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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Coming Out Consanguinamorous


Introduction

"Coming out" means declaring or no longer hiding that you're consanguinamorous in orientation or in a consanguinamorous relationship. Whether, when, to whom, and how to come out is something that can weigh on the mind of a consanguinamorous person.

Getting to decide whether, when, to whom, and how to come out is a privilege that is sometimes denied people who are outed against their will or by accident. Consanguinamorous people should seriously consider how to protect themselves.


Please note this entry is about coming out in general, such as to family, friends, etc., not about coming out to a romantic/sexual/spousal partner. That has many different considerations and warrants its own entry.

Stay in the Closet If/Until...

Stay in the closet if the risks or negative consequences of coming out  where you live/work will outweigh the positives or benefits. Stay in the closet until that changes. In determining this, you should also consider the needs and feelings of your current or past consanguinamorous partner(s) who would likely be outed along with you. For example, a 25-year-old woman may feel like she'll be OK if she comes out, but what about her 50-year-old father, who is her partner? He is far more likely to be seen as an predator, even if the relationship was entirely consensual and initiated by the woman, who wasn't raised by him but rather a loving adoptive father and mother?

Having to hide who you are or your loving relationships can be a psychological burden and can unduly restrict your life. Under current legal and cultural conditions in most places though, it is generally safer for you and your lover(s) if you stay in the closet.

In some places, being out can mean being tortured and murdered. In other places, that's not likely, but you can be criminally prosecuted, fined, and thrown into prison for decades. Even in most places where consanguinamory isn't criminalized, you can still be persecuted, harassed, bullied, and discriminated against (refused housing, denied employment, denied the right to marry, etc.), estranged/shunned/disowned from/by family members, and lose friendships. Yes, it is a travesty that these things happen to people simply because they love each other, but that's a sad fact of life we are working to change.


Some people will wait to come out until one or more of the following is true:
  • they are living where consanguinamory isn't criminalized
  • consanguinamorous people are protected against discrimination
  • they are financially secure, likely for the rest of their life
  • they are retired or self-employed with supportive clients/customers
  • they are no longer in a consanguinamorous relationship, especially if they are unlikely to get into another one or resume a past relationship
  • their parent(s) or other family members likely to object have passed
  • the benefits of coming out outweigh the drawbacks (this can be relative to the person and situation, such as the emotional burden of remaining closeted being too much to endure)

Why It Can Be Good To Come Out


It can be good to come out for both personal and societal reasons.

Personally, coming out can lift psychological and emotional burdens. Being open and honest with medical professionals, therapists, counselors, attorneys, financial planners, and other professionals benefits people, as does being able to he open and honest with family, friends, and social contacts. Otherwise, simply going through life can have unnecessary challenges.

For society, visibility helps. Coming out shows other consanguinamorous people that they're not alone. It can also open the minds of others and encourage people to become allies. It's easier to perpetuate prejudices if people think only "bad" people they don't know do these things. Having large numbers of people come out will allow medical professionals, sociologists, and others study the dynamics of consanguinamory. This can be beneficial for relationships in general.

Your life situation and your local culture and laws may be such that coming out is the right decision for you, especially when you consider how coming out can help you and others by helping to raise awareness, start dialogues, open minds, and change laws.



If and When You Decide to Come Out

If Possible, Don't Out Others Without Their Consent. You may be ready to come out, but will your coming out also out someone else who isn't ready to come out? Discuss things with them to either get their consent or figure out what else can be done. Nobody should be outed against their will unless they are in a position of power and hypocritically persecuting others for who they love.

A Process, Not An Event.
For most people, coming out will be an ongoing process, not a single event. It may make sense to come out to one or two people first, people you trust to be supportive and helpful, especially if they can help you come out to others. A common example is first coming out to a sibling or grandparent who can help you come out to your parents. Even if you come out to your family, friends, neighbors, etc, coming out can still be an ongoing process because people will come into your life that make assumptions about relationships and sexuality.

Another way that coming out can be a process is that if there is another factor to your identity or sexuality that is marginalized. For example, if you're polyamorous, it might be better to come out as polyamorous first, depending if people around you are more likely to accept polyamory than consnaguinamory. If you don't fit the cisgender/hetero-monogamist/vanilla mold, or whatever is seen as "traditional" and "normal" where you are in multiple aspects, you might have multiple steps to coming out.

Get Prepared. There's a good chance that you'll  have to defend not only yourself, but consanguinamory in general. Be prepared to deal with the question of why. If you're in a reunion GSA situation, that might need some extra explanation. In addition to this blog, there's the Consaguinamory Wiki, Jane's blog, and Cristina's blog to help you prepare or for you to show someone who has questions.


Brace Yourself. Be prepared for hate, accusation of you being "sick," confusion, bad arguments against you, questions, and people needing time to process what you've told them. You might not get acceptance, support, or congratulations, immediately or ever, whatever your relationship has been like with these people before you came out. Some of them may already know or have strongly suspected, but they may have been more comfortable with things left unsaid. For others, consanguinamory is furthest from their mind and so they may be completely surprised. Some people may even be completely indifferent.

Jealousy or envy might come into play. This can happen in many ways. For example, if you're with your sibling, another sibling or a cousin might wonder why you're not with them. Or a third sibling might resent how close you two are, even if that third sibling has no sexual interest in either of you.

