She Is Who He Is

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When teens transitions to a new gender, what happens to the rest of the family? In November, we shared a post from the perspective of a daughter whose father transitioned to being a woman; now, we’re bringing you the first of two essays written by a sibling. Sophie, a high schooler whose sister (now brother) transitioned within the last few years, writes here about what the beginning of those changes felt like for her as a sister. In her next essay, she’ll discuss her brother’s eventual surgery.

Creative Common/praline3001

Creative Common/praline3001

I would first like to start out by saying I love my brother.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. In my life, he is the person I have spent the most time with. Unlike most siblings, we are best friends. I am proud to say that even with all that we are going through, it had made us even closer. Still at such a young age, he has gone through so much and I will always be there for him. The following group of memories show my struggles and my acceptance of who my brother is and part of why I love him.

It was the last day of sleep-away camp four years ago. I cried and cried every year – camp is my favorite place on earth and I hate leaving. I kissed my friends goodbye and promised I would keep in touch. My only thoughts were, could I stay away from this place for another year? My sister and I had always gone to camp together but this year, instead of just staying for one month like me she would stay for two months.

Tears streamed down my face as my bunkmates and I savored our last moments together for the summer. Then suddenly I heard my dad say “Hey, Sophie!” I immediately ran as fast as possible to him. “I missed you,” I said, tears still drying on my cheeks. My dad knows how hard it is for me to leave every year, but this year would be even harder with my sister, Shayna, not coming back with me.

Before we left camp my dad, Shayna, and I walked around the camp like we had in the past. Like every other year, I showed my dad everything over and over again even though I already knew he had seen it; he always let me show him because he knew it was important to me. I said goodbye to my friends, old and new, and for the last time promised to keep in touch, even though I might not see my closest friends for a whole year. I knew that today, the hardest goodbye would not be for a friend, but for my older sister, Shayna.