Meet Patti-Anne. Patti-Anne is B’s sister. She’s 11 years old and burdened with a name that no one asks about, unlike B. Patti-Anne is at that age where she really, really wants to take a few tentative steps away from her family and try out what it feels like to be independent. Of course, she would never actually say any of this. What comes out instead is lots of sighs and eye rolls and silent stares.
Now, let’s add B to this mix—a little brother who raids Patti-Anne’s closet for pink, sparkly things and pesters her to let him try them on, and who by his third birthday, could name every Disney Princess and her movie of origin.
Patti-Anne has a lot more important things to do with her friends at school than having to explain to everyone what’s up with her little brother. It can sometimes get to be a real drag.
But you know what? Patti-Anne loves B. She would go to the end of the earth for him, and kick anyone’s butt who tried to hurt him. And B knows it.
Siblings are often a key, critical factor in helping a gender nonconforming child grow up with acceptance. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that these siblings have their own related anxieties, confusions, and vulnerabilities. Siblings need empathy and support, too. It’s not unusual for them to endure their own bullying by peers because of their family situation. And sometimes, they can feel invisible, with so much attention directed at their brother or sister.
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