Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Pressure

There’s a website I hadn’t yet linked to that has some great, active discussions of consanguineous sex, love, and relationships – and it is porn free. In fact, that is part of the name/URL. I had been hesitant to add a link to the main page because the powers that be there wouldn’t let me include a link to this blog in my signature, because they have problems with some of the other sites I link.

I am not here to choose sides in debates over personalities or content or traffic competitions. I am here to argue for the rights of all people to love, sex, and marriage, regardless of birth or the number of participants.

Linking to another site does not mean I like or agree with everything found there, just that I think there’s some helpful information to be found there. I want to help people who need to understand why a lack of equality is harmful, I want to help people who want to better understand what their family and friends are going through, and I want to help people who are dealing with negativity because of the person or persons they love… even if some of those people don’t like some of what I have to say.

I’ve decided to go ahead and link to the site because of what I wrote above and to call attention to a discussion I’m having with Maribel there. I don't consider her an opponent. She clearly is on our side. We just disagree about some things.

Below is what I wrote this morning on that discussion board. I’m posting it here because I want as many people as possible to see it. Comment here, or sign up with the discussion board and comment on the overall discussion there. The quotes are Mirabel’s, and I also responded to things she wrote that I didn’t quote….

Hi Mirabel,

Thanks for being patient with me.

“Decriminalizing incest simply isn't going to happen in our lifetime, unless you know something no one else knows to back up what appears to be only your gut feel. Moreover, some people simply wanting it to happen is wishful thinking in its utmost futility.”

I’m not as familiar with how things work elsewhere, but I’m very familiar with the system in the US. With cases like Lawrence vs. Texas, the right to private sex has been established in law, and popular opinion is catching up. Granted, Lawrence wasn’t specifically about consanguineous sex, but the principle is there. Someone can burn the flag per a Supreme Court ruling because it is free speech. A controversial painting is not flag-burning, but it still falls under the idea of free speech, right?

“awareness isn't the problem at all, acceptance is.”

I don’t think enough people are aware that there is consensual consanguineous relationships and sex, or if they have experienced it themselves, they’re not aware that other people are having the same kinds of experiences, whether it is sibling experimentation or a mature, lasting love. People hear the word “incest” and they think of a father or stepfather or an older brother raping or molesting a minor girl. Yes, that falls under the definition of incest, but that is just one kind of thing that does. If more people hear more about the harmless or positive situations, they will be less likely to have a knee-jerk negative reaction.

Reproductive rights are a distinct issue from the right to sex, love, and marriage. Cases like the recent Perry vs. Schwarzenegger (which is facing appeal, but there are many others) have made that clear. Nobody need defend the reproductive rights of people in consanguineous relationships to defend those relationships. But even if we tie the two issues together, though what we know about genetics indicates that there is a slightly higher risk of children born of these relationships to have congenital problems, the same can be said for any man-woman pair carrying the “same” gene, or for older women giving birth, and these people aren’t prevented from having children. I don’t even see any kind of stigma associated with older women having children, rather I see encouragement and support. But even if birth defects are used as a reason to prosecute people for consensual consanguineous sex, why should two or more people of the same sex be barred from having such a relationship?

The reason I bring up “consenting adults” is that the standard used elsewhere. Same-sex couples, interracial couples, just plain unmarried couples used to be prosecuted and persecuted, but generally are protected now because they are consenting adults. Well, so are a brother and sister and three or more people in a poly relationship, and they should have the same protections and freedoms.

“Name one, single, solitary member of Congress who would risk his/her political career by sponsoring legislation to decriminalize incest.”

You have me there. I don’t know of any off of the top of my head, and I’m not going to bother to research to see if I can find one. However, they may not come out and say, “Let’s repeal laws against incest,” often precisely because of what I wrote above; the image people would have of some drunken stepfather raping a 12 year-old stepdaughter. Rape (statutory or otherwise), sexual assault, molestation, and sexual harassment should all remain illegal, and if someone wants to add further penalties against a guardian or person of authority perpetrating these crimes, I’m all for that. Elected officials are more likely to talk about getting the government out of the bedroom, consenting adults, and repealing outdated and superfluous laws, which are all things that can include the decriminalization of consensual incest. Even if laws stay in place, local authorities do have discretion in what they prosecute, and if they get the message that they should stop interfering with the sex lives of consenting adults, they will surely have enough other things to keep them busy.

However, we wouldn’t need Congress to do it if the Supreme Court reinforces and expands the principles put forth in Lawrence and other cases; that authorities can’t prosecute people for private consensual sex.

“Yes, we should always try to improve our lot, and discussions about decriminalization of incest is good to have, but unsubstantive, emotional and false advocacy isn't going to move the issue forward.”

I understand where you are coming from. I am just trying to do my small part. I blog about this, but I can discuss the subject matter without harping on politics. Goodness knows a lot of people have been hurt because other people don’t understand or don’t even want to think about it, and I totally understand the choice people make to protect themselves (if no other way than emotionally) by staying out of all of that.

“Also, as adults, we knew the rules of the game going into it, so why should anyone whine now?”

The same goes for people who chose to live with someone of the same sex, interracial couples, and so on. Goodness, go back 30-40 years and you can find what amount to public service announcements warning that “homosexuals are pedophiles” (sound familiar?) and that they were essentially insane. States could prosecute people essentially for being gay until recently.

Yes, people should know what they are facing, but if they want to speak out, even anonymously, about the injustice and absurdity of prosecuting people for being in love, then they should have that option.

“Some have this need to rationalize and/or justify one's involvement in incest....all it does is highlight insecurities and the need for validation. If you're in it, then you're in it, no affirmation equired.”

I actually agree with you. Well, I wouldn’t say “ALL it does,” but that is the way some people are about any relationship, including teens whose parents object to their boyfriend or girlfriend. People should go ahead and enjoy their love, even if a lot of other people don’t like the idea, especially if they are adults.

But I also want to stop persecution and obtain rights for those who want to exercise those rights.

“I'll comment on polyamory next time....your username appears to be in conflict with the practice, care to clarify before I give you my thoughts?”

How is it in conflict? I’m for the rights of everyone to sex, love, and marriage, regardless of the number of people in the relationship and regardless of their birth. I don’t think equality just for some is really equality. That’s what I mean by “full marriage equality.”

I’m not collecting money. I’m not even running ads. I’m not trying to make a name for myself. I’m not insisting that anyone “come out” or try any other form of agitation or activism. I do INVITE people to stick up for themselves as long as they are aware of the possible consequences. I invite people, if they are so inclined, to comment here (well, it’s not my place to invite them… but you know what I mean), or on my blog, or anywhere else to share their story, even anonymously, to let others know that there are people out there who are good citizens who have these relationships and experiences and they deserve the same rights as anyone else. And I challenge the haters and those with prejudice to justify interfering in the love lives of others, so that their lack of reasonable justification can be exposed. It is a way I repay my friends for the confidence and trust they have placed in me to be “in” on the true nature of their beautiful relationship.
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