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My Brother, My Rock

Sibling bonds are funny and complex. I have a brother who is only 14 months older than me, so we have always been really close. Growing up, he was my best friend. To this day, we are still really close, even though sometimes he drives me absolutely insane. When we’re together, it’s like we’re kids again. Honestly, the two of us together is like dumb and dumber and I know my boyfriend (who is an only child) sometimes watches my brother and I interacting and is like “wtf” because we really think the most ridiculous stuff is funny and we just feed off of each other.

me and the homie

Growing up, it always felt like it was us against the world. Even though he was only 14 months older than me, he took he older brother role very seriously. My brother honestly has one of the biggest hearts. He is one of the most caring people I know. I remember whenever I would be mad at my brother, my dad would always scold me and say something along the lines of, “Kailey, can’t you see your brother would do anything for you?” And, he would. There’s nothing my brother would not do for me. When we were kids, one year he gave me his old Game Boy SP to me for Christmas because he broke mine. Another year, he gave me his iPod Touch because he knew I liked to play with it.

When we got older and I needed a car but had no credit, he took out the loan in my name with no questions asked. He was ready to take on the responsibility at the potential expense of his credit score. When I was unsure of where I would be able to live and he was looking at houses, he made me a part of house shopping and always kept me in mind with whatever house we looked at. I am telling you, there is nothing that my brother would not do for me. And, I try to be there in all the ways he has been there for me.

I always know I can go to him with whatever I need. Whether I need advice, someone to vent to, or help with anything, I know he will do whatever he can to help me, no questions asked. I know I am his number one person he goes to with everything.

As I said earlier, he sometimes drives me insane. Not because there’s anything wrong with him, but sometimes he gets himself into situations where he is getting hurt or struggling and honestly I just lose it. I don’t lose it because I’m mad at him, it just kills me when my brother is struggling or hurting in any way. He is my best friend and he has been since I was born. It literally hurts my soul when he is struggling. I will drop everything to help him and help him in any way I can, no matter how emotionally charged I am.

But, there’s only so much I can do in certain situations. And because I am a super emotional person, especially when it comes to the people I care about, I just say whatever is on my mind, whether it should be said or shouldn’t. He’ll tell me I’m mean, but the reason I get so angry is because I care about him so much, not because I am mad at him. There have been times I’ve been so upset, I’ve blocked him because I just couldn’t watch the shit go down. It just wasn’t good for my mental health to just watch his world collapse.

Even though I am the younger sibling, I have always felt somewhat responsible for my brother. Not because he needs me, but somehow he is like an extension of myself. We were so close growing up. We told each other literally everything (and I mean everything). We always kind of took on each other’s problems. No matter how old I get, his problems will always feel like my problems.

Regardless, at the end of the day, I still love him. No matter how insane he drives me, he is still my best friend. I would still do anything for him. If he needs me, I will always be there.

No sibling is perfect, we argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times, but in the end, we are family, and the love we have for each other always be there.


I’m The Proud Sister of A Transgender Teen

I’m the proud sister of a transgender teen boy. That transgender teen boy is my little brother Dante.

Dante decided to come out as transgender in March of 2020. He has always struggled with his gender identity. I remember that he would tell our mom how uncomfortable he felt in his body but she just brushed him off. He never enjoyed playing with dolls or dressing up, he just always wanted to be one of the boys. He knew he wasn’t meant to be a girl. And sure enough, he was right.

This is my brother Dante proudly posing with his transgender pride flag 🙂

If you asked me a year ago how I felt about having a transgender sibling, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. The whole thing was completely new to me but it has absolutely changed my life in more ways than one. Dante has taught me so much about not only himself and what he’s been through but also about myself.

Being the sibling of someone who is transgender is not easy but absolutely worth it to me. I am fighting battles for him that I know he may not be able to fight on his own and that’s okay. I will always fight for him. He needs to know that there will always be someone in his corner, even if it’s just me.

People constantly misgender him when we are in public. Sometimes, Dante is too shy to correct them so I know that I need to step up and say something when he feels like can’t. I don’t always catch it right away and later find myself feeling bad. He often reminds me that it’s okay if I don’t say anything because he knows I would have if I heard it but I still feel bad because I know it bothers him. He doesn’t deserve to feel that way.

I don’t want my brother living in a world where people are unkind to him or don’t respect his pronouns. He absolutely deserves to live in a world where he can be free to be whoever he wants. My brother has grown into a wonderful young man. It’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him in my whole life. He doesn’t care what other people think because at the end of the day, he knows who he is and that’s all that really matters.

