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My Brother and I Are Transgender

I’m R and I’m transgender. I’m also the youngest kid in my family. I’m quiet, and my older sibling, L, is not. We are both a lot alike and very different.

I didn’t have a name for how I felt; I just knew I was really unhappy the older I got. I hated the changes puberty was causing. I wanted it to stop. But, I’m quiet and I didn’t say anything. I doubled down on skirts, on leggings, on purses, whatever I could do to be more girly. My mom loved it, so I kept doing it, but I grew more unhappy. I lied about my favorite anime characters, saying I liked girl characters when I was drawn to male characters.

And then, a couple years into this struggle, when I finally had a name for who I was – I am transgender.

L came out to my parents as being transgender and I felt screwed over.

If I disclosed now, my parents would think I was copying him.

So, I dressed even more girly and grew more depressed.

L was immediately accepted. His entire wardrobe of girl’s clothes went to me or were tossed. He got boys underwear, boys jeans, everything a geeky little guy could ask for. I still hammed it up, letting my mom put makeup on me, do my hair, whatever I could do to embrace being female,

It was awful.

I did it anyway, lasting a year and a half into L’s social transition before my mom helped break through my barrier. She guessed, but unlike L’s instant transition, my mom wanted made me to wait an agonizing six months to come out, even though I, too, got a new wardrobe and haircuts that grew increasingly short.

I came out to my extended family as gay first.

It wasn’t quite right, the gay label as a girl, but it let me be out, partially, at least.

Trying to figure out who I was and my sexuality at the same time was torture. I told myself that I must like girls in that way, but I didn’t.

I want someone to partner with, but I was also figuring out that I was asexual. The asexual part was the easiest. I really needed an easy thing at that point.

I tore myself up over being trans, being gay. I felt so alone.

I was more depressed than ever. I still got called by my girl name and it made me sick each time I heard it and saw it.

My mom saw the despair, and four months after coming out to her, I took my new name and came out to my whole family and friends.

My brother and I never said a word to each other during the years we were suffering and trying to figure out what was wrong. We share a room, and both of us are blown away that each night for years we lay in our beds and agonized silently. If one of us would have taken the leap and shared, we could have suffered less.

We knew our parents were LGBT allies and supported one of my mom’s students who was also transgender.

We were scared.

Scared to say the words aloud to ourselves. To each other. To our parents. To the world.

We saw the agony that my mom’s student was in, that moving hours away to an LGBT friendly place was the only way to live openly.

That’s why trans visibility is so important.

Acceptance is essential.

trans visibility day

My brother L and I are transgender. We are at peace with that knowledge because we are accepted for who we are. We are supported. We will, in the future, medically transition.

We are the lucky ones.

On The Minor Perils of Not Hiding

A while back, I was Facebook-friended by someone with whom I’d gone to elementary school, a woman I hadn’t seen in 15 years. In that same week, I was friended by another schoolmate, a man I hadn’t seen in 25 years. I’ll call these two people, who are not Facebook friends with each other, Leia and Mork.

I was happy to be back in touch with Leia and Mork. Leia and I, and Mork and I, in separate sets of messages, chatted in the way that long-lost friends do, telling each other where we live, how many kids we have, what we do for work. We exchanged several messages. A few messages in, both Mork and Leia asked me what sort of writing I did. And so I told them, as simply as I could: I write, under a pen name, about my son, who likes to wear a dress.

And you know what? Both Leia and Mork never wrote back.

Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe the conversations just dropped off in the way conversations eventually do, and it just happened to be after I dropped the pink-bomb on each of them. Maybe they both got busy, sick, or their computers went on the fritz.

Or maybe they got freaked out.

Because people sometimes do.

I notice that the tomboy in Sam’s grade who plays on the boys’ soccer team is cool and socially in demand, while Sam doesn’t get invited to many birthday parties. Sometimes people look at us strangely when we disclose that Sam, the long-haired kid they’ve taken for a girl, is a boy. Sam’s school administration can talk eloquently about diversity and acceptance up and down, except when it comes to gender, when they get all panicky and quiet.

