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Conjoined Twins Share Their Story
July 21, 2011 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Stefan and Tyler are twins conjoined at the head. These brothers both play the violin and have a form of high-functioning autism, but one is homosexual and the other is heterosexual. You can watch a video of them here.
posted by GnomeChompsky (45 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, you guys are stuck together!
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:45 PM on July 21, 2011


Well. Guess it isn't genetic.
posted by kafziel at 8:47 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love how their sexuality was more highlighted in this post than it was in the Daily Mail link. So casual about what could be a huge ick for some people.

Also, is Philly.com run on a About.com template or something?
posted by munchingzombie at 8:48 PM on July 21, 2011


Wait, where is their sexuality explicitly stated? They could both be bisexual for all we know. Did someone ask?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


What I don't understand is how they're both wearing polo shirts. It's distracting me enough that I'm having trouble reading the articles.
posted by not the fingers, not the fingers at 9:08 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I couldn't read anything about their sexuality on the linked article. Maybe I missed something?
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:08 PM on July 21, 2011


Yeah. What the heck? Are we being trolled?
posted by schmod at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2011


What I don't understand is how they're both wearing polo shirts. It's distracting me enough that I'm having trouble reading the articles.

I was wondering this too. In the video you can see there are zippers down the backs of their shirts.
posted by bleep at 9:13 PM on July 21, 2011


The video was difficult to watch. Being a parent is hard enough, dealing with these conditions must be almost overwhelming.

These folks deserve all the support and respect we can offer.

But, here we are, in an era where educational programs are being reduced/scrapped/eliminated, where social services and support is disappearing for families attempting to deal with these types of issues.

There are families, folks, that need some help, that need a "village" to survive...
posted by tomswift at 9:14 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


"where is their sexuality explicitly stated?"

A google search finds a number of articles where this is stated... I don't think there is any trolling involved in this post.
posted by tomswift at 9:21 PM on July 21, 2011


That's an incredibly moving story and an entirely worthwhile video that literally everyone should see - but I have flagged this post as "other" because of the gratuitous and totally unnecessary sexuality comment.

Please delete that reference in the post, as well as this comment. Thankyouverymuch.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:22 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stefan said he has a crush on actress and country pop singer Jennette McCurdy, 18, while Tyler prefers folk singer Steve Forbert, 54.

It's a pretty big leap from "I like this musician and he likes that one" to "I'm straight and he's gay", if that's where it's coming from...someone mind posting a link?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:24 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Steve Forbert!! "Romeo's Tune" is pretty kick-ass, admittedly, but- Steve Forbert!!
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:27 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No trolling going on, but I seem to have mislinked, sorry. =/

Here's one reference to their sexuality:

http://indepthafrica.com/multimedia/photos/conjoined-twin-brothers-19-tell-their-incredible-story-in-first-ever-interview/

Several articles I read referenced it. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 9:28 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Deleted everything I was just about to post on this. Will leave it in the words of the mother: We only get one ride around this earth (I know she was speaking figuratively, pedants). We are on our own and humanity is only as good as we demand ourselves to be. No good god would voluntarily fuse two people together at the head. But a loving (human) mother and father can and evidently did accept this chance outcome with grace and love. There is literally nothing more we can ask of this world, and if we so foolishly seek to, well then, we are being metaphysically greedy and/or narcissistic at best.

I wish this family all the best and nothing but. Talk about putting my so-called struggles into context.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


Well put, Joe, thanks.
posted by tomswift at 9:35 PM on July 21, 2011


Several articles do reference their sexuality, but they all cite the original Philadelphia Inquirer article, which says only this:
Tyler loves lobster; Stefan prefers macaroni and cheese; Stefan's favorite cake is chocolate; Tyler's is vanilla; Stefan has a crush on actress and country pop vocalist Jennette McCurdy; Tyler prefers folk singer Steve Forbert.
I agree it's a pretty big leap, especially give that "prefers" is used for both mac and cheese and Forbert.
posted by donnagirl at 9:36 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The OP may have put too much faith into that statement, perhaps it might be worthwhile to let that part of the post slide, there's more to this than that small part, let's not get distracted.
posted by tomswift at 9:48 PM on July 21, 2011


