A set of 54-year-old conjoined twins from Michigan are facing each other in court, as one of the siblings is contesting his brother’s right to engage in sexual acts without his consent.
Alfred and Wilbert Peterson were born joined at the waist and facing each other, and spent their entire life this way.
They have two sets of arms and legs and their own hearts and stomachs but share a lower digestive tract and a penis.
This shared penis has become a major source of conflict between the twins over recent years, and Alfred is now going to court to keep his brother from masturbating.
“He keeps playing with our penis without my consent. That’s legally a sexual assault!”
Alfred says he is suffering from insomnia and from a post-traumatic syndrome after waking up at night on three occasions to catch his brother masturbating.
“I don’t want to sleep at night because I’m afraid he’s going to touch me.”
As for Wilbert, he claims he has done nothing wrong and insists that he has the legal right to masturbate.
He said he waited for his brother to be asleep because he knew he was against it didn’t want to disturb or shock him.
Wilbert’s lawyer, Michael Gallagher, says this trial threatens not only his client’s basic human rights, but also “the sexuality of all conjoined twins”.
The two of them were facing each other in a specially adapted courtroom this morning in Flint, Michigan.
Dozens of reporters were present to cover this unusual case, which should clarify many legal issues concerning the sexuality of conjoined twins.
At the moment, the Michigan state law doesn’t include any guidelines for individuals sharing the same genital organs.
Across the U.S., the only state to have a law concerning the sexuality of conjoined twins is California, which passed a bill in 2011.