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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » my brother thinks he's a woman...what should i do?

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Author Topic: my brother thinks he's a woman...what should i do?
butterflie
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my older brother recently told me he thinks he is a girl. in 20 years he hasn't shown any inclination that he is even slightly feminine but he claims to have been pretending for years to be a boy. he's been seeing doctors etc for two years and says he's already tried to commit suicide once. he told me he will kill himself if he doesn't have the operations in the next two years.

i personally think he's making a mistake as he's always been into 'boy things' and is in the army. his main hobbies are guns and violent computer games. my brother said this was all to try to convince himself he was a boy. he refuses to tell our parents but i told my mother as soon as he told me because i couldn't get my head around what he was saying. she is very worried but can't talk to him as he doesn't know that i told her.

he refuses to think of the consequences him changing gender will have on the family and i know that sounds as though i don't care about him being happy but i think he has to think about other people as well. this will kill my dad if he finds out and probably my granma, too. my mother is already too stressed and tired and will get sick if my brother goes through with this.

after an emotionally draining 10 weeks, i feel as though i can't deal with my brother by myself. i'm physically ill with worry and stress and i can't sleep while he seems perfectly happy that he's told someone.

i don't know how to deal with my brother. should i support him or try to stop him? i think he's making a mistake but he won't listen to me and its starting to seriously affect my day to day life now.

i'm sorry this is long but i had to let it all out somewhere.

butterflie

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Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

Posts: 7 | From: out of my mind, hopefully | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
thathollygirl
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Okay, first off, if your brother is transgender, he IS a woman. He doesn't just think he's one. (for simplicity's sake, I'll just use the male pronouns; I'm not sure how this s/he buisness works) If he's been seeing doctors for two years, this is likely not in his head. There are a LOT of tests that psychologists do to make sure that he's not "making a mistake", since this is such a big operation.

Second, there's no such thing as a "boy thing" or a "girl thing". There are a lot of women in the army, and they're damn good at what they do. I like violent video games, and I have a male friend who enjoys crocheting, which I suck at. The activities you enjoy do not determine gender.

I don't think you're giving your brother the support he needs; this is a really difficult thing for everyone to wrap their minds around, but if they can't handle that your brother is finally going to get to be the person he really is, that's no one's problem but their own. There's no need for you to stress yourself about their reactions.

If I may suggest a book? She's Not There. It's this great book about a MTF transsexual and all that she's been through. Before the operation, he was just a regular guy. Now she's just a regular gal, but much, much happier because her body now matches what's been in her mind since she was born.

[ 08-29-2006, 05:56 PM: Message edited by: thathollygirl ]

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Djuna
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Welcome to the boards, sugarrushfan.
By the way, giving out email addresses is against the rules you agreed to when you registered.
I've got to say that your brother (again, I'll use male pronouns for the sake of simplicity) is his own person. I've never understood transexuality myself, but I can see that there's a right path for everyone. He has asked you to help him find it. Think like this: would you like to be a boy? I'm guessing no. You'd feel trapped in the wrong body. That's the problem your brother faces. He feels like a girl trapped in a boy's body. I can't imagine how awful that must be.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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butterflie
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i know it sounds as though i'm more concerned about people's reactions than my brother's happiness but i'm not. my brother never thinks of consequences to his actions and when actions are this extreme, for whatever reason, i think it is important. as i'm the only one he's told, i feel as though a have to tell him the negative side.

i've been looking up things concerning gender change and people's experiences and i'm worried about my brother and what life he could have if he goes through with it.

i can't imagine being trapped inside another body, it must me awful. i think it is right for people who truly are in the wrong body to change, if they can. my brother has only told me about his proposed gender change in the past three weeks though he claims he knew years ago. he hasn't given any signs to suggest he's been thinking about this for a long time (like most people do if they think they're in the wrong body) and i don't think he's that good at pretending.

i never meant to imply that activites denote a personality, i'm sorry. the army and violent games were just examples of stereotypical hobbies. my brother does everything males typically do and hasn't had one feminine inclination as far as i know.

i am trying to support my brother but it is difficult as i'm the only one he talks to about this.

thanks for your replies, butterflie.

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Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

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logic_grrl
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i've been looking up things concerning gender change and people's experiences and i'm worried about my brother and what life he could have if he goes through with it.