Maybe lobster is some Philly euphemism?
posted by setanor at 9:49 PM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


We let everything else slide, why bother correcting any inaccuracies. Nobody is interested in accurate information, so long as politics is satiated.
posted by midnightscout at 9:50 PM on July 21, 2011


"We let everything else slide, why bother correcting any inaccuracies. Nobody is interested in accurate information, so long as politics is satiated."

let me be the first to say "WTF"?
posted by tomswift at 9:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I mentioned the sexuality bit out of scientific interest more than anything else. (Certainly no political motivation one way or another.) The more I read, though, the more I wonder about the legitimacy of certain article's claims. I'm going to contact the Enquirer and see if I can get an official clarification. Maybe this will be an opportunity to correct an Internet misrepresentation.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 9:55 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps one like oysters and the other snails.
posted by Bromius at 9:58 PM on July 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm going to contact the Enquirer and see if I can get an official clarification.

Whoa! Our paper has its share of sordid issues, but please don't confuse the Inquirer with the Enquirer.
posted by desuetude at 10:07 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stefan and Tyler were born with separate bodies, and each has a full complement of limbs and organs, but they share a circulatory system. That means that when Tyler receives medication to treat his high blood pressure, Stefan, whose pressure is low, must be carefully monitored so his pressure does not plummet into the danger zone, precipitating seizures.

This... I just... what?
posted by heathkit at 10:21 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If this happened to me, I'm pretty sure I'd vote for terminating the pregnancy. It's scary enough to contemplate one's own mortality under "normal" circumstances, and imagining having my own life and health tied to that of another person doubles that. I would never want to be responsible for my child having to consider these kinds of issues on a daily basis.

Also, I will be listening to this Helen Kane song in a whole different way from now on.
posted by hermitosis at 10:32 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is something terrifyingly beautiful about this. Actually, a great many things.
posted by Chipmazing at 10:35 PM on July 21, 2011




one is homosexual and the other is heterosexual

Identical bellhops.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:08 PM on July 21, 2011


I think this post should get a re-do. The original article that supposedly references their sexuality is far from conclusive and every reference to their sexuality references that article (which seems to have been republished in a number of publications). Because of this poor/unclear referencing this post has turned into a debate over whether the sexuality of the twins was even mentioned, and not about the twins themselves.
posted by lesli212 at 11:13 PM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sexuality aside (although I am very curious(and honestly, why I read this post)), this story and video really moved me. I can only imagine being in the shoes of the twins, or the parents. They seem like strong, happy people and that makes me happy.
posted by synthedelic at 11:53 PM on July 21, 2011


Guys, can we ignore the sexuality bit for a moment and focus on the real issue GnomeChompsky's post raises? Namely, that my father-in-law's garden gnome has gotten a Metafilter account.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:20 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm fascinated by things which challenge the long-accepted "norms" of individuality the way these extraordinary lads do. Also, it is awe-inspiring and humbling to see how adaptable the human animal can be, and how far love and acceptance can go in easing a difficult road.

Gratitude to this graceful family for affording others a glimpse of their lives. Sexuality should be a non-issue, as it should be for everyone. Unless you're actively seeking a liaison, another's orientation is really no-one's business but their own.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:49 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mentioned the sexuality bit out of scientific interest more than anything else.

Not to pile on, but what scientific interest is that? I thought it was pretty well established that twins do not necessarily share the same sexual orientation, any more than they share the same handedness; I see no reason why it might be different for conjoined twins.

This seems to me to be an opportunity for everyone else to wonder how conjoined twins operate in the bedroom: essentially, to speculate on the potential awkwardness of having your sibling in the room with you every time you had sex (as a kid, reading Ripley's Believe It Or Not, the news that Chang and Eng had twenty-one kids between them used to make me ponder how that worked).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:09 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


(as a kid, reading Ripley's Believe It Or Not, the news that Chang and Eng had twenty-one kids between them used to make me ponder how that worked).

