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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why do I support consanguinamory?

An anonymous user on Tumblr asked:
I hope this doesn't sound weird and I'm sure you get asked all the time, but why are you for incestuous / consaguinamory relationships and marriages? Every example I've ever heard has come from a background of abuse, or perhaps neglect from parents to have exposure to the outside world. I want to understand though, I want to understand in what context you believe this is okay and not abusive, and why you believe that it should be fought for?
It’s not weird, but others get asked it more than me. Before, people would just unfollow me. It’s more unusual for someone to ask about it before passing judgment.

One of the things you should notice is that there isn’t any child abuse in any of the cases I’ve posted about, unless I’m taking someone to task for it. I hate the equation of “incest” (I hate how broadly we use that word) with familial child abuse, in the same way that I hate how homophobes equate all homosexuals with men who abuse young boys - and yes, they do make that equation. It seems that some of my followers can make this distinction, too.

You want to know why? Because when I see two consenting adults who’ve fallen in love and want to build a life together, I think it’s beautiful. And then I have to sit and watch as everyone around them tars and feathers them, beats and strangles them, shames them, throws them in jail, and puts them on the sex offender registry for life. People who’ve been abused speak out, because they hope they can find support from their friends. People in non-abusive relationships don’t speak out, because they know that their friends and family will try to hurt them. It’s actually far more common than you realize, and I come across more and more cases all the time.

I am tired of people killing themselves or getting murdered by their families. It sickens me when our society cares more about punishing non-conformity than helping the victims of real abuse. Our society is far too prurient. When people celebrate gay men getting married, no-one seems to get all that confused about the lack of equivalence with adult men sexually abusing young boys, but if the two are half-siblings, suddenly it gets extremely confusing for people. It’s totally legal to return to your home town after college and marry your old teacher, but if you have sex with a woman who never raised you, but who happened to have carried you for 9 months, suddenly you’re a sex offender. None of that sounds sane to me.

What you’re talking about is a major assumption, and it’s one that’s created by stereotypes perpetuated by our culture and the media. I never internalized those assumptions. Actually, I think such couples are sweet. It has also never stopped me from hating child abuse. I know and know of people who’ve been abused by family, and people who’ve had consensual sex with family. The two groups don’t negate each other, any more than a priest having a romantic relationship with another man negates those boys who’ve been victimized by priests.

Besides, I hope you realize that a majority of all long-term sexual relationships between blood-relatives are among reunited relatives. It’s called genetic sexual attraction. Literally every human being is capable of it, because our instincts evolved in a context in which 99.9% of children were raised by their biological parent, with their biological siblings. If you ever find yourself meeting a long lost half-sibling, you might find your feelings changing rather quickly.

And what about cousin couples? They’re not even considered biologically “incestuous”, and we have no natural instincts to prevent attraction to cousins. Most cultures now don’t consider even 1st-cousins to be “incestuous”. Hell, double 1st-cousins are allowed to marry under all Abrahamic religions, even though double 1st-cousins are as genetically related as half-siblings. Double 1st-cousin marriage is also allowed in half the US, and in a majority of countries. I mean, Islam allows it, and Islam is way stricter about consanguinamory than Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. The Torah doesn’t even specify a uniform punishment for all types - siblings who’ve had sex are merely banished. (Also, the Torah allows for uncles and nieces to marry. Remember that the next time someone tells you that cousin marriage is “against God” or whatever.)

It’s not like the laws are universal, anyway. What’s considered “incest” in any given culture has changed drastically over time. Now Iranians live under Twelver Shi’i shari’ah law (mostly), but in ancient times marriages to close relatives were venerated as holier than exogamous marriages. Exposure to Islam and Hinduism has changed modern Zoroastrianism to forbid such marriages, but 1st-cousin marriages are still preferred among the Parsis. Before the Romans actively tried to eliminate the practice, sibling marriage was preferred among the Egyptians, and as much as a fifth of all marriages were between siblings. The Romans even used the threat of violence to eliminate the practice from their Kurdish Zoroastrian provinces. Western imperialists and Christian missionaries later went around the world and tried their best to eliminate similar practices among those cultures which had them.

That was, of course, under systems of arranged marriage (though not all the marriages were necessarily arranged, or unwanted by the participants). The point is, the prohibition is pretty damn arbitrary, and always has been. Such couples have existed since the dawn of humanity, and in most cultures they’ve been hunted down and tortured to death for no other reason than people thought it was “unnatural” and a “bad omen”. Why should nice people, who aren’t even that unusual, be hunted down like rabid dogs and thrown away for life? Why should their children be ripped from them and placed in foster homes where they are actually more likely to be sexually abused? Why should society waste its time and resources suppressing something that doesn’t need to be suppressed, to protect nobody, and destroy families that would otherwise contribute positively to society?

Many countries allow consanguineous sex, anyway. Last time I checked, Brazil’s problems weren’t because they allow consensual adults to have sex, or because they allow half-siblings to marry. France and Japan don’t seem to be falling into ruin. Australia and England get by while allowing 1st-cousins to marry. I have yet to see anyone claim that France is a cesspool of child rape. Historically, “incest” laws were not created with child welfare in mind, and other laws exist to protect child welfare already. The bigger problem is how effectively those laws are enforced, and whether they need to be enforced frequently, both of which are cultural problems related to the way societies view children and authority figures. I respect children and don’t blindly accept something from someone with power. I think that’s more important for preventing the abuse of children than outlawing consanguinamory.

I can’t possibly reproduce all of my arguments for you here. It would be very, very long. I haven’t even gotten to the psychology of itnor even the biology of it. Read this; it will help you understand. Maybe read an account or twoWatch a movie or two or three. There are still plenty of things I haven’t linked to here, regardless. Similar couples are everywhere, floating around the internet. These are all just the ones that bother to publicize themselves. Remember that.

Don’t feel bad for asking. At least you care enough to ask.

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