There is the possibility that someone close you, especially a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, will have had their own experiences with consanguinamory or consanguinamorous feelings, but caved into pressure and it ended. They may be especially resistant to accepting your ongoing status because it is something they think they should have had, but didn't. They may feel, at least for a while, that you should do what they felt they had to do; sublimate your feelings, end your relationship, and pick an "acceptable" life.

Test the Waters. Testing the waters may give you some indication of how someone would react to you coming out, while still allowing you to avoid actually coming out. The easiest way to test the waters is to bring up the topic of marginalized, taboo, or forbidden sexualities and relationships in general (or, if you're feeling bold, you can be specific in bringing up consanguinamory). If you don't find opportunities to do this in the normal course of conversation with these people, then you can do it by bringing up the subject by referencing fiction (books, television shows, movies, theatre, music), a news item, or (proposed) legislation, even if you have to make it up. If you're lucky, they might say something like "What consenting adults do with each other is nobody else's business," to which you can ask. "Are there any exceptions?" Or you can bring up that principle, saying "I think adults should be free to be with any and all consenting adults. I can't think of any exceptions to that. Can you?"

If they
have a bad reaction to the idea of consanguinamory, you know it is a no-go with them, unless they have a very strong admiration for you, so much so that your coming out to them would change their opinion on consanguinamory. (If you're so confident about that, you don't need to bother the test the waters.) But if is an accepting or supportive reaction from them, you MIGHT be safe. That's not for certain, because sometimes people treat personal matters different than abstract concepts. Think of the man who says he's not racist and is fine with interracial marriage, but gets upset when his daughter brings home a man of a different race. On the other hand, some who've feared that someone would be uptight or close-minded have been pleasantly surprised at their acceptance, whether quick or gradual.

How To Come Out

Make a Plan. There will probably never be a "perfect" time and place, but consider picking a time, place, and methods based on the person(s) to whom you want to come out. Will your lover(s) be with you? Think through what you choose. Can you visualize doing it? Can you run through the scenario in your mind? You can always change your mind right up until the moment it has been done, so adjust your plans as you think best.

What Before Who. If you're in, or pursuing a relationship, to be safe, it might be good to tell the person you're coming out to what is going on before you tell them who is involved, in case you misjudged their tolerance. With some people, the best tactic can be to start by telling them you're in love or that you've found someone special who makes you happy. That tends to elicit encouragement and happiness. From there, tell them that some people might not like it and go on to say it is because of who this person already was to you. If the person you're tellings react negatively, even if they accurately guess your involvement(s), you don't need to (and probably shouldn't) let them know they're right. Of course, if you're simply coming out as consanguinamorous in your orientation and not in a consanguinamorous relationship, this is not an issue.

In the Flesh or Remote? There are many ways to come out, some better than others. In general, it is better to do it in private, calm circumstances. Unless someone is violent and likely to have an outburst or tantrum, in-person is generally better than via electronic face time, a video or audio recording, a picture, or a written message. (In-person, if not being recorded, also tends to leave less evidence that can be used for criminal prosecution, if that is a concern.) However, if you want to come out to many people at the same time, there may be no other option than to do it through some form of electronic communication.

Use the Past. If you're coming out to a family member, do you know of any of your common ancestors who were consanguinamorous? How about living relatives? Or was someone else in the family out as some other marginalized sexuality? Leading off with that might be the best way to ease into what you reveal about yourself.
Not a Victim. If someone may be mistaken as a victim because of their age or gender or some other reason, it might be best for them to break the news. For example, if you're a young woman who is with her father, and you two want to come out to your grandmother, it might be best if you are clearly directing the conversation. It might even be best to do it away from your father. This might help ease concerns on the part of your grandmother that you were somehow manipulated or coerced. If possible, start off by getting agreement from the person you're coming out to that you're an adult who can make her own decisions about her body, sexuality, and relationships. It can also help to explain that intergenerational relationships can work and they're not inherently abusive whether the older person is the mother, father, aunt, uncle, or whatever. If you're siblings, this might help your family.

Request Their Cooperation. Unless you don't care who knows, implore the person to respect you by keeping the news to themselves in so far as you need. Point out that, depending on where you live, prejudice can be result in threats to your life, your freedom, your employment, etc. Let them know how they can be an ally to you and how they can help you and others.




You May Not Have to Actively Come Out

Depending on your situation, you might not have to actively come out. Rather, you simply stop holding the closet door closed. For example, if you're with your sibling and others know you spend a lot of time together, if they ask if they can set you up or when you're going to "settle down" and find someone, if you're not interested in taking on other relationships, you can say something like, "I'm happy with my life the way it is." Or if someone says you're spending too much time with your sibling or you are "too close," you can say something like, "This makes us happy. We like being together." Neither of those statements is an outright statement that you're consanguinamorous, but it leaves it open for interpretation.


Sometimes, you're better off, at least for the moment, under a "don't ask, don't" tell approach. There's an elephant in the room, but as long as it isn't discussed, there'll be peace.

Wearing or displaying the Friends of Lily symbol can be a silent way of making a statement.


Remember

No matter what other people say or do, your worth is not determined by them. You're life is made up of your actions. Though you may crave someone else's approval, you don't need it to live your life. You might want to shout from the rooftops, or maybe you don't want to tell anyone. Your life, and your love life especially, is yours, just as other people have been living theirs. If you need some reassurance and acceptance, join our free forum, Kindred Spirits. Unlike so many others, it is not a fetish site. It is for serious discussion by consanguinamorous people and allies. You may also find help elsewhere.

Have you come out? Tell us how it went. Are you planning to come out? Let us know. You can comment below (including anonymously) or send email to fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com.
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