Truth be told, I'm kind of surprised that no conjoined-twin porn has been created.
posted by jonmc at 6:31 AM on July 22, 2011


Were they named after Steven Tyler?
posted by Splunge at 7:23 AM on July 22, 2011


> Truth be told, I'm kind of surprised that no conjoined-twin porn has been created

Not porn, per say, but...
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:36 AM on July 22, 2011




One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal, by Bioethicist Alice Domurat Dreger

Review excerpts aggregated at Amazon:
"Why not change minds instead of bodies?" asks Alice Domurat Dreger.

Many people with unusual anatomies are completely comfortable with their bodies and derive their personal identities from them. It is the discomfort of their families and communities that most often exerts the pressure to change them.

Dreger looks at present-day and historical conjoined twins who have lived to adulthood [and] finds that they all, with one recent exception, would not want to be separated even if they could be.

High-risk separations are more often life-or-death situations. . . that require the deliberate sacrifice of one child in order to increase the viability of the other also force us into extremely difficult ethical decisions. -- New England Journal of Medicine

Providing historical and contemporary evidence that most adult conjoined twins do not desire to be separated, and that many surgeries are carried out on children too young to object, Dormurat Dreger voices distaste for Americans' failure to tolerate anatomical difference and instead fetishize individualism at all cost. -- Publishers Weekly

Pediatric surgeons so prize normalcy that they perform sexual surgery on infants without concern for adult function; they may also withhold information from parents, and even override their consent, when dealing with birth defects . . . -- The New Yorker

Dreger argues that the medically invasive, almost invariably life-threatening separation surgeries are unnecessary and performed, usually, before the people involved are old enough to consent to them. She claims that, historically, most conjoined twins have preferred conjoinment to [surgical separation]. -- Booklist

Dreger . . . invites us to see conjoined twins as 'no more broken than the rest of us.' -- Nature
posted by Herodios at 8:55 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


We're all just talking meat and the sooner that becomes widely accepted the better off society will become. Physical form doesn't affect anything except capacity and capability; this sack of meat can change a lightbulb without a ladder, that sack of meat can run a mile in four minutes; this meat is dark, that meat is light; this meat likes twats, that meat likes cocks, this other meat likes both as long as they are covered in hair. It just doesn't matter a damn. I simply don't care what's under your clothes or how many flippers you wave around; are you friendly? What is your art like? Is there something we have in common? Let's explore it!

What is so hard about this?!
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:01 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mentioned the sexuality bit out of scientific interest more than anything else.

Not to pile on, but what scientific interest is that? I thought it was pretty well established that twins do not necessarily share the same sexual orientation, any more than they share the same handedness;

ricochet biscuit, until we absolutely, positively know how the human mind and all its features and facets are determined, any clues that point to more information about this most mysterious and wonderful of black boxes are interesting to science.

I see no reason why it might be different for conjoined twins.

Biochemistry. More perfectly identical environments. Just to name two.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:04 AM on July 22, 2011


Were they named after Steven Tyler?

Walk this way... no, walk THIS way!
posted by dubold at 5:14 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm endlessly fascinated by the alternative normalcies that we get a glimpse of in these kinds of stories.

Equally fascinating is how difficult it proves to be each time to portray these situations without slip-ups of some kind; the sexuality thing, but also other bits: "The brothers are both gifted musically" is a well-meaning mis-statement - at least if the video is anything to judge by.
posted by progosk at 2:01 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


re blood pressure, I remember reading about cojoined twins, Krista and Tatiana, where one of them does most of the work for pumping blood. see previously and previously for links to articles about them.

one thing that puzzled me with respect the shared circulatory system, how could one be allergic to some foods without the other sharing the same allergy?
posted by bleary at 10:36 AM on July 24, 2011


1. Daily Mail? Really?
2. Said article makes no mention of sexuality, hetero or homo.

Flagged.
posted by chairface at 8:13 AM on July 25, 2011


"Stefan said he has a crush on actress and country pop singer Jennette McCurdy, 18, while Tyler prefers folk singer Steve Forbert, 54."

So which one is gay then?
posted by marienbad at 8:54 AM on July 26, 2011


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