My Brother Used To Be My Sister

Categories:Brother, Family, Transgender

Yes, you read the title right.

My brother used to be my sister.

My “sister” was born two and a half years after me.

After my “sister’s” birth my parents were told by the doctor that they had a healthy baby boy.  The doctor had to correct himself a few moments later when they realized that the baby was in fact a girl.  I only learned recently (from my brother) that this mistake was probably made because of the way “her” extremities were appearing (very swollen).

Because we grew up knowing of the doctor’s error, it was always in the back of my brother’s mind.

Growing up, my “sister” would frequently be mistaken for a boy.  “She” would get strange looks and comments when “she” would walk into the girl’s washroom.  People were shocked when we went clothes shopping in the girl’s section.  It happened every where we went.

My “sister” and I were complete opposites as kids.  “She” was outgoing and loud; I was shy and quiet.  “She” was messy; I was a neat freak.  “She” liked to play with ninja turtles; I liked Barbie dolls.  “She” was athletic; I was a book nerd.  “She” played hockey; I played the organ.

We just thought “she” was a tomboy.

Turns out we were wrong.

After moving out East shortly after our mom passed away, my “sister” came out.  “She” began dating women.  I was so proud that “she” was finally happy.

But inside “she” was still struggling with who “she” truly was.

A couple of years ago “she” had a difficult talk with me.  “She” told me that “she” had always felt “she” should have been a boy.  “She” was going to live her life as a male and that “she” would begin the process to change her current gender.

At first it was difficult to accept.  But I still loved my brother.  Nothing would change that.  I would love my brother no matter what.

The hardest part for me was mourning the loss of my “sister.”  And I cannot even really explain that statement but it did in fact feel like my sister had died.

A good friend put it into perspective for me.  She said to me, “don’t think of it as losing a sister, think of it as gaining a brother.”  I never thought about it that way.  I was gaining something new.  Something that was unknown and somewhat exciting.

Besides, now that my brother was in transition I would be the only girl in the family.  That has to have some advantages, no?

I know a lot of people have trouble wrapping around their heads around this.  Transgender?  What does that mean?  How can someone live their life as a girl one day, and then a boy the next?

A lot of people, including some of our family members, still struggle with my brother’s transition.  However, most of them are accepting it and are now referring to my brother as a “he” and calling him by his chosen name.  Others still refer to him by his birth name.  My brother really dislikes that but it’s habit.  It’s going to take time.

I know I still slip and refer to my brother by his former name.  My 6 year old son even corrects me.  I sat him down a few months ago and told him that his aunt is now his uncle.  I thought the sooner I told him, the better.  When kids are young they are more open minded.  The talk went well.  I asked Big Boy if he was confused.  He replied that he was.  I said to him that that was OK.  That it is a wee bit confusing and even Mommy was a bit confused.  But we still have to love and support Uncle just the same.  He is still the same person inside and that is all that matters.

Some people believe that what my brother is doing is wrong.  I don’t want to start a controversy but I believe God made us all.  God loves us all.  He created each of us with a purpose in mind.  I think part of my brother’s purpose is to share his story and to help others just like him.  Maybe this will help people to become more understanding and accepting.  Then, perhaps we could live in a world free of discrimination.  One could only dream right?

My brother is the bravest person I know.  I do not pretend to understand what he has gone through.  I just try to be there for him whenever he needs.  I will be his constant support.  Forever and always.

I am in awe of my brother.

I am so proud that he is living his life the way he was meant to be.

All I want for him is to be happy and he truly is now.

Love you C!
Your Big Sister

Brandy Reid is a stay at home mom to two very active and hockey obsessed boys. As a former YA librarian, Brandy loves to read and is obsessed with reading everyday whether it be books or blogs. Brandy proudly admits that she is a wee bit addicted to social media, especially Twitter. She also believes that everything in life you can related to the iconic TV Show Friends. No day is complete without chocolate.


  1. multitestingmommy
    April 16, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I have tears reading this story! I wish that your brother didn’t have to grow up feeling like he wasn’t his true self. I feel badly for your son because this is a confusing thing to wrap your head around at any age. I feel badly for you that you feel you “lost” a sister, but I have to say that I agree – the best way to look at it is that you gained a brother! Hugs to all of you!

  2. Nicole
    April 16, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Wow! Great post! I can only imagine how hard this change was for you at first to stomach. Regardless I can tell you are an amazing sister and so very proud of your brother. I’m glad he’s following his heart and is happy. Your friends words of wisdom is solid and I couldn’t agree more.

    Thanks for sharing such a personal, heart felt post with us all!

