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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Film: Friends From France

Friends from France (a.k.a. Les Interdits) is a multilingual film about two cousins from France traveling to the USSR to help Soviet Jews escape to Israel. The vast majority of the film takes place within the one week they are in the USSR, and centers around their relationship with each other, and with their Jewish identities. I was struck by how, if only some lines were changed, the entire film could be about a sibling couple and there would be very little difference, except for the fact that everyone would be less open talking about it. Both of the main characters grew up together in a refugee camp, and their push and pull dynamic is reminiscent of other types of intense, but frowned upon relationships. The film isn't a thriller, or a mystery, but more of a personal drama about self-discovery and human connection.

The whole film can be watched on YouTube with English subtitles. It's not a fast paced movie, but it's not long either - just 90 minutes, which is rare these days. I liked it, though I'd say I enjoyed some other movies more.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Podcasts on Consanguinamory

There have been a series of podcasts coming out recently on consanguinamory. They've mostly focused on GSA, since there's been a wave of media coverage on GSA in the past couple of years. The Mike E & Emma podcast did a short interview with a woman in a relationship with her half-brother. They were really supportive, and it was nice to hear that the woman's family is supportive too.

Snap Judgement dedicated a portion of one of their episodes to an interview with a GSA couple. It also features supportive family members. It's so nice to hear stories of GSA couples getting acceptance, since so often the stories of GSA couples being arrested include family turning the couples in.

Now, after those short but important pieces, Nothing Off Limits has dedicated a string of podcast episodes to the subject, covering all possible angles. A podcast episode came out Sunday night featuring Cristina Shy. She did an excellent job, and the host is very understanding. This is the kind of coverage we need to move the movement forward. I want to thank both Cristina Shy and Michelle Ann Owens for all of this.

Cristina's final message is really powerful, and I wanted to reproduce it here for everyone who doesn't want to listen to the whole podcast:
America was founded on "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." People always forget about that last part. Freedom isn't just about doing whatever you want, it's about forging your own way in the world, and finding out how to be your best self. It's about making the world a better place for you, and those around you. My relationship with my brother is the best relationship I've ever had. Someone else coming and trying to ruin everything for us would not change what we've had. This relationship has made me grow as a person, and it has given me a reason to live. This is the path I have found for myself, and it has brought good into the world. And yet people still want to tell me that I do not have the right to decide what is best in life. They say I do not have the right to love this man, and be loved by this man. If they'd had their way, we never would've gotten together, and then I would never have learned all the things I've learned.

Imagine if every time you touched your partner affectionately, people harassed you. Image if you had to run in fear of the police finding out you were just having sex. Imagine if taking your kids to the doctor meant possibly losing them forever. What would the world look like then? I don't think it's a world anyone would want to live in, but that's the world everyone else is forcing us to live in. No-one should have the right to do this to another innocent person. We have not hurt anyone else, and we have not hurt each other. The world could only be better for letting us be free.
Edit:  The Nothing Off Limits episode with Jane of has just come out. Jane did an excellent job! This has been some of the best and fairest coverage our community has gotten, ever. I want to thank everyone involved for their work. You can read Jane's original interview with Keith here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Documentary: "Incest: The Last Taboo?"

Finally! The full version! I thought this documentary was lost when Current_ TV was sold to Aljazeera. I really have to thank Jane Doe for finding this.

This is, I think, the most even-handed portrayal of GSA I've seen. It shows people who never acted on their feelings, people who moved past their feelings willingly, people who were in relationships but were forced apart, and people who are still together. I also love that Barbara Gonyo is their primary source for a counselor's perspective.

They go through the standard scare-mongering regarding deformed children, but then show clearly that the children of consanguineous couples don't have to be deformed. They show that in many cases the feelings aren't reciprocated, but that sometimes they are, and in both cases broader awareness and acceptance is necessary to help them in the ways those specific people need.

I find the psychological analysis in this somewhat laughable, but that's where psychotherapy is currently at regarding GSA. What I'm more interested in are the people, and the people are amazing.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Marguerite and Julien de Ravalet

The story of Marguerite and Julien de Ravalet was quite famous in France in its time, and is still well known there. In the rest of the world, though, they are completely unknown. I myself was surprised that I had never heard of them, until I did research and found out that 99% of everything online and in print about them is in French. Making exact sense of the story has been difficult, since the ages of those involved during various events are different everywhere I find them. I could only find one English-language site which discusses the story in full.

Marguerite and Julien were two of eleven siblings born to the landed Ravalet family at the end of the Renaissance. The time period was a chaotic one, the culmination of religious and political conflict between the Catholics and Calvinists of France, who fought bloody battles and attempted assassinations all during the Ravalets' lives.