Equally, you need to think about what the effects on his life might be if he (going with everyone else on the pronouns here) isn't allowed to live in the gender he identifies with - trans people who are forced to pretend to be a gender they're not suffer just as much as gay people who are forced to pretend to be straight.

As a practical point, he will need to go through extensive screening and counselling before he's allowed to go on hormones, let alone have any sort of surgery.

So if he's confused and making things up, or not really transsexual, that should be spotted and he'll be given help to deal with that instead.

So your best bet either way is to support him to make contact with a clinic or a counsellor who specializes in trans issues and start the process, if he hasn't already.

That should also take some of the pressure of being "the only one who knows" off you, and reassure you that he's getting professional input into his decision.

You don't need to decide what he can and can't do or whether he's "truly" transsexual or not - that's not your role. And ultimately, you can't make up his mind for him.

But trying to convince him not to do anything by telling him that it will "kill" family members if he comes out isn't helpful, and it's not going to help him make rational decisions. If he's truly trans, then trying to live his whole life in the wrong gender may kill him.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Heather
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Nicely done, logic.

(Just to clear up, though, holly, "transsexual" is generally a term used by those who have has SRS or intend to start that process. Transgender would generally be the term most widely used for a person in the state this user's brother is in right now.)

And butterflie, if your borther already HAS taken steps to start the process of gender reassignment, he will have already spoken to a counselor, in which case you could certainly ask to see that counselor yourself to ask all the questions you have about this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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KittenGoddess
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quote:
Originally posted by butterflie:
my brother has only told me about his proposed gender change in the past three weeks though he claims he knew years ago. he hasn't given any signs to suggest he's been thinking about this for a long time (like most people do if they think they're in the wrong body) and i don't think he's that good at pretending.

Based upon your reaction alone, is it really all that surprising that he knew and didn't give any signs? You'll find that with many folks who are transgendered or transsexual, they do hide it and hide it incredibly well for very long periods of time because of the costs of coming out (much like the way folks hide because of the costs of coming out as anything other than heterosexual). It's scary, and may even be dangerous for many folks. Obviously I don't know you or your family, so I can't say what your brother perceives as the risks of coming out with this to them. But I do know that in the family of someone I knew who came out as trans, it did not go well at all. After they decided that he was obviously wrong and confused and then discovered they couldn't "talk him out of it", they kicked him out of the house and said they didn't want to have any further contact. She is now living on her own, but she has to essentially struggle with the process and everything that comes with it alone and astranged from most of her family who won't accept her as a "her". So yes, I'd suggest that your brother has likely become quite adept at hiding any inner conflict regarding gender.

I understand that it's hard to process this, obviously this is a big deal. And lest you think that we are trying to chide you or lecture you too much, I really must commend you for the fact that you clearly care about your brother and that you want to do research and find out more information. There are unfortunately many folks who wouldn't give it that much thought or would make snap judgements, so you are ahead of the curve in that respect. We're happy to have you discuss your concerns here. As family members, sometimes it just takes some time to process ANY big announcement or change. Just try to keep an open mind and do try to look at it from your brother's perspective as well. It's likely that these are not decisions he has made lightly or shared with you on a whim.

[ 08-29-2006, 04:24 PM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

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Sarah Liz

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thathollygirl
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Whoops, Miz Scarlet, it's fixed now. Thanks for the clarification on that. I must look into the T bit of sexual politics, since it's not really anything I know a whole lot about.
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butterflie
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yesterday i gave my brother a list of websites that i'd found which i thought could help him. he seemed pleased that i was 'supporting him' and is a bit happier today. he's going to tell my mother everything later today and start things officially.

i've decided that even though i disagree with his actions, i have to support him because he's my brother and i love him.

thanks for everyone's help - its cleared up a few things in my mind.

butterflie

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Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

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thathollygirl
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Soooo glad to hear it! Good luck to your brother, and congrats for being an understanding and loving sister.
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butterflie
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just wanted to say, my bro has told everyone now and is happy. there are a few problems but nothing serious.

i'm just glad i found this website, my bro is too.

butterflie

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Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

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Heather Anne
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As a Post-Op Mtf myself I can say that transition is a very scary ordeal but a step that had to be taken for me. I had not only been in the Army but also the Navy and it is not unusual for MtF's to hae been in the Military or Policemen or even Firemen. I had attempted suicide twice and was planning my third attempt before I actually found help and began my transition. I can only thank God that I found that help now and think of all the MtF's/FtM's that did not for we do have the highest suicide rate.

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Heather Anne

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