  3. Tjones
    April 16, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    WOW, great post! I wish your brother the best of luck! I recently watched a similar process, not a family member. I cannot understand how hard it is on the person. Finally feeling comfortable in their skin as the changes occur. It’s a huge step and something to feel proud about. You only get one chance to live your life, everyone deserves to be happy. I know from experience it is hard to break the habit and address properly. Time will make it easier :) Wonderful post thank you for sharing!

  4. Channa_senyk
    April 16, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Kudos to you for writing this piece….Arent brothers wonderful!!!!!

  5. Momvstheboys
    April 16, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    wow brave is right, I couldn’t imagine the strength it must take for him. so glad he has you in his corner!

  6. Sam
    April 16, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Thanks for sharing your story. I had a friend who went through the same thing, although I never knew him as a girl because he made the switch quite young. He is now a happily married man with a child, and he looks much happier than he was a teenager. I am glad your brother has an accepting sister like you.

  7. Alyssa
    April 16, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    This is such a courageous story!! Your brother is lucky to have a sister like you!!

  8. Nancy
    April 16, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Amazing. What a great story. Love is acceptance.

  9. Stacey
    April 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    That’s great that your brother knows exactly who he is!

  10. mamawee
    April 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    thank you for posting this. Someone from my high school went through something very similar (but opposite as they were born male) I think you are right – God made us all, and God loves us all

  11. orangeheromama
    April 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    wow. what an amazing post! brave of you to post because there’ll always be haters! and so brave for your brother!
    I love how kind and accepting you are! What a great friend and sister! ((hugs))

  12. AnnMarieBrown
    April 16, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    this was an awesome post… thanks so much for sharing your life with us in such a truthful way.

  13. Shari Goss
    April 16, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    What a courageous person your brother is, and you are for supporting them. We may not understand our siblings choices, but they are our family and we have to support them. My older sister never did anything like this, but we were complete opposites too, that to this day people meet us and say “how are you 2 friends you are so different”. We were never close when we were younger because our differences drove us apart. Now we laugh at our differences. When she got pregnant and wasn’t married and the father was someone none of us really appreciated, everyone shamed her. But me. She expected disapproval from me, although I don’t know why. She is my sister and I am proud of her and will stand by all her choices.

  14. Lisa - Fab Frugal Mama
    Lisa - Fab Frugal MamaReply
    April 16, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    How much better the world would be if everyone were as open-minded. Thanks for sharing. :)

  15. Journeysof TheZoo
    Journeysof TheZooReply
    April 16, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Good on your brother for living the life he feels he’s meant to. Good on you for supporting it. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m visiting from the Friendly Follow ( I follow you via GFC and Facebook. I like your writing style, I’ll be around.

    P.S. I’m a horrible cook!

    journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com

  16. Canadian Dad
    April 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    I think it’s great that you’ve accepted this decision. I have a very good friend who made the same decision and it was hard to watch the harsh judgement that he had to endure. I’ll admit that it was awkward that my buddy was becoming a woman but I never wavered in my support. Great, great post! Very honest!

  17. Teena in Toronto
    April 18, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Good for him for being true to himself. I have a neighbour who was born female but became male a few years ago … he’s happily married now to Emily, a woman who used to be male.

  18. Bonnie
    April 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    A beautiful post. Today my son is participating in a day of silence at his high school to support the LGBT community. He is gay, and has often been teased. This is what he posted on his FB page this morning:

    “Today is the Day of Silence. On behalf of the LGBT kids who are bullied & commit suicide, I will not talk for the whole day; showing that no human should be silenced & hurt because they aren’t straight. I support LGBT, NOH8.”

    I have always been proud of my son, and like you I believe God made him with a purpose in mind. Be proud of brother always!

  19. Alex
    January 10, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    This is beautiful.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Thank you Alex! I appreciate your support as always.

  20. Julie
    May 29, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    “Growing up, my “sister” would frequently be mistaken for a boy. ”She” would get strange looks and comments when “she” would walk into the girl’s washroom. People were shocked when we went clothes shopping in the girl’s section. It happened every where we went.”

    My 18 year old daughter is a butch lesbian and she goes through these exact same issues. People either think she is a boy or is unsure. Sometimes they will ask her younger siblings if she’s a girl or boy. She gets weird looks when in girls bathrooms or when shopping for clothes. When she was about 3 years old one day she looked at me and said very firmly, :No more dresses Mommy.” For years I thought she was “just a tomboy too.” I don’t ever see her becoming transgendered though. She sometimes experiments with being really feminine and talks about being pregnant sometimes. I’ll support her no matter what she decides.

    Thank you for being so open about your brother. I really need to talk more about my daughter on my blog. I don’t because I don’t feel at this point it’s my story to tell. It’s hers. It was nice to be able to talk about it though with someone who gets it.

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