I make it my business to talk to as many people as I can about Sam (while being careful of his privacy and his safety), to make gender nonconformity something that gets talked about, not something swept under the rug. Because when we hide something, we make it shameful. So I open my mouth, maybe even more than I should, and occasionally I lose an audience member or two, like Leia and Mork.

But maybe the next time they hear about someone’s son who wears a dress, they’ll remember that the woman they kind of liked back in elementary school mentioned something about her son wearing a dress, and maybe that will make it a little bit more OK.

Proud Mom And Ally: Be The Change

Where my family lives, there are very few people who know what transgender means, even though we are a sizeable city. Not even the doctors here knew what transgender meant until we explained.

Imagine having two transgender children in a community that is extremely conservative and evangelical. The schools are unwelcoming. The churches are unwelcoming. Most people reject the local LGBT individuals. The state legislature is actively pursuing bills that legalize discrimination against people like my children.

Given that the trans population is less than half a percent of my state’s population, the lack of awareness of trangender people is unsurprising.

Visibility of transgender people in the media is increasing, but not at a rate fast enough to make a dent in the general population. Here, where we live, at least, visibility occurs as the few LGBT people come out of the closet to their families, friends, coworkers, and ultimately to the community as a whole.

Being out in a conservative, Republican city and state is often dangerous. Add in any other minority characteristics and the danger to the individual increases exponentially.

My two wonderful teenage transgender sons have to navigate this world. It is terrifying to think of them in the school setting (so they are homeschooled), unbelievably frightening to think of them out there alone and out as they medically transition in the future.

Transgender visibility and awareness is vitally important. My kids were born into the wrong bodies. In the second trimester of my pregnancies, each of them were exposed to increased testosrerone, changing their brain structures to resemble male brains (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524112351.htm).

Like sexual preferences, being transgender is not a choice. My sons, despite the identification at birth being female, are male. Because they are trans males, they are the lucky ones. They are less likely to be abused, less likely to be killed than trans females. They will, with testosterone, grow facial hair, increase their muscle mass and deepen their voices. They will enter into society with the stereotypical male look with ID cards that match their genders.

Most transgender people are not fortunate enough to have accepting families and doctors. Most struggle and suffer because of the extreme prejudices they face.

As allies to the LGBT community we can help change these struggles. We can make sure that all people are accepted and treated equally. Trans visibility is key, but without our speaking up for the community, for our friends and family members, change will be slow. We must make this a seismic change.

Trans Visibility Day: My Brother and I

A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US. 

This would put the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.

This is their journey:

I’m R and I’m transgender. I’m also the youngest kid in my family. I’m quiet, and my older sibling, L, is not. We are both a lot alike and very different.

Growing up. I didn’t have a name for how I felt; I just knew I was really unhappy the older I got. I hated the changes puberty was causing. I wanted it to stop. I’m quiet. I didn’t say anything. I doubled down on skirts, on leggings, on purses, whatever I could do to be more girly. My mom loved it, so I kept doing it, but I grew more unhappy. I lied about my favorite anime characters, saying I liked girl characters when I was drawn to male characters.

And then, a couple years into this struggle, when I finally had a name for who I was – transgender, my brother L came out to my parents as being transgender and I felt screwed over. I figured that if I said something now, my parents would think I was copying my brother. So, I dressed even girlier while I grew more depressed.

L was immediately accepted. His entire wardrobe of girl’s clothes went to me or got tossed. He got boys underwear, boys jeans, everything a geeky little guy could ask for. I still hammed it up, letting my mom put makeup on me, do my hair, whatever I could do to embrace being female.

