My sister, who I was formerly extremely close with, has been in transition to become a trans man for a few years. (Btw please forgive me for using the wrong pronouns, etc, I'm still learning but I'm really trying!) I am at a loss with how to interact with this new person. I live in a different country and only get to come home maybe once a year and we still have not had a real conversation about it face-to-face. He hides behind conversations on the internet and if I ask too many questions, I am met with a lot of hostility. He says I could never understand, because I'm a straight, married female with a baby.
This obviously hurts a lot, I love my sibling no matter what. I want so badly to be supportive, as does the rest of my family. However, deep down, I'm still not sure that this feels right. My sister and I both have a history of trauma due to religious fundamentalism which we have both dealt with in very different ways. She had a history of self-diagnosing mental illness and treats being trans or gay like an illness. Since beginning transition, he has become even more depressed and nasty than usual and it has been extremely difficult for my entire family. It does not seem like he is moving towards happiness, quite the opposite.
Another issue is that around the time this started, my sister became friends with a group who I'd describe as immature hippies turned liberal idealogues. I believe these people have a significant and negative influence over him and are contributing to his eagerness to cut himself off from our family. I don't know how to make it clear that we are not the enemy, we only want to understand.
So, I need advice! I want to talk to him even though he seems hell-bent on shutting everyone out. I realize that this is his journey, not mine, but I want my sibling to be happy and a part of my life, however that is possible. Please help.
Any ideas on how our reader can learn to communicate with her sibling? Let her know in the comments below.
Send all of your questions to Advice@xoJane.com, we can help!