Marguerite and Julien grew up on the Ravalet estate in Tourlaville, northern France, and from a very early age they were extremely close. As they grew up and became even closer, their parents decided that it was a problem. They separated them by sending Julien off to boarding school. He didn't return until years later.

The Ravalet chateau

Their parents married Marguerite off to the tax collector, Jean Lefebvre, who was much, much older than her. (She was only 13 or 14 at the time.) By all accounts it was a very unhappy marriage. Eventually she couldn't take it anymore, and she left him and went home. Julien was there when she returned. Some time after, Marguerite became pregnant, and she fled home to avoid retribution.

Julien seems to have given his father the impressions that he would go and find Marguerite to bring her back. Instead, when he found her they absconded to Paris. When he found out, Jean Lefebvre (Marguerite's husband) went to the royal authorities and demanded that the two be charged with adultery and incest. They were arrested in Paris and thrown in prison. During their trial they were found guilty on both counts, and sentenced to death.

Over the course of this ordeal, word got around about the de Ravalet siblings and they became famous. Many people were sympathetic toward them, and their father personally begged King Henri IV to pardon them. King Henri explained that because Marguerite was married and had committed adultery, he couldn't publicly justify pardoning them. The only concession he could give was to allow for Marguerite and Julien to have a proper Christian burial, and not be thrown into the public mass graves.

Marguerite gave birth to her baby in prison, and gave the baby to her parents, to care for it in her absence. Shortly after, she and Julien were publicly decapitated. Their tombstone read:
Ci gisent le frère et la sœur. Passant ne t'informe pas de la cause de leur mort, mais passe et prie Dieu pour leur âmes.
[Here lie the brother and the sister. Passerby, search not the cause of their death, but pass and pray to God for their souls.]
After their death, the siblings became symbols in France of brave and tragic love. Paintings were made depicting them, and plays were written about them. Recently a modern retelling has come out which has reignited interest in their story: Marguerite & Julien. You can watch it here.

Edit: Bonus! It grossed out a New York Times film critic! I like it even more now!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

There are plenty of people out there open to change

This is from a while ago on Tumblr, but it's worth reposting here. I responded to one of Full Marriage Equality's posts, and the result was I pleasantly open debate with someone on the ethics of banning consanguinamory.

Let’s take a look at the arguments of someone who is concerned that “not everyone okay with consensual incest is kidding.” Because I’m not just “okay” with. I strongly support the rights of consenting adults to be together and consanguinamorous relationships are some of the most beautiful I have personally witnessed. And no, I’m not kidding.

You know, the “consanguinamory is dysfunctional” argument never seems to apply outside of consanguinamory. If we’re discriminating against siblings because of their “dysfunctional” relationship, why aren’t we doing that with non-related people in dysfunctional relationships? I have yet to see anyone propose that we take those in codependent, emotionally abusive relationships and throw them in jail for a few decades.
It’s culturally taboo, so I’m uncomfortable with incest…I need to look at research behind it, but I’m always pro humans at least considering acceptance of alternative lifestyles.

If you do also do some googling, I challenge you too completely accept it for 30 seconds before you analyze data to counter this arguement. (Like, how often are the r(x) abusive compared to not? How would our society differentiate between abuse, rape, and an emotional love expressed physically (something we already struggle with, and this would certainly blur a few shaded lines)? Would we make age gaps? How much of our disdain is taboo, which was once held for the LGBT community? I think if we tackle issues pragmatically then it can lower the chances of us becoming bigoted asses. And, in fact, a lot of my initial qualms against it could have been homophobic or racist or mysoginistic in nature as well.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Another Woman Denied Her Rights

From Full Marriage Equality:
I'd say my childhood was pretty average really, good bits and bad bits as any normal family. There was a lot of arguing and hostility between my parents and they really should have had a divorce because it often made a bad atmosphere for a day or two after an argument. On the whole, they were normal parents except for their marital problems. I always spent more time with my dad than with my mum because my mum and I never really got along all that well; a personality clash I guess. It was a shame, but you cannot force a person to like you and get along with you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Do you think incest and polygamy will be legalized?" - Masterpost