It was awful, but I did it anyway, lasting a year and a half into L’s social transition before my mom helped break through my barrier. She guessed that I was trans, but unlike L’s instant transition, my mom wanted made me to wait an agonizing six months to come out, even though I, too, got a new wardrobe and haircuts that grew increasingly shorter I came out to my extended family as gay first. It wasn’t quite right, the gay label as a girl, but it let me be out, partially, at least.

Trying to figure out who I was and my sexuality at the same time was torture. I told myself that I must like girls in that way, but I didn’t. I want someone to partner with, but I was also figuring out that I was asexual. The asexual part was the easiest. I really needed an easy thing at that point.

I tore myself up over being trans, being gay. I felt so alone.

I was more depressed than ever. I still got called by my girl name and it made me sick each time I heard it or saw it. My mom saw the despair, and four months after coming out to her, I took my new name and came out to my whole family and friends.

My brother and I never said a word to each other during the years we were suffering and trying to figure out what was wrong. We share a room, and both of us are blown away that each night for years we lay in our beds and agonized silently.

If one of us would have taken the leap and shared, we could have suffered less.

We knew our parents were LGBT allies and supported one of my mom’s students who was transgender.

We were scared. Scared to say the words aloud to ourselves.

To each other.

To our parents.

To the world.

We saw the agony that my mom’s student was in, that moving hours away to an LGBT friendly place was the only way to live openly.

That’s why trans visibility is so important. Acceptance is essential.

My brother L and I are transgender.

We are at peace with that knowledge because we are accepted for who we are.

We are supported.

We will, in the future, medically transition.

We are the lucky ones.

Trans Visibility Day: Proud Mom And Ally: Be The Change

A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US. 

This putS the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.

This is her journey:

Despite living in a sizable city, there are very few people who know what transgender means. Not even the doctors here knew what transgender meant until we explained it to them.

Imagine having two transgender children in a community that is extremely conservative and evangelical. The schools are unwelcoming. The churches are unwelcoming. Most people reject the local LGBT individuals. The state legislature is actively pursuing bills that legalize discrimination against people like my children.

Given that the trans population is less than half a percent of my state’s population, the lack of awareness of transgender people is unsurprising.

Visibility of transgender people in the media is increasing, but not at a rate fast enough to make a dent in the general population. Here, where we live, at least, visibility occurs as the few LGBT people come out of the closet to their families, friends, coworkers, and ultimately to the community as a whole.

Being out in a conservative, Republican city and state is often dangerous. Add in any other minority characteristics and the danger to the individual increases exponentially.

My two wonderful teenage transgender sons have to navigate this world. It’s terrifying to think of them in the school setting (so they are homeschooled), unbelievably frightening to think of them out there alone and out as they medically transition in the future.

Transgender visibility and awareness is vitally important. My kids were born into the wrong bodies. In the second trimester of my pregnancies, each of them were exposed to increased testosterone, changing their brain structures to resemble male brains.

Like sexual preferences, being transgender is not a choice. My sons, despite the identification at birth being female, are male. Because they are trans male, they are the lucky ones. They are less likely to be abused, less likely to be killed than trans females. They will, with testosterone, grow facial hair, increase their muscle mass and deepen their voices. They will enter into society with the stereotypical male look with ID cards that match their genders.

Most transgender people are not fortunate enough to have accepting families and doctors. Most struggle and suffer because of the extreme prejudices they face.

As allies to the LGBT community we can help change these struggles.

We can make sure that all people are accepted and treated equally.

Trans visibility is key, but without our speaking up for the community, for our friends and family members, change will be slow.

We must make this a seismic change. For my boys. For all trans people. For the world.

Trans Visibility Day: Trying To Find Support: My Ex-Husband Is Now Transgender

A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US. 

This would put the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.

This is her journey:

 

I’ve been searching high and low for support groups for women – moms in particular – whose former husbands are now transgender.

I’ve never been involved in blogging or online communities, but a friend of mine said great things about Band Back Together, so I thought I’d give this a shot.

I am a very private person, so it might take me a while to share my story, but this is a start.