My Brother is A Boy: What is Transgender?
The first time I was introduced to the word transgender was when my brother, Charlie, told me he didnt feel like he fitted his own body. I didn’t get what the word “transgender” meant.
In the media I had seen words like; transsexual, transvestite etc. They all included the word “trans’, so in my head that surely was it? But I soon learned that being transgender was very different. It was so much more than what the media had misrepresented it to be.
Charlie has always been my best friend. Growing up we did everything together, being only 18 months apart, we experienced nursery, school and the beginning of college together.
It’s weird because, growing up so closely to Charlie, I noticed things were changing with him and I knew he was developing thoughts and visibly struggled with his appearance and the way he outwardly presented himself, but it never phased me. I never ever considered it weird, or odd.
I researched and read about how other transgender individuals grew up. Their family experiences having potential to affect them mentally; but also the lack of understanding and support can psychologically affect and permanently cause harm to the individual’s future.
I realised that both Charlie and I are so so lucky to have been brought up in a loving, accepting and open family. We’ve always been able to talk about personal struggles, have a good cry and be there for each other with a cuppa and a chat. Growing up in a very accepting and open family, meant that once we all caught on that Charlie was trans, it was all like “okay, yep, cool - what can we do for you?”
Initially we all didn’t understand straight away.
However that didn't mean we weren't going to support him and be there for him. Our parents researched every single element of what it means to be transgender. Charlie showed me trans Youtubers like Alex Bertie, Chase Ross and Aaron Ansuini. Charlie told me that he related to what they posted and they helped him from some kind of identity. It made me feel happy that he found comfort and that there were other people out there that felt like him.
Charlie said that there were different surgeries and hormones that people could take, in order for them to become their true selves and aid them in regaining their true identity.
He said that one day he wanted to be able to get hormones, and have surgery. It was one of the hardest things I have ever seen, the gender dysphoria had obliterated any hint of positivity or happiness that Charlie had, he was a hollow shell. I so badly wanted to hold on the the happy and what seemed to be the crazy little brother that I had when were were very little. But I also knew that this was the start of an incredible journey, The journey for Charlie to become who he really is.
As a big sister, I never have and never will experience what he is going through. But, as a big sister, it is my duty to protect him, support him and love him unconditionally (and let him show me countless youtube videos of kpop dances.)
Charlie is my Brother
Charlie is my Best Friend
Charlie is Charlie
Sibling Top Tip:
Having a sibling come out as transgender is a lot to take in and that's okay! You aren't expected to understand straight away. But what you can do is be there for them.
Be there if they need to talk, or cry, or have a pizza and movie night. Do everything you can to make them feel comfortable, it won’t fix the dysphoria. But it WILL help your sibling to take their focus off the dysphoria and help focus on an activity or event. It’s all about small steps.
Remember that every day is very different - your sibling might feel okay one day and the next refusing to leave their room etc. Take each day at a time and wipe the slate clean every morning. It's a new day and you can adapt the way that you approach different situations in correlation with their mood etc. It will be tough and frustrating at times, but remember that your patience and support is hugely appreciated by them and that you’re doing an awesome job!