I came across a poll on the subject of the future of full marriage equality:
I was watching a TV show recently and surprisingly, three characters (two men and a woman) got together in a sexual AND romantic relationship - as in, it wasn’t just a kink, they were serious about it, they even made their relationship official to their family/friends. And it got me thinking, do you guys think polygamy will ever be legalized? And incest? And should they be, and if not, why? Will our society ever see it as acceptable/normal like with gay relationships?
I thought it would be helpful to create one post where I link to everything:
  • My initial response. I debunk the idea that no-one cares enough, argue against the usual eugenic argument, and also against the annoying argument I see all the time that amounts to, “Hah! All you can get is your mom?!” I also point out that polygamy/polyamorous marriage isn’t inherently sexist, because it includes polyandry and polygynandry. Women still have to consent.
  • Eugenics is not a good argument, but it’s the only one that sounds kind of scientific and reasonable in people’s heads, so they always fall back on it. It doesn’t matter if it has strange and disturbing logical implications, apparently. Then I have to explain the difference between consensual sex and consensual cannibalism…
  • I like this one. He provided me with an actual study for his statistic. I point out that it’s not as bad as he originally said, and either way the study itself points out that its findings are almost useless, because of sample bias.
  • I have to further explain why eugenic arguments are logically dangerous, and how even by the standards of eugenics, laws banning consanguineous sex make zero sense.
  • I lay down my arguments, once and for all, for why it makes sense and is just to have age-of-consent laws, but not laws against consanguineous sex. Let this be the end of it.
  • I explain to someone why people are polyamorous, and how it can work successfully. I also point out an assumption in his own thinking about jealousy in monogamy.
  • My closing statements.

Monday, December 28, 2015

"Do you think incest and polygamy will be legalized?" - Part 7

I came across a poll on the subject of the future of full marriage equality:
I was watching a TV show recently and surprisingly, three characters (two men and a woman) got together in a sexual AND romantic relationship - as in, it wasn’t just a kink, they were serious about it, they even made their relationship official to their family/friends. And it got me thinking, do you guys think polygamy will ever be legalized? And incest? And should they be, and if not, why? Will our society ever see it as acceptable/normal like with gay relationships?
Closing statements:
I don’t understand why y'all feel so comfortable trashing these people, and arguing for legally abusing them. Is it because y'all don’t know them personally? Well, I do, and they’re perfectly nice, reasonable people. Actually, some of them are nicer than the “normal” people I’ve met. They love one another. They take care of their kids. They pay taxes. Emotionally, I don’t understand how people can hate that so much. Trust me, just because you don’t think you know such a couple, doesn’t mean you don’t. The closet for both [polyamorous and consanguinamorous people] is large, and the closet for consanguineous couples is massive. It doesn’t mean they like living in fear and secrecy, and they shouldn’t have to. However, it’s easy enough for them to get away with it that they don’t risk rocking the boat.

It seems like what y'all want is to shove them into the closet and tell them to shut up, so y'all don’t have to be confronted with personal discomfort. Why should your personal discomfort have any relevance to law in a liberal country which enshrines protections for the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority? How does shaming people and telling them to shut up encourage abuse victims to come forward? And more importantly, how can you demand such a contract when it isn’t in good faith? These couples
do hide in the closet. The problem is that when other people find out accidentally, they hunt them down and throw them in jail, even if they hid it well.
They need to fight these laws, because there is never any guarantee that the law won’t be used to abuse them, regardless of how they behave. The majority always loves telling minorities to shut up and go away when they complain. Meanwhile, minorities complain because, regardless of their silence and isolation, the majority still abuses some from time to time to make an example of them. There’s no other way for them to protect themselves, other than to fight the legal and social regime.

Most feel like the cost of fighting is too high, which is why it takes decades of momentum to get more to come out of the closet. That doesn’t mean they stay in the closet because they acquiesce to this “agreement”. They’re just afraid. They’re afraid of
y'all. They’re adults with otherwise normal lives, who’ve done nothing to anyone that could ever be construed as harmful or destructive. Yet y'all have the power to utterly destroy them. Is that just? Are y'all really comfortable being potential threats to perfectly nice people, some of whom y'all may know? I don’t want to be a threat. I don’t think anyone should have the right to be - not towards good people like them.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

"Do you think incest and polygamy will be legalized?" - Part 6

I came across a poll on the subject of the future of full marriage equality:
I was watching a TV show recently and surprisingly, three characters (two men and a woman) got together in a sexual AND romantic relationship - as in, it wasn’t just a kink, they were serious about it, they even made their relationship official to their family/friends. And it got me thinking, do you guys think polygamy will ever be legalized? And incest? And should they be, and if not, why? Will our society ever see it as acceptable/normal like with gay relationships?
Addendum on non-monogamy:
EVanimations, on 28 Apr 2014 - 9:51 PM, said:
Futurist, I’ll admit that I don’t know or care much about the issue at hand, so I’m not going to spend too much effort defending a position I’m unfamiliar with. That said, my opinion is that… well, incest is icky. I very much dislike the idea of having sex with someone directly related to me; it ain’t right.

[...] As for polygamy, I don’t like the idea of watching some other guy have sex with my woman, and I respect the fact that my woman doesn’t like the idea of watching some other girl have sex with me. Again, no reason to keep it illegal, but why would you want that in the first place if you truly respect each other? It feels kind of unfair to a woman who loves a man but has to share him with 5 others. Same the other way around.
I understand your personal aversions. “Wrong” for you, however, doesn’t automatically mean “wrong” for somebody else. There are advocates of same-sex marriage who still find the thought of having sex with someone of their own gender to be disgusting. Dan Savage, who gives advice mostly to straight people, still finds the idea of sex with a woman icky. People find the idea of having sex with someone they inherently don’t find appealing to be disturbing. However, other people are other people, and thoughts aren’t sufficient justification for police action. You seem to understand that though.

