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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Be An Ally To Consanguinamorous People You Know

This is about how to be an ally to someone you personally know who is in, or may be in, a consanguinamorous relationship, or any consensual relationship that is called incestuous. If you want to help consanguinamorous people in general, see this page.

The Short Answer:

A) Respect their boundaries. Do not out them or share their secrets, and do not press them for anything they don't want to share. ASSURE THEM YOU WON'T BETRAY THEM.

B) Be willing to listen.

C) Cover for them as necessary.


The Long Answer



Are They or Aren't They?

There's a big difference between KNOWING people are having sex (and that they are close relatives) and THINKING it is likely. If you KNOW someone is involved and they know you know, skip down to "You Know They Are Doing It. Now What?"

If you THINK someone may be involved, keep in mind they may not want you to know. If you want to know, and it is just curiosity, assume whatever you'd like to. Just don't talk about it to others because it really isn't anyone's business, and since consanguinamory is still criminalized in many places and consanguineous lovers are otherwise subjected to discrimination, they shouldn't be outed (unless they are someone, such as a prosecutor or legislator, perpetuating discrimination against other consanguineous lovers.)

If you want to know because you want to be supportive, that's another matter. Here's the advice I have written for people who are friends and family of consanguineous lovers.

The trick to getting someone to confide in you that they are involved on consanguinamory is to signal to them that they can. The way to do this to convey the message that you 1) do not condemn consanguinamory, 2) care about them, and 3) can keep a secret.
Communicating #1 can be as easy as saying something like (especially if you have one of them alone), "I was reading about a country that is considering repealing laws against consensual sex, particularly a law they have against close relatives having sex. I was surprised some places still have laws like that. I mean, if they are consenting adults, what's the big deal?" Or if you live in the US, you can say something like "I was reading about how different states have different laws. I was surprised to read that a couple states still criminalize consensual sex between first cousins, and that only a few states do not have any laws against consensual incest, no matter how closely related. I would think most, if not all states, would have repealed such ridiculous laws against consensual sex."

The worst-case scenario is that they are not only NOT involved, but they disagree with your statement, in which case you can ask them why they disagree. If they accuse YOU of wanting to be involved, you can point out that someone doesn't have to secretly want someone of another race to support interracial marriage, or someone doesn't have to be a woman to support women's rights. Otherwise, they may shrug their shoulders or agree, but not reveal anything to you (at least not right away.) That could be because they aren't involved. Or, they may open up to you, which would be great because most people in consanguinamorous relationships really appreciate support and someone to talk with.

There are other ways of communicating #1 or furthering the point, such as saying you read someone talking about these books, or saying you were reading about how common it is and that everyone knows someone involved, and asking, "What do you think about that?"

Another way is saying that you notice that in discussions about marriage equality, some people want to keep denying close relatives their freedom to marry and you just can't think of a good reason why someone would want to stop people from being together if they love each other.


Another way that might work, if their facade is that they aren't in a relationship with anyone, or they've been mysterious about who they are seeing, is to say something like, "I want you to be happy. If you're happy not being in a relationship, I support you. And if you're in a relationship, as long as everyone involved in a consenting adults, I support you."

The trick is to give them enough wiggle room to pick up the ball and run with it, if they are ready to. They may not, or may not do it right away, but there are ways of letting them know you would be supportive that are not likely to give someone who ISN'T involved the idea that you think they ARE involved. You can also prevent a misunderstanding by saying something like, "I don't have any secret crushes on relatives myself, but it isn't wrong to have them."

You Know They Are Doing It. Now What?

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO KNOW YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BETRAY THEM. How did you find out? If they came to you to tell you, it means they trust you. Unless you're a voyeur and they're exhibitionists, the worst way to find out is to actually have caught them or found video or images of them in the act. If they didn't choose to tell you, it is especially important to assure them that you're not going to betray them.


Be willing to listen, but don't try to pry anything out of them. People in sexual/romantic/spousal relationships with close relatives often feel like they have to keep it closeted, and might think they don't have anyone they can talk with about their relationship. For many, it would be such a relief to have someone to talk with. Other people are extremely private and don't want to talk about it. After all, some people are private about their sex life in general. Some who have been open about their sex life before, want to keep this private. In these cases, the best thing to do is respect their privacy and boundaries. (as it is in any case).

You might be curious, but they might not be comfortable talking.

Either way, let them know they can get in touch with others at Kindred Spirits forum.

On the other hand, maybe you're uncomfortable with the topic, but you still want to be their ally. If they're hoping they can talk with you about it, you might have to assure them you'd never betray them, but that you'd prefer not to get into details about it. Keep in mind, though, that for a lot of consanguinamorous lovers, means you're telling them that you don't want to hear about the most wonderful and exciting part of their life. Think about it. Imagine falling head over heals in love with someone and you want to tell a friend or sibling or whomever, and that person's response is "Eww, I don't want to hear about that!" So please be very delicate, and, if you must, change the subject. Again, they can referred to Kindred Spirits.

