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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Loving Couple Denied the Freedom to Marry

From Full Marriage Equality:
I am from Canada. I was raised by my mother and maternal grandparents as an only child. I had what I would describe as an idyllic childhood until I was a teenager. Being the focus of four adults’ attention as a youngster can be both good and bad. My grandparents were actively involved in my upbringing as was my mother's brother. Each of them offered me many things of value. My grandfather and I were particularly close. I spent a great deal of time in academic and artistic pursuits, each fostered by at least one of these adults. 
When I turned 13 my grandfather died, my mother separated from her second husband, my grandmother fell into alcoholism, my uncle got married and became a fundamentalist Christian. I met my father for the first time that summer. It was a rough year. Obviously there were a lot of things I didn't understand at the time going on under the surface. Today, I can say I do but it was a long personal journey to really come to grips with who the people I loved were and how that impacted me. I've learned a great deal from it all but it was a travail.
[...] [My father and I] were reunited the first time when I was a teenager. We had a conventional father daughter relationship externally but were to learn years later that we did not feel 'conventional' about each other then. I was struck with a physical and sexual attraction to him almost immediately. I squelched it. I thought I was 'sick' for feeling that way. We stayed in contact for six years at which point I couldn't handle how I felt anymore and not act on it so... I ran and never spoke to him again until twenty some odd years later.
[...] Complete strangers know we are father and daughter. We are literally gender opposite mirrors of each other. The only people who know are my children and other GSA people we've connected with online and you, [Full Marriage Equality,] of course. My children came and asked the nature of our relationship early into our reunion. They were a little uncomfortable with it but all of them had come to terms with how it happened before they even came to me. It helped that two of my children are gay. There was some integral understanding of being persecuted for something you can’t help. It also helped that my father was just united with them for the first time last year. They are bio relatives but no ‘ick’ factor for them where he and I are concerned. I also think the striking similarity between him and I (not just looks, but personality) has made it much easier for them to trust him.
[...] I was upset that he was taking on this mantle of guilt and self castigation for feelings we BOTH had, particularly when his behaviour towards me was entirely appropriate for a father towards his teenaged daughter. In addition I felt he had been heroic in ignoring the loud signals I was giving him at the time. My poor father... if we had only known about GSA BEFORE we reunited we could both have avoided hating ourselves for our feelings. Feelings that were never acted on until twenty plus years later... and feelings that lead to another twenty year separation-both of us running from each other rather than doing something 'sick' or 'perverted'. I was twenty the last time I saw him.
This led to our conversations about staying in each others lives, trying to understand what happened and why. Both of us committed to our relationship as father and daughter ahead of all else. That we would not allow ourselves to be separated again, no matter what else happened. We drew the conclusion before we knew about GSA, quite rightly, that the physical attraction was a replacement for the bonding we had missed and that it was okay even if others would not understand. That if we were to pursue our bonding through the sexual aspect of our relationship and it didn't last we would stay father and daughter. 
The first time we had contact was spontaneous in the sense that we didn't plan it ahead of time. The conversations I describe above happened both before and after. This was a very fluid and intense experience. [...] The line between hugging, kissing and being sexually intimate is blurred in GSA. It is an extension of who we really are to each other.
[...] I've mentioned several advantages already... the trust between my children and father is unparalleled. My children have connected with my father in a way they never could with a man I became involved with who was not a biological relative. That's huge. Anyone who has been in a step parent situation knows exactly what I mean. My father loved them instantly; he wanted what was best for them, not because of me but for themselves. There was never an attitude of 'putting up with them' in order to be with me. 
I believe our level of commitment to one another is deeper because of the relationship. It is easier to be monogamous. The intensity of feeling both good and bad is deeper. Because we communicate well we have learned to handle the difficulties associated with that better, like jealousy (which is far more intense than in an ordinary couple) and sensitivity. We both have learned to be a little more careful in how we express things to each other as a result.
But the big advantage in this is: I am as certain as he is that we do not ever want to hurt each other. We understand that we each wield a great deal of power over injuring the other but that feeling is concurrent with the desire to have the other's happiness at almost any cost and certainly our own happiness is dependent on the other's. It's a difficult feeling to relate to if you have not experienced GSA, but it is truly selfless and imperative to be that way with one another. [...] Do I really need to explain to anyone who has ever been in a relationship why that would be a huge advantage? I'm guessing not.
[...] No, [I don't feel anything for any other family member] at all. Though to be fair, I haven't spent much time with any of them yet. My half-brother and I saw each other when he was twenty one and I didn't experience anything like the feelings I had for my father the first time we met.
[...] I am an adult woman under the law - I can consent to sex with anyone I want. As someone who has been raped and assaulted, I can personally tell you that what I have with my father is an act of mutual love. [...] The more thought I give to GSA, to my GSA partner and our relationship, the more I feel that this is the new frontier, following the breakdown of the societal barriers toward homosexuality. [...] The maelstrom is coming. As more and more people connect with their adoptive relatives, as more and more children of IVF accidentally marry their blood relatives, as more and more of us already in this situation process their own personal journey and wake up to the reality of their own innocence in all of it, the quiet whispers of our agony will become a screaming cry of outrage for freedom. Freedom from judgement, freedom from social persecution, freedom from criminal penalty, freedom to have the same legal rights and protection as any other couple.

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