If you read poly* people’s writing - especially the philosophers and social theorists - many actually find the idea of sexual jealousy itself to be repugnant. They see it as a desire to control another person, to get love from them through social sanction and even legal force, and not through having earned it.

The argument is that if you’re constantly working to deserve their love, and they’re constantly working to deserve yours, then a fling on the side, or even a more long-term relationship on the side, isn’t threatening. Jealousy, however, particularly when worshiped as it is in monogamist cultures, can lead to immoral and antisocial behavior: spying, stalking, lying, yelling, beating, and even murder. Because our society worships monogamy, it inevitably also worships jealousy, and so encourages all of this destructive, unethical behavior.

There are people out there, a minority though they are, who don’t feel much jealousy in relationships. Besides that though, you’re buying into the monogamist line of thinking, which equates sex or even love of someone else with a betrayal of their love for you. Clearly, having sex with someone else doesn’t mean they don’t want to have sex with you. What’s harder for people to understand is that this can apply to love as well, though it’s more difficult.

I’d like to point out that there are many people who are dispositionally and openly polyamorous, but are in practice monogamous because they can’t find anyone else they like enough to integrate into their lives. I think most poly* people aren’t against monogamy, they just wish it was left to occur naturally, instead of yelling at people because they’re not doing it right. (I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing.)

The most common type of polyamory I’ve heard of is hierarchical polyamory. In that, there’s a primary relationship, which has veto power and the most romantic attachment, as well as secondary relationships, which can be long-term but aren’t as demanding or committed. Even in group marriages, different people add different things to each other’s lives, and so their love isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

When the relationship is all same-gender, or the other people involved are bisexual, it makes it easier because everyone is sexually and romantically bound to everyone. Common triads are between a bisexual man or woman, another bisexual of the same gender, and someone of the opposite gender. They can all have sex together, sleep together, wake up together, and they each fear the loss of both others. It helps to limit the risk of fragmentation - which is, to be fair, a legitimate worry.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A counselor who supports consanguine couples

Full Marriage Equality recently alerted me to an imgur post about consanguinamory.

(TL;DR: OP supports incest couples after commiserating with dozens of them.)
With human rights scratching towards the forefront of global issues, I'd like to take a moment to voice support for consanguine couples. I was going to do one of those nifty "My Job As" posts that I admire and enjoy, but I'm a small-time lurker who only has a few uploads, so I'm not familiar-enough with the layout to really make a pop-out interesting post.
Two years as an untrained volunteer peer counselor for, I have spoken with literally thousands of people, I've counseled marriages, helped people in their careers, contacted law enforcement for abuse victims, and spent hours talking people out of suicide. Among all of those unfortunates, the plight that has struck the deepest chord with me are consanguine (incest) couples. This is a trend that is far more common than what I've personally found discussed in any form of media, and life for these people is very difficult.
Receiving much the same hate as LGBT persons and couples (and even hate FROM LGBT persons), their relationships are considered just as *forbidden* for reasons ranging from religious to scientific. (Example: According to the coefficient of inbreeding, full siblings have 50% chance to pass on deleterious alleles, which is very high, but just because negative traits can be passed on, that is no indicator of what KIND of negative genes will pass on.)
Much of society uses outrageous examples like three-headed children and the Wrong Turn movie franchise as colloquial examples, but such deformities are VERY extreme and unlikely, even in repeated incest; the haemophilia that lurked in Royal European families is rumored to have been the *result* of inbreeding, but this is impossible to verify, nevertheless, the strength of the rumor that incest tends to produce horrifying diseases has persisted in society.
The societal backlash on consanguine couples is often severe, given that the potential for harm is statistically so much higher than other types of relationships, but the harsh reality is that, in spite of how society-at-large may feel about the topic, consanguine coupling happens regularly (I wish I could cite that, but currently - and again, to my personal knowledge - no reputable scientific foundation will fund incest research).
To consanguine couples: you are not alone, and your plight is well-understood. Not everyone condemns your feelings. PM me any questions.
We've been unable to identify who made this post, or how to contact them. We'd love to network with this person, and potentially make connections between the consanguinamorous people they know and the consanguinamorous people we know. The greatest weakness of this community is how fragmented it is. If anyone knows how to contact this person, or if you yourself are the person who made this post, please contact myself or Full Marriage Equality. We, and everyone else we know, would really appreciate it.

My email is [the name of my blogspot] (In case it wasn't clear, thefinalmanifesto is the name of my blogspot. I'm just being opaque to avoid spam.)