Dante is proud of the person he’s become and he shouldn’t have to hide that. He inspires me to be a better person. I want to become a better advocate and make the world a safer place for trans teens like him to exist in. My brother is almost every part of the reason that I am who I am today.

I’m the proud sister of a transgender teen and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will always fight for my brother and his right to live freely.

I love you, Dante.

You can also check out Ariane Thornton-Mason’s article about having a transgender sibling here.

Under Turning Point CT’s Support by Topic, you can find a list of LGBTQIA+ resources, feel free to take a peek!

How My Brothers Saved Me

My brothers saved me from myself and the reality of our world.

CW, TW: talk of suicide and self-harm.

For as long as I can remember, my brothers have always been my strength. They are both my rock and even sometimes, my best friend. I remember the day that each of them came home from the hospital. I was so excited to be a big sister! They were so little and I was still so young. I just knew that I had to protect them, no matter the cost.

Growing up, life at home wasn’t always easy but I knew I had to be strong for them. After my parents divorced, I knew it would be hard especially for them because they didn’t understand what was happening. But I understood. I never wanted them to feel the way that I was feeling. As their oldest sibling, I knew I had to make sure they felt safe and secure with me. I wanted them to know that they had someone to rely on because, at the time, I didn’t.

This is a photo that my best friend happened to catch of my two brothers and I (this was pre-transition for Dante).

If you’ve seen my story, you’ll know that my parents divorced when I was about 12 years old. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Donovan was only about 3 and Dante was still just a baby. In one day, I watched my whole world fall apart. I felt broken but I knew I couldn’t let them see that. I knew I wouldn’t be able to explain that feeling to them. Even when I felt like I was drowning, I always made sure that they were okay first.

After my dad left, my mom wasn’t home much. She worked and went out with friends, it was her way of coping. I mean, who was I to try to stop her when I knew she was hurting too? While I wanted to let her deal with her pain, I was still mad at her. I was 12 years old and I had to take care of my siblings. I loved them but I was already dealing with my own demons and now I had two little humans to take care of now. Most people my age wanted to be a kid but at this age, I’ve forgiven her because I knew that was the only way I was going to heal on my own.

After my parents split up, I struggled for a really long time. I can’t even begin to imagine how Dante and Donovan were feeling about the whole thing. Unfortunately, I fell into a really deep depression. School became too overwhelming for me, I found myself really struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I couldn’t handle having to go there and pretend like everything was okay when I felt so broken. I already had to hide how I was feeling at home because I couldn’t let my brothers see me be weak. Someone had to be strong for them.

Despite everything going on, my brothers gave me peace. They made me feel safe and they didn’t even know it. Knowing that they had me to count on gave me peace of mind. That was more than enough for me. I spent so much of my time taking care of them that I never stopped to take care of myself. But they did. They took care of me in ways I don’t think they’ll ever fully understand, even now.

I lived through days where I genuinely wanted to die. There were so many times that I considered ending my life because the life I was living just wasn’t worth the pain I felt. And when I wasn’t having suicidal thoughts, I was cutting myself. I used to cut my arms, my legs, my hips. Anywhere that would hurt enough to make everything else go away. I was in this horrible cycle of suicidal thoughts and self-harm. I felt like I wasn’t enough. Not for myself or my parents. But for Donovan and Dante? I was enough. More than enough for them. I was their big sister, their biggest fan, their best friend and so much more.

They will never truly know how much they’ve done for me. They don’t know that I was lying awake at night wondering whether I should be alive, that they were the reason I wanted to keep going. That their sweet, innocent little faces always made me wonder, “why would anyone want to leave you?” How everything they’ve ever said to me has stuck with me my whole life. They just don’t know how much of an impact they’ve had on me as an adult. I could never leave them, not ever.

Donovan and Dante are the best brothers that anyone could ask for. I truly mean that. I am so thankful to have the relationship that I do with them because I know a lot of people don’t have that. I’m lucky to be their big sister and I will never take them for granted. They might be a pain in my behind sometimes but I know they have good intentions. My brothers are the ones who protect me and my heart from harm. My brothers saved me and they continue to save me every day.

Thank you Donovan and Dante for reminding me what I’m worth and making me feel whole. Without you, I would not be who I am today. I love you both more than words.

Here’s a really cool article that talks about siblings under stress. It’s a really good read!

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression, there is help out there. Check out some of our resources here.