Here's Exactly What My Siblings Did to Support Me When I Came Out as Genderqueer
I grew up the third of four children. We're all about a year and a half apart age-wise, so we were very close growing up. We fought and we formed alliances and we knew each other probably better than anyone should, but when I hit my 20s and discovered I was both bisexual and genderqueer, I was worried it might negatively impact our close relationship.
When I did come out to them, I was blown away. My siblings were unbelievably supportive, and they helped me in ways I couldn't have imagined. It made my transitioning so much easier to know they had my back.
In the hopes that other siblings can learn from my family and in the interest of just bragging about these three amazing people to whom I am related, here are a few of the things my siblings did to help me with my transition. (Note: in the above picture, I'm the one rocking the red velvet jumpsuit.)
My Siblings Are My Cheerleaders
In every aspect of my life, from the personal to the professional, and especially in terms of my gender identity, my siblings cheer me on. They are there to listen whenever I want to vent about being misgendered or a difficulty with coming out to new people. They may not know it, but their simple willingness to be there for me means the world.
My Siblings Help Me Explore Gender
One of the coolest things my siblings did when I came out was to ask questions. Obviously, there are some days when I'm exhausted by all the questions, but when my siblings asked, I knew it was from a genuine place of wanting to better understand me. On one memorable occasion, we all put on lipstick together. It made me feel so safe and supported to know they were willing to step outside of their experience to better understand what I was dealing with.
My Siblings Inspire Me to Stay Strong
My siblings inspire me to lead my most authentic life. I see them out in the world being themselves and giving it their all, and it makes me want to do the same. When I feel tired of correcting people on my pronouns or having the same conversation over and over again about what it means to be nonbinary, it's nice to think about my siblings out in the world doing their work, too. We may be separated by distance, but our bond of siblinghood provides me with strength.
My Siblings Watch Out For Me
I can't be everywhere at once, of course. So it's great that my siblings are on board with correcting my pronouns even when I'm not there. They checked in with me to make sure it was OK before doing this and now have developed their own habits when confronting difficult situations. They also have gone so far as to introduce their own respective pronouns when meeting new people. Not only does this help me, but I also know it makes a huge difference to the people they encounter.
My Siblings Remind Me That I'm Still Me
Transitioning can be terrifying. It feels like everything in the world is changing all at once. My siblings helped to keep me grounded, whether by making dumb jokes, playing my favorite board game with me, or simply calling me up to see how I was doing. These gestures reminded me that I am still me even if my pronouns are different. I couldn't have asked for a better support system than my siblings, and I feel endlessly grateful to have them in my life.