For most of us most of the time, it’s plain and simple safer to stay in the closet. That said, there are many reasons why someone may want to come out, at least partially to close friends and other family members. The stress of hiding everything all of the time is after all a massive burden for us, one which we shouldn’t have to bear in the first place, but seeing as we do, it is more than understandable that some of us wish to lighten the load.
The problem in coming out is glaringly obvious: we usually have no idea what kind of reception we’re going to get. It can vary from overwhelming support to the recipient of the new information wanting to turn us in to the police, and of course every reaction in between. Naturally, this is a great source of stress for anyone who is considering, or is in the process of coming out.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: It is entirely possible that the person you come out to is an ally, or another consang. If this is the case, then your security is safe, that person will intuitively understand, and you’ll likely be able to discuss any aspect of your relationship with them. This is the most straightforward instance of coming out. If you’re fortunate enough to have this scenario, then be grateful and treasure your ally as you would family.
NEXT TO BEST: The person you come out to is unsure, isn’t actually against the concept, but isn’t really with you either. They won’t report you, but they’ll probably have a few doubts. In time you can win them over and they will become allies, after all, once they’ve known a healthy and happy consang couple, they have good reason to be in the ally camp. These are the easiest people to bring over to your side, once they get the chance to see how you function.
MIDDLE GROUND: This person is in general against consang, but may very much like you personally. They’re likely struggling to come to terms with what they’ve heard and they likely have great trouble reconciling what they know of you as a person with what they believe about incest. They’re likely to worry about genetic problems, social problems…etc. This person is unlikely to report you, but they’re very likely to disapprove and feel triggered by your presence and perhaps say things in anger that they do not mean, and then feel guilty for reacting so badly in retrospect. This person CAN be brought around, but you may need assistance from someone in the community to act as a go-between and a bank of knowledge. Many are more likely to accept the information from a stranger than they are from you as they percieve it as being self-serving.
NEXT TO WORST: This person is VERY against you, they percieve you as a threat to the gene pool and they will not see you in the same light as before, they’re unable to grasp that you’re the same person they’ve known for years. There is a POSSIBILITY that they’ll call the cops, but they’re more likely to cut you out of their lives, or spread the information to their friends and family, causing you scorn. They’re likely to verbally or even physically attack you. While it is not impossible to make an ally out of these people, it is extremely difficult, DO NOT ATTEMPT unless you’re sure you can do it.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: This person has an extreme incestophobic reaction, to the degree that the information repulses them to such a degree that they immediately call the police. They’ve deluded themsleves into thinking that they’re doing you and your family a favour by doing so, they cannot be reasoned with, at all. The more aggressive with most definitely attack.
BEFORE YOU COME OUT
Consider carefuly, has this person previously expressed any incestophobic views to you? If they haven’t, then how do they react to LGBT people? This is a good marker for general open-mindedness. If they react badly to gay and transgendered people, then the chances are, they’ll react even worse to you… do don’t even think about it, this is a serious danger zone! However, even if they’re LGBT supporting, that still is not a guarantee that they will also support consanguinamory, but it does increase the likelihood that they will at least hear you out before deciding what to do with the information once their mind has processed it.
The best way to test the water, is to do so in the most general way possible. That is, you show them a news story you read, say that you’d like to hear their opinion on it. The news story should be about an incest couple who were prosecuted. If they say something along the lines of ‘Fucking perverts…’ you know that this person is NOT safe to come out to, and you can quietly let the subject drop and you will not have revealed your own orientation. If however they react with ‘What business of that is the state?’ or’ I feel sorry for them, they did nothing wrong’ then you’re on far safer ground. This is surely a better way to go than just jumping in head first with not a clue as to how the person feels.
That said, bear in mind that this isn’t a 100% guarantee that the other person is going to react positively, it just means that they are quite unlikely to report you. Like, they may be comfortable with consanguinamory in the abstract, but feel differently when it is someone they’re close to. This is actually more common than you’d think!
WHEN SOMEONE REACTS BADLY
First of all, as much as you’re probably shitting yourself thinking they might turn you in, take a step back and rationally assess if they’re likely to do that. If this person has known you for a long time, or is another relative, then the chances are less as long as you previously had a good relationship with them. They know you, they LOVE you, but they’re having a hard time processing what they just heard and reconciling that with their ingrained beliefs about incest.
They may have flown off the handle, yelled at you, called you every name under the sun… and then gone back home and cried. They may not know how else to respond. They may wonder if they know who you are any more. I’ve seen this time and again, I’ve helped families in this kind of situation.
