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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Mother and Brother Support Lovers Denied Their Rights

We recently ran this exclusive interview with Joel and Elijah. Below is an interview conducted with their mother and their brother, who provide examples to other parents and siblings of how to be allies to people who still face discrimination for their relationships. Joel and Elijah are gay male polyamorous twins who are in an ongoing relationship.


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FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Tell us about yourselves.
 

Anonymous Mother: I’m a very tall 6-foot 3-inch blonde 42-year-old nurse who lives in east Texas, with my brother. I came from a large family with two sisters and three brothers one of my brothers and one sister is adopted.  Currently I have three sons, the two you have talked with and one younger. Currently they live on their own a few hours away. 
 

Anonymous Brother: I am in law enforcement in Texas and I am a straight male. Currently I am not dating anyone.


FME: Tell us about your twins and their relationship.

AM: Well, as infants and toddlers they had real separation anxiety. They would cry if they got moved apart or even if different people picked them up. They were around three before they handle being in different rooms.  Growing up they always slept in the same bed, and they would often wrap their arms and legs around each other.  In school, several teachers would tell me that my boys never play with anybody else, and a few of them told me I should me take them to a child psychologist, or asked about who or where their father was.

Since my parents paid for them to go a small private school, they never did get placed in separate classes since the school was so small. That was good. because they would not have handled that at all. I also think part of the reason for why they were so close was they were bedwetters well into high school and did want anyone at school learning that.

Throughout their childhood, I always told them they did not have to sleep in the same bed or me and my brother would take them to different events or places. About the time they were twelve I just stopped asking since I knew what the answer was.

In high school they did have a bullying problem, mostly because how small they were. At the start of high school they were around 4-foot 8-inches so they had to wear the junior high style uniforms since the school did not make the high school ones in a small enough size. That, and being gay in a Catholic school resulted in them become rather shy at school.

After I found out about their relationship, they started acting happier both at home and school. I remember that they used to hold hands at the dinner table or on the porch. It really helped lower their stress levels after they told me they were in a relationship. I also let them go on dates with each other through high school, simple things like dinner and a movie. On the first one I told them “no kissing on the first date,” we all had a laugh about that.
 

AB: Growing up they were always very close to each other and me. As children, I remember them always being very nice to me to the point of almost spoiling me. Right now, they live near me.


FME: How did you discover the full nature of their relationship?

AM: I caught them having sex in their bedroom. I had figured that they were doing more than just experimenting since I had heard then mention that they liked “various oral activities” shall we say.  At first I wrote it off as maybe it just part of a movie line or a joke and I needed to hear the whole line. But after a while I started to put the pieces together. Granted, it is always shocking to catch your kids having sex, but really I only wanted to talk to them to see if this was really consensual, and if this wast just experimenting. Each of them told me that it was not abusive and that they really loved each other more than just brothers. I still had to ground them for breaking the rules since I said told them when they came out “no sex in the house.” 

AB: They told me about their relationship when they were out of high school. I remember they told me about it on the night they wanted to go out and celebrate their anniversary. When they told me, I just hugged them and told them that they could have told me sooner. I did know that they kissed at times when they were in school but I never really thought that they were a couple.


FME: How did you feel about it then?

AM: I was not that shocked, but it’s still a bit shocking any time a parent catches their children having sex. I had told them when they came out “no sex in the house,” so like I said, I did ground them for that. My brother and I did talk about it for a while, and decided that as long it stays healthy it should be fine. We both also told them about the law in Texas at the time, which made what they are doing a felony and that it was very important to keep it a secret. I thought that maybe it would turn out to be just a temporary thing. I did let them continue to share a bed and did not force them apart.

For a few months I worried that maybe I had raised them wrong or something, but then I learned about the Westermarck Effect. That’s when I thought that maybe it runs in family [to not experience the Westermarck Effect] since I, too, have a relationship with a[n adopted] sibling*. Overall, it took about four months to get over the shock and to understand their relationship


AB: I was a bit shocked since I knew they were close but I didn’t think they were like that.  They later told me that they always tried to hide it around me since they did not want to get in trouble at home or have our school find out.


FME: How do you feel about it now? How do you feel about them being polyamorous?

AM: After they had been together for three years, I started celebrating their anniversary with them. As for the polyamorous part, they told me that they were searching for a boyfriend, and thought they had broken up when they first said that. They tried to explain what polyamory was and I got it after a while. Really, I just hope they stay happy and never run in to legal trouble over this.

AB: They are happy and I’m happy for them.


FME: So you were aware of their sexual orientation before you confirmed the nature of their relationship?

AM: Yes, they came out to me a few years before that, and I suspected they might be gay even before that.

AB: They told me that they were gay years before I knew about their relationship. I remember they came out to the whole family in the car on the way to dinner.  Not that I was surprised by this either.


FME: What is your advice to family members, especially parents, who think or know someone they love is gay? ...polyamorous? ...involved with a close relative? What can they do to help?

AM: Be understanding, and remember that sometimes the best way to help is to let them be alone.  But most importantly, let them know that you still love them.

AB: Siblings often tell each other things they don’t even tell their parents. I would be very hurt if they thought they could not tell me these things. If your sibling is gay/bi or anything else please remember to accept them for who they are. You can’t replace a brother or sister.


FME: What is your advice to people who are involved with a close relative about coming out to family?

AB: I know some families are more willing to accept homosexuality than incest.  My advice would be make sure everyone know it is not abusive that will help.


FME: Do you see any difficulties caused by prejudice against them? What's your advice for people who would want to force your sons apart?

AM: I do worry at times that someone will tell the police or out them as a couple and ruin what they have. My advice to them is please be careful and that we will always love you.

AB: Go to Full Marriage Equality and The Final Manifesto.


FME: Hey, thanks! What was family life like when you were growing up? What was your childhood like?
AB: I hardly remember life before my mom moved in with my uncle and he was very much like a father to me and my brothers. I do remember being very close to my brothers. I also remember hating people you said “Oh your only half-brothers” when they found out we had different dads.  Really, I think the oddest thing about our relationship is that from around the time I was nine, and they were 13, I was able to pass as their older brother since I was taller than them. We even once did that for a whole week during one vacation, even mom and dad thought it was funny and even joined in. After they came out as gay I was told by them and my mom that I had to keep that secret from my teachers since they could get in trouble. But other that I looked up to them like most little brothers do.


FME: Do you yourself have any experience with family?

AB: I did have summer fling with a cousin but that was really just a short term thing, we only kissed a few times, went to one movie. Other than that, no, but that’s mostly because I’m not a very sexual person. I would be open to the idea if the person was right.

[*Another interview is NOW HERE about Anonymous Mother's relationship with her adopted brother.]


FME: Anything else to add?

AB: I love my older brothers and I can barely begin to think how much stressful high school was for them because of their sexuality and love.


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Why should the twins be denied their rights? There’s no good reason.We need to recognize that all adults should be free to be with any and all consenting adults as they mutually consent, and part of doing that is adopting relationship rights for all, including full marriage equality sooner rather than later. People are being hurt because of a denial of their basic human rights to love each other freely.

You can read other interviews I have done here.

If you are in a relationship like this and are looking for help or others you can talk with, read this
If you want to be interviewed about your "forbidden" relationship or being a family member or close friend of someone is in such a relationship, connect with me by checking under the "Get Connected" tab there at the top of the page.

If you know someone who is in a relationship like this, please read this.

Thank you to Anonymous Mother and Anonymous Brother for doing this interview, and for being so supportive.
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