No matter the relationship with your siblings, they’ll always hold a special place in your heart.
Older siblings get to look on with pride as the stupid babies they grew up with become somewhat respectable adults. Younger siblings always have that person who spent their entire childhood tormenting you, but stuck up for you when the going got tough.
When it comes to LGBTI people, though, things can start to get messy.
Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia is so insidious it can poison even the closest of families. However, some sibling relationships not only survive the onslaught of coming out, but grow even stronger. For National Sibling Day, we’ve compiled stories of siblings being the best they can be to their LGBTI siblings.
Tom and Rob Capon: Easing me out of the closet
Rob, left and Tom, right
My biggest fear growing up was coming out to my brother. He’s always been my best friend but homophobia is taught to teenagers so early that it’s impossible to tell whether the calling things ‘gay’ as an insult is actually an insult, or an expression of deeply held beliefs. So I kept it a secret until one night. I was 16 and he 19, back from university.
He sat me down to speak about girls and I told him everything I’d done with the bravado of a teenager. The real genders were obviously changed. Then he reveals he heard I was gay from someone in my year at school. I confessed everything. He looked at me, slightly pained, and said: ‘Why didn’t you tell me? You know I’m always going to love you. You’re my brother.’
My brother even said if anyone was homophobic in the family, it would just be me and him against them all. He might be the most annoying person I’ve ever met in my life, but he’s definitely the best brother in the world.
Tom is the Travel Editor and is found on Instagram and Twitter.
James and Steven Besanvalle: The gay twin
James, left, and Steven, right
The first person I ever came out to as gay was my identical twin brother (before your mind starts racing, he’s straight!). We used to call each other gay as an insult all the time and then one day he called me gay, I just responded: ‘Yeah, I am.’ We spoke about it for hours and he was super supportive, saying nothing’s changed and he’ll always be there for me.
He encouraged me to come out to our parents. He even held my hand when I told them.
James is the Family Editor and is on Instagram and Twitter.
Maddie and Molly Lockett: The coming out sleepover
Maddie, left, and Molly, right
While lying in the dark on an unbelievably uncomfortable bed on a ferry in the middle of the ocean, my little sister and I were laying awake talking. While debating who was hotter, Drake or Josh, I blurted out: ‘You know that I’m gay right?!’
We lay in silence as the weight of what I’d just said sank in and my heart was beating 1000 miles an hour. She casually replied: ‘Yeah that’s cool… but Josh is defo hotter.’ I remember bursting out laughing and being so relieved, it was the most low key and perfect response she could have given.
Maddie is Creative Partnerships Manager and is found on LinkedIn.
Shannon Power and Sean Marantelli: Sticking up for LGBTI kids
Sean, left, and Shannon, right
There’s a pretty big age gap between my brother Sean and I. I had a big hand in raising him and I may or may not be the reason one of his first words was ‘shit’. And soon after, ‘fucken’.
Sean was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four (don’t worry he’s doing ok now) but used to go on a lot of camps for kids with cancer. At one of the camps, a group of boys kept relentlessly bullying the only gay kid there. That’s until Sean, who was only at primary school age, stepped in to stand up to the bullies.
‘You homophobes are in the minority with your stupid attitudes,’ was one of the classic barbs he threw their way. Needless to say, the bullying stopped and the other kid could get back to enjoying the camp. When I heard what he’d done, my heart filled with such pride that rather than trying to fit in, he knew to do the right thing and stand up for the bullied kid.
He was obviously raised well by a very smart and good looking person.
Shannon is the Health Editor and is on Twitter.
Matilda and Ruth Davies: History loving twin
Matilda, left and Ruth, right
Last year, I got a triangle tattoo on my wrist as a commemoration of my coming out journey. My (very straight) twin sister didn’t recognize it as a queer symbol, so I explained the history very briefly.
The next time I saw her, we were talking about it again and she repeated loads of facts about the LGBTI history of WWII and the significance of the symbol today in the community.
I asked her how she suddenly knew all this info about queer history and she said, after I got the tattoo, she went away and researched it so she could understand its significance to me.
Now we have a running joke that she takes evening classes on queer history.
Matilda is the Creative Partnerships Director and is on Twitter.
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