change in the laws and public attitudes. That is one reason I call for solidarity. Someone who is struggling with GSA does not need the added burden of laws and finger-wavers that treat them as second-class citizens or with hate and impede their ability to make decisions in the best interest of themselves and their loved ones.

For help, see here.

[Edited for typing errors and clarity.]
— — —

Accept That Your Grown Children Are Adults

Dear Prudence column got a polyamory question. Stuck in the Middle With Him wrote... [I'm bumping this up because it is as relevant as ever as this can happen any time of the year.]
Our daughter "Amanda" lives in another state and has been married to "Jacob" for several years. Theirs is an open relationship, and I have always known that. My husband, however has kept his head in the sand regarding this. My daughter has a boyfriend, "Tom,” whom Jacob knows about and has a great friendship with. They are all planning to come to our home this Christmas, but my husband insists that Tom (who has visited us previously) is not welcome. Do I tell our daughter, son-in-law, and daughter's boyfriend to make other holiday plans? My opinion is that they are all consenting adults, there are no children involved, and always behave appropriately in public.
The letter writer's husband is being a jerk. The letter writer sounds like a reasonable person. I would be interested in knowing if they have any other children, and if the non-spousal partners and friends of those children are also banned? I would also be interested in knowing how Jacob and Tom's families are about the situation. Maybe Amanda, Jacob, and Tom should go to see them for the holidays? Or they can host their own holiday get-togethers and invite all who will come?

Yoffe's reply...
Perhaps a generation from now many families will be having a very polyamorous Christmas. But we aren’t there yet. I support your conclusion that your daughter and the men in her life are consenting adults and as long as they behave with decorum, what they do in private is none of your business. But they are also open about their open relationship, so I can understand your husband’s point of view that he attended Amanda’s wedding to Jacob, where she vowed to forsake all others, including every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

Not everyone makes that vow, and not everyone who makes that vow means that they will have no involvement whatsoever with anyone else. Also, agreements are mutually modified all of the time, and if Amanda and Jacob mutually agreed to their situation, they that's all that should matter.

Suggest this year she come only with Jacob. Surely she knows there are simply occasions when she must make a choice about which man to bring.
Hmm. Tom is part of Amanda's life. This is a rejection of Amanda's autonomy over her own sexuality and social life, and a rejection of Jacob as well, since he agreed to this. Parents aren't always going to like the decisions their adult children make, but those grown children are going to live their own lives, and their parents can either be a part of it or not.
— — —

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Liz and Ryan Update: Still Denied the Right to Marry


One of our favorite friends of FME and Friend of Lily, Liz, generously agreed to be interviewed for another update. You can read about the beautiful relationship she has with her brother by reading this original interview and this previous update. They are essentially married; but they are denied the legal recognition of their marriage by their own government, and not protected from discrimination or bullying. [This has been bumped up because of an update below - November 20, 2014]

***

FME: How are things going between you and your brother?

Liz: Things are going very well. Our relationship is still strong. Any arguments are minor and don't last long. We don't make love quite as often as we used to, but that's from Ryan being tired from being busy at work as much as it is from having to care for a baby. I still can’t imagine it being any better.


How is your daughter? Last I saw, she was an adorable baby.

She certainly is adorable, and I'm not saying that just because I'm her mom. She is a year-old now, and is walking. She is smart; she recognizes some words, and she figures out how to get into things. Ryan and I love being parents.


I noticed she didn't have two heads.

There is nothing wrong with her at all. Ten fingers, ten toes, completely perfect. I just wish people wouldn't keep making the same old comments when they hear about incest children - that they turn out to be freaks or something. It is simply not true.


As I like to say, most children born to close relatives are healthy, and if it wasn’t so, we’d all be in big trouble because most people, whether the records show it or not, have parents who were close relatives not too far back in their ancestry. Have you let any more people know about the full nature of your relationship, or has anyone else found out that you know of?

As of now, only our parents and one of my friends knows the truth. They needed time to adjust, but now they are OK with it. I have also met many people in online chats and they have been overwhelmingly supportive. I am thankful to those people.


You’re both attractive people. Have you or your brother had to decline date proposals from others, and if so, how have you handled that?

Not recently. People believe we're married, or they at least know we're a couple (without knowing we're related of course). In the past I have had to turn down guys. I told them I was seeing someone else, which was true.


People in love and in a closed relationship often have a “look,” even if they are somewhere by themselves, that tells other they are not available and that they are happy. I would imagine that is strong in your case, and now you have your young daughter with you. That probably lets people know not to bother asking you out. What do you want people to know who disapprove of your love, or say you are sick or that you couldn't possibly have consented to this relationship?

I want them to know that they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. They can not convince me that it is wrong, because I know in my heart it is right. I have always felt it was right that my brother and I are together. I would feel empty without him, incomplete. He is my soulmate.


What do you want to say to supporters and allies?