Don’t try to break them up. Know your place as a family member or friend. (If you have discovered your siblings are consanguinamorous, read this.) Every person must make her (or his) own decisions about her body, love life, sex, and marriage, and each person must make their own decision about whether or how to come out. You are there to help. You don’t have to like the fact that someone, even your own child or parent or sibling, is having sex, and doing so with a close relative. But just because you wouldn’t do it does not mean they wouldn’t want to, or they shouldn’t. Parents do have a lot of say over what goes on in their own home, of course, but in general, keeping lovers apart is usually an exercise in futility. Being overprotective can backfire.

Do NOT tell them it's just a phase. Accept that this could be for life. It may also be a phase. Don't try to tell them which; they have to find out for themselves, at their own pace. Either way, support their goals even if it isn’t what you wanted for them.

Do NOT treat their relationship as lesser than others. These relationships still face much discrimination; don't add to it! Even if they can't legally marry, even if they can't even be public about their relationship, it doesn't mean it isn't as serious or valid as any other relationship. Most relationships break up. If a consanguinamorous relationship does, do not say anything that implies they should have known it couldn't last. The fact is, some consangionamorous relationships last for life, "til death do they part." If they choose to have children together, you might not think it is a good idea, but it should be their choice to make.

Do NOT out or incriminate the lovers. It should be their decision whether or not to come out, to whom they will come out, and when and how to come out. Gossiping about them can mean disaster for them. Share this entry with them about how they can protect themselves.

Ask them how they want to be presented. How they present themselves can be influenced by many factors, including their individual personalities, relationship dynamics, the local culture, whether or not they are living where they are widely known to be related, whether this is a reunion situation or not, and more. Do they want to be introduced to others as partners, or in their familial roles? Perhaps a coded body language sign can be worked out to clue you in when a situation arises unexpectedly. For example, if they plan on holding hands and stealing smooches at a party, they may may not want to be introduced as siblings, aunt/nephew, etc.

Ask them if they want your help and how you can help. For some, just knowing that they have an ally in you will be enough. Others might need help such as you running interference for them. It can be hard for them to deal with the complications bigotry brings. If you know a good family and/or criminal defense lawyer who'd be willing to consult with them, that could be a great help. They should NOT explicitly tell as lawyer they are or plan to do anything that is illegal where they are (unless they are collaborating with the lawyer on setting up a civil rights test case). However, they can ask "hypothetical" questions of the lawyer or ask the lawyer for help in defending against criminal charges or in setting up paperwork to protect each other.


Stand by them if they're outed.
If they're outed, or live, where it is still a crime, "standing by them" will likely include not saying anything that could be used to prosecute them or that would make you someone the prosecutors would like to put on the witness stand under oath. Rather, defend their humanity and talk about their good qualities, because people who don't even know them are going to be saying horrible things about them. They need to be protected.

Be prepared to deflect bigotry. Many people are rude enough to express disgust when they find out that someone else has a relationship different from what the objecting person thinks is best. These situations can usually be handled through a combination of strength in numbers, keeping composure, and calmly asking for a reason for the objection. Thus, if you support the lovers, that’s at least three people standing together. The “reason” for the objection will almost invariably be one of two things: 1. “That’s gross/disgusting/sick!” and; 2. “It’s illegal.” To the first, I recommend saying something along the lines of, “Not to worry; nobody will make you do it.” To the second (if it is even true), something along the lines of “It shouldn’t be” should work. See the Discredited Arguments page. An example of something you can say it, "It doesn't matter who is disgusted by the idea; is there a single good reason to deny to deny consenting adults their right to be together?"

Support the Rights of All. There is strength in numbers, there is wisdom in experience. Every adult should be free to pursue happiness in love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults. It doesn’t matter if they are exogamous or consanguinamorous. It doesn’t matter what their sexual orientation is. It doesn't matter what gender they are. It doesn’t matter if they are monogamist, polyamorous, or something else. Nobody should be denied marriage, fired, or bullied because of who they love. Support the rights of your loved ones, and the rights of others.


Special Consideration for Situations Involving Minors and the Dependent - This entire blog is mostly about consenting adults. If you know of a situation involving teenaged minors four years or less apart in age, or if these are adults and one of them is dependent on the other due to disability, illness, or advanced age, it could be a good idea to talk with them individually to make sure this is, in fact, a consensual situation and not one involving any form of coercion.



See:

Why Support Marriage Equality?
How You Can Help Others
Where To Find Help
Ten Myths About Sibling Consanguinamory
Jane Doe's Consanguinamory Blog Posting to Parents of Consanguinamorous Children
For Family and Friends of the Consanguinamorous


Join:
Facebook Group: I Support Full Marriage Equality!


Write Me:
fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com
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