My Hometown Doesn't Recognize Me As The "Sister," Rather I Am Now A "Brother"

My Hometown Doesn't Recognize Me As The "Sister," Rather I Am Now A "Brother"

Now when I get asked why I look familiar, I roll with it and pretend to be Erin's brother, because it's much simpler than stating I'm nonbinary transgender queer to individuals that have not seen me in years.


As it has been mentioned in former articles, I moved back home where I was known. Not only was I known, but my last name was known too because I do actually have a brother. So, I may look more masculine, but my face still resembles my former self because I get the typical "you look familiar" comment way too often. It's a good thing and a bad thing, but I have run into several individuals from my past that have asked me something in regards to how they know me. Rather, they have run into me because I work retail at a store that is always busy.

So, when I am confronted with "you look familiar", I merely state myself as Ian Hodges and wait for their reaction. Knowing that my last name may ring a bell because my brother and I were both into sports and have received recognition in our Conference, I was prepared for a follow up question or statement. Thus, I make eye contact and wait for the wheels to turn in their head as Hodges is well known in Greensboro, NC.

Freshman Year - Center Field . Ragsdale High School #15

I hear the response and I am flabbergasted as I have never thought of myself as being a brother until I got asked this question: "do you have a sister named Erin?" Now when I say, I have never had my jaw hit the floor so hard, I am not lying. Sure, my brother may get this question, because he is my brother and I was his sister, but to hear someone ask about me as Erin when I am standing in front of them is wild. Sure, I do not identify as Erin anymore, but I am still the same person in a sense. There is not an Erin, Ian, and my brother because Erin and Ian are the same human. So, asking how Erin was as presenting myself as Ian, I was at a loss for words that cannot correctly be expressed using verbiage.

So, not knowing how to respond, I simply agreed, and we started talking about how she (Erin) was doing. Talking about myself in the third person to someone that has no idea that I was actually Erin is not only confusing, but incorrect and uncomfortable. Some may wonder why I don't just stop the conversation and state, "well, that was actually me, but now I am Ian." The reason being, the generational gap and living in the South.

I have not done this yet, because the individuals that have asked were my former friends' parents. Thus, I do not know how they feel in regards to the LGBTQ+ community due to the generational gap. If they were just my former friends, I would have no problem and have stated who I was when asked why I looked familiar. However, I do not feel like it is my job to educate individuals about who I am or how I identify when I have not seen them in years. I may have enlightened them and opened up about myself if the conversation persisted. However, knowing it is just simple conversation while I'm working, I prefer to keep my private life to myself.

In conclusion, I do not have a sister named Erin because Erin still exists in my hometown. But it is awesome to be recognized as a "brother" in some sort because I never thought of myself as such. It is different lingo and hard to grasp, but it's a change and change takes time.

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10 Things You've Said If You're Freakishly Close With Your Sibling

You can't choose your family but you can choose your friends.


It's true, siblings are equally your best friend and sworn enemy. It's also true that you probably can't imagine life without them. They might annoy you, beat you up, call you names, and get you in trouble, but in the end, the pros outweigh the cons. You can't get rid of them so you might as well reap the benefits of having a life-long confidant. As we've got older, my brother and I have learned to coexist more peacefully than in the past. One might even consider us friends. Our bickering has turned into playful banter and our inside jokes have only become more exclusive.

This week, I decided to focus on the benefits of having a sibling. Younger or older, you've probably found yourself asking or saying these things to your sibling once or twice.

1. "Mom, where is (name)?"

You probably like to keep tabs on their whereabouts just in case you need them at any given moment. You also constantly worry about them, which is your excuse for always asking this question.

2. "Want to hang out?"

There is nothing better than quality time with your sibling. Even if that just means snap chatting each other while you're sitting in the same room.

3. "Add me on Find My Friends."

Specifically referring to younger siblings, the older they get, the more protective you get. This also comes in handy when you're bored and want to know how long it will be until they get home.

4. "I'll only go if you go."

We usually send (& receive) these texts most when our parents ask us to accompany them on a family outing. If I'm going to suffer, then so are they. You also know, having them there will make everything more fun.

5. "Get in my Snapchat."

They make your Snapchats 100% better by just being in them.

6. "What time will you be home?"

They know the second they get home from a night out, you'll want details and gossip.

7. "Do you need a ride home?"

You're willing to do them favors, not only because you care about them but because that just means more time to hang out and jam in the car.

8. "Invite your friends over tonight."

If you're friends with your sibling, this probably means you're friends with their friends too. You've successfully managed to double your inner circle.

9. "Will you pick me up food on your way home?"

When you're too lazy to get food on your own so you have your personal slave fetch you lunch.

10. "I need some advice..."

One of my personal favorites. Whether about school, friends, relationships, or our parents, I know we've got each other's backs.

Cover Image Credit: People

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.


Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I followed her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, I just walked right inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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