This is a long overdue letter to the people who have made me who I am today. I can not thank you all enough for your everlasting love and acceptance. Please read these individual segments I have wrote you, and know that I mean it wholeheartedly.
To my family,
I have been so lucky to go on this journey with you guys. A journey that is unlike most. One which has tested so much more than just our relationships, but our relations with the society that told us to be cautious.
To my mom,
I remember when I first came out to you mom. I had been trying to tell you for so long, but that night I couldn’t take any more. As we rolled into the driveway returning from my soccer practice, it didn’t matter to me that the timing was shit or that we were both tired from the strenuous day. I simply couldn’t go back to my room that night feeling the same sense of defeat that I had felt every night for sixteen years.
I had in that moment made the decision to risk everything I had, everything we had, to be happy. And as I let the words slip, you couldn’t seem to find any. I went to bed that night feeling more uncertain than ever, questioning everything.
Was it worth it? Should I have risked my life of comfort to escape misery? I remember the very next day you approached me with information that you had gathered from calling your friend who was a social worker. After hearing your shaky voice speak with nothing but care and love, I felt for the first time a warm feeling of hope. You had freed me from myself in that moment.
It was the most incredible sense of enlightenment, and you gave that to me. I hope that someday you will come to me when you need support so that I can return the overwhelming love that you have given to me. Thank you for being the most incredible human in my life.
To my sister,
You are the epitome of a strong woman. As I visited you in New York last week, I saw so much of you in the statue of the girl standing firmly before the bull. As I see you living the life you have always dreamed of in New York. I don’t think I have been more proud of anyone in my life. You have taught me how to live.
You see I have never been like you, I have always been afraid. And as I watched you grown up and live to the absolute fullest, you showed me that a life without happiness and passion is a life not worth living. It was because of you that I came out and started living. I wanted to be just like you. So full of life and so bold.
As people started to find out about your transgender brother and ask you uncomfortable questions, you never came to me. You never made me feel guilty or uneasy about the difficulties I put you through. Instead, you stood firm, exerting strength. You backed me up and supported me. I am so proud of you and so thankful that you are the one I got stuck with in the womb because we are twins.
To my dad,
You have always been a man of tradition. A successful man with a nice house, incredible wife, and four kids. I am sure that never in your relatively normal life did you ever expect to have one of your kids come out as transgender. I don’t think anyone ever does. You helped me with something that I always struggled with. You helped me see a future. There was a time when all I could think about was cutting my hair, coming out, and starting hormones. I stopped focusing on school and things that I needed for the future that I wanted. With no guarantee of a return, you gave me opportunity after opportunity. Chance after chance, and because of that I will always be grateful.
To my brothers,
You are the ones that surprised me the most. Reminded me of why we treasure youth because young people are so devoid of hatred.
I never expected either of you to use my correct name or pronouns because you were so young and had so little information. However, I remember the first time I had a friend over who I was out to, you both heard him call me Henry, and without hesitation, you called me Henry too. You guys didn’t know why he called me that or the slightest idea as to what was going on, but you both did it anyways. This was before anyone in the family was calling me Henry, and I never brought people over for that reason.
The respect you both showed me that day, was beyond anything I had ever imagined. Everyone treated my transition as if it was me changing into another person, but you treated me the exact same. You two someone managed to make me feel more comfortable and accepted than I ever did around adults. When I was with you guys I just felt like your older brother, and that is all I had ever wanted when I was around you two.