Usually the person doesn’t even know what is triggering them to such a degree, but it ALWAYS boils down to something positive rather than negative. I can see you shaking your head. But it is none the less true, negative reactions always stem from a positive belief or value. For instance, in the last family I helped, the person was struggling because they wanted their siblings to be able to live a ‘normal life’, and feared that they wouldn’t be able to if they were together. Even though that person intellectually knew that their reaction was causing pain for themselves and everyone else, it boiled down to wanting the best, out of love.
In order to resolve these negative reactions, the individual who is having the negative reaction must uproot and find what exactly is causing them to feel that way. It is not always easy, and it is not always quick, but it CAN be done. Moreso, the person must WANT to change the way they feel, that in itself is half the battle!
If you think a friend or relative is going through this as a result of your coming out, you should seek assistance from someone in the community, preferably someone with extensive knowledge of consanguinamory, good people skills and empathy, and a dose of good intuition. If you’re ever asked to serve in this capacity on behalf of someone else, think long and hard before accepting, this isn’t like debating some random person on tumblr, reddit or facebook where the concepts are abstract and the debate is intellectual This is peoples lives you’re directly getting involved in, and you got to know what you’re doing or the results could be disasterous. It is important that you KNOW that you’re up to the job before you accept. If you’re not, there is no shame in that, but BE HONEST with yourself and your friend. I cannot stress how important that is. You can still be a supportive friend on the sideline.
When they don’t want/aren’t ready to listen
Sometimes it happens that when someone hears about consanguinamory, they shut their ears and simply condemn you. Sometimes, this is temporary while they process the information, and sometimes it is long lasting. Thing is, you cannot FORCE a person to listen, no matter how misguided or irrational their thoughts are, and raising the volume, however tempting is going to make things worse, so don’t start shouting, walk away instead, telling them calmly that you’ll speak to them again when they’re calm. Sometimes it is best to let them cool down for a while and try again, people who are wound up, emotional and convinced that they’re right are not likely to open their ears to you, so it’s best to let the temperature cool some before you retry. The tip is knowing when to speak (and what to say when you do) and when to shut up.
If you leave them alone (for a few days or even weeks) and let them process, they may later come to you and ask you more questions, be prepared to give honest and thoughtful answers. This way, they’ll be more receptive, let THEM come to YOU. Silence can be more effective than a screaming argument any day of the week. If they come to you, it was THEIR idea, and they would not ask questions if they do not want to know the answers. Apply no pressure to the person, and let them guide the conversation. It may take many cycles of conversation and silence before you talk them around, but whatever you do, DON’T insist that you need to talk, however badly you need to get your point across, you will only hamper progress.
If they cut you off entirely
Sadly, I’ve seen this happen to people. Sometimes a person just CANNOT accept and be around you any more. It is a massive loss, both to you and to them. Ultimately, it is their decision, just as you cannot enforce conversation, you also cannot enforce contact. This will be very painful to accept, but necessary if they’re so badly againt you. It’s an outcome nobody wants, and saying goodbye to a person you love is not easy, it’s almost like mourning a death, BUT there is the background hope that some day, somehow, they will see the error of their ways. Remember it is THEIR problem, not yours.
If you’re reported to the police
First of all, stay calm… and give a ‘no comment’ interview if you’re arrested. Remember, without proof, it is one persons claim against anothers, and you’re innocent until proven guilty, that is the law. Without proof or a confession, there is a very strong chance it won’t reach court because there is not enough evidence for a conviction. If you suspect that you may be arrested, ensure you do not leave physical evidence around your home, like, incinerate any used condoms, and sterilize any sex toys you may have. Change your bed sheets, and move yours or your other halfs belongings into a different room to give the appearance that you sleep separately…etc. Hopefully it will never come to this, but if it does, this is how you handle it.
Now, for those of you with biological children together, it’s more complicated, they are after all living proof that you’ve had a relationship… or are they? Amazingly there is a loophole around even this. In many places, while it may be illegal for you to have sex with a relative, it is NOT illegal to have children with them if conceived by a method other than sexual intercourse. Hence, turkey baster concieved children to close relatives are perfectly legal…. go figure! There is a chance that the court won’t buy it, but it can’t hurt to try… remember, without absolute proof… you can get away scott free depending how good your lawyer is.
Coming out is risky business, but it CAN be done and even if you do run into problems, they usually CAN be overcome. Keep your chin up, because it’s rarely as bad as you imagine, and there IS a community right here to help and support you. You are not alone.