Thank you, to everyone who support us, everyone who knows what we are doing is right. We need all the people we can to try to change society for the better. There are many people out there who are having these feelings and they are being told it's wrong. We need to reach out to them, support them, tell them it's OK. We need to work together to repeal the laws against incest. They've already done it in some countries and some states here in the US. We need to build on that.


I understand you are helping others. What can you tell us about that?

I have met many people through online chats. Some have wanted advice or help with their situation. I do whatever I can for them. Some are in situations that remind me strongly of the early days of my relationship with my brother, and I let them know that I understand what they are going through and I tell them what I did and how I got to where I am now. If anyone wants to chat with me, either for advice or just to talk about their situation, I am more than happy to do it.


Any additional advice to someone who has romantic or sexual feelings for a close biological relative?

Yes. First of all, you are not wrong or sick to have these feelings. There are many out there like you. Second, do not think that you will never be able to enjoy a romantic or sexual relationship with a relative. Yes, there is a chance that he or she would not feel the same way. However, you will never know unless you try. I wouldn't be in this wonderful relationship if my brother hadn't confessed how he felt to me, and I am so glad that he did. Just take things one step at a time, and when you feel it's the right time tell your brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, cousin, or whoever, how you feel. If you need help, there are people out there, like me, who will do what we can. You can do it, don't give up.


Any particular plans for the future? Would you still get legally married if you could?

Yes, we would get married if we could. We would announce our happiness to the world if we could. I don't like having to hide things from my friends and neighbors. As for future plans, we do plan on having more children one day. Also, we will one day have to find a larger house for our growing family.


Is there is anything else you want to add?

Never, ever give up. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true.

***

The years go by, and people in consanguinamorous relationships, living as spouses, have to hide and live with their freedom to marry being denied. We need full marriage equality sooner rather than later, so that they can have the marriages they want. It is ridiculous that they have to wait any longer.

Read other interviews here.

UPDATE from November 20, 2014...

Liz has joined the fun at Kindred Spirits

Here are a couple of the things she's had to say there, updating us on her love with Ryan.
I'm 25 and in a happy relationship with my brother. We have been together for some time, and live as a couple. It hasn't always been easy for us, of course, but we're happy and making this relationship work.
...
I am in a relationship with my brother, and we have a daughter. I had wanted to have a child for some time, but was unsure about whether it would be ok to do so. After researching and also chatting with couples like us who did have children we decided to do it. She is nearly 4 now, happy and healthy. I am so glad that we had her, and we do plan to have another. 



It's always good to hear from Liz.


— — —

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roger E. Olson Asks About Solidarity

Someone asked me for my thoughts on challenge posed by that I found here at patheos.com. Olson has a question for supporters of the same-gender freedom to marry...
What purely rational or religious-based reasons can be given for continuing to criminalize “plural marriage” or to deny marriage licenses to groups?

Now, just to stave off an avalanche or even a trickle of comments based on misunderstanding. I am not here discussing the ethics of gay marriage, so do not respond as if I were. I am only asking advocates of gay marriage how they would argue against, if at all, legal plural marriage. And by “plural marriage” here I am only talking about arrangements where all the parties to it are knowledgeable, free adults and where there is no abuse or coercion.

He asks again...
What ethical or legal arguments would you, who advocate and support gay marriage, give for continuing to prohibit plural marriage?

He goes for full marriage equality by asking...
Then, let’s take it a step further. Image a biological brother and sister who wish to be legally married. One or both of them will undergo voluntary sterilization to avoid the possibility of having children (who might have serious birth defects as a result). They can prove to the government that they cannot have biological children, but they plan to adopt. To those who advocate and defend gay marriage, which is the same as saying redefine marriage from its traditional definition, what rational or purely religious arguments can you give for prohibiting such a marriage? If such a couple sues for a marriage license, what reasoning should a judge use (if at all) to deny their claim?
As a supporter of the same-gender freedom to marry, my answer is that I don't want any adults to be prohibited from marrying. I support full marriage equality. I don't have an invisible asterisk. There is no good reason to deny full marriage equality.

Olson is asking a good question that I hope will encourage solidarity. We should not only support the same-gender freedom to marry, but the polygamous freedom to marry and the consanguineous freedom to marry, which are all part of full marriage equality. Let's not throw anyone under the bus. Equality is not something to be feared.

— — —

Moms Speak Up on Consanguinamory

Topics relevant to this blog pop up in various discussion venues, such as cafemom.com, and sometimes the discussions aren't deleted before I find them. Here's some of what I found over there earlier today.

Anonymous  asked "Do you think incest should be illegal? If it's between two consenting adults, do you think it should be against the law? Why or why not?"

It is the position of this blog that an adult should be free to be with any and all consenting adults, regardless of gender, number, or relation, without prosecution, bullying, or discrimination. What do the moms say?

Mom-to-2kids chimed in as an ally...

— — —