Dear Brother - Love, Sissy

Dear Brother,

I'm sorry you are the only one of us that is "different". I'm even more sorry you realized it at an early age. I'm sorry that even as a little boy, you knew that who you were wasn't something that we celebrated. I'm sorry that when you wore my t-shirts belted (ya know, so it looked like a dress) everyone told you to take it off. I'm sorry that when I used to find you wearing my heels or boots I didn't laugh with you and promise not to tell Mom and Dad. In fact, I'm now sorry that I told Mom and Dad. I'm sorry I hid my shoes from you. I'm sorry that we didn't just let you be who you were. I'm sorry that we tried to fix you, even though I now know you didn't need to fixed. I'm sorry we kept telling you it was a phase and then made up weird explanations and solutions. I'm sorry that when you told us you wanted to be a princess we didn't take you seriously. I'm sorry we probably "shushed" you at Target while you were begging for a "girl" costume.  I'm sorry that when you wanted to dress up for Halloween, you had to compromise on something that "was appropriate for a boy". I'm sorry that you didn't feel like you could tell us how you were feeling. I'm sorry you felt alone in a house full of people. I'm sorry you probably picked up on Mom and Dad's frustration and their "What are we supposed to do?" conversations. I'm sorry if you ever felt like we were embarrassed. I'm sorry when teachers treated you different than the other boys. I'm sorry that those same boys were AWFUL to you. I'm sorry I never painted your nails, even though you asked me to a million times. I'm sorry people always used to asked you if you had a girlfriend yet, even after they knew you were gay. I'm sorry people insinuated that you chose this and that it's something that is shameful. I'm sorry that there are actual people in this world that believe you're going to hell because of who you are. I'm sorry that people don't think you deserve equal rights. I'm sorry that people don't think you deserve to get married. I'm sorry that people think you would be unfit to be a parent simply because of who you are. I'm sorry that people tell you they'll pray for you, as if you need it more than they do. I'm sorry you're stereotyped daily. I'm sorry that your demographic has the highest teen suicide rate. I'm sorry that high school was so fucking wretched for you. I'm sorry we all tried to make you play sports even though it was VERY clear you weren't interested. I'm sorry we didn't encourage all the other things you were interested in, because we thought they were weird. I'm sorry no one was your advocate when you were small. I'm sorry people think being gay is a mental illness. I'm sorry people think it is caused by "spending too much time with women".  I'm sorry if any of us made you feel unworthy and less than. I'm sorry you had to hear that you needed counseling from the very same people who were supposed to accept you and protect you. I'm sorry you feel like you can never bring a guy you're dating around us, out of fear that something offensive will be said. I'm sorry people wish you just didn't have to "act so gay". I'm sorry people wish you wouldn't "dress so gay". I'm sorry that as a little boy you were so confused and had no one safe to turn to.

But, my dear brother, I thank you. Thank you for teaching us what it TRULY means to love unconditionally. Thank you for being the "different" one. Thank you for teaching us that love is love is love.  Thank you for teaching my children that there is no "normal" and that you are just like all their other uncles. Thank you for giving me a platform and a reason to ensure my children never think twice or bat an eye at a gay couple holding hands. Thank you for wearing my "go-go boots" around the house proudly and never ceasing to ask me where they were.  Thank you for wanting to be a princess. Thank you for belting out Celine Dion on the kitchen counter while wearing a belted t-shirt "dress". Thank you for loving Scarlett O'Hara. Thank you for loving fashion so I don't have to. Thank you for surviving junior high and high school. Thank you for humoring Mom and Dad when they put you in sports. Thank you for twirling around in circles during flag football, completely unaware that the game was even being played. Thank you for being able and willing to straighten my hair for me. Thank you for having the confidence to tell us who you are. Thank you for having more courage when you were 13 years old, than I currently have at 37. Thank you for being your own person. Thank you for being one of my biggest fans. Thank you for being a feminist. Thank you for understanding how it feels to triumph over stereotypes and old-fashioned good ol' boy standards. Thank you for risking everything by being truthful with who you are. Thank you for teaching my kids that you are just like everyone else. Thank you for giving some people the benefit of the doubt and allowing them to process who and what you are. Thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for keeping your nails just a little bit longer than most people are comfortable with. Thank you for holding on to your standards and beliefs. Thank you for educating us and advocating for people just like you. Thank you for participating in PRIDE. Thank you for not "toning down your gay", even though people have advised you to do so. Thank you for wearing a kimono with confidence. Thank you for loving us and forgiving us. Thank you for being alive. Thank you for surviving those years of mental anguish and physical torment at the hands of others who either were too young or too closed minded to understand. Thank you for opening our eyes, our hearts, and most importantly our minds.  Thank you for being you.

Love,
Sissy

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