My sister and I started getting closer this year, and I was pretty at peace with it. Enough that I gradually did something I told myself I should never do: I came out to her. And at first it was okay. I felt like I had an ally in her, that she accepted me. But it turned out I was right before.
When I brought it up in a joke about two or three days after, she hit me with “Well, you just haven’t found the right person yet” and “You don’t have any experience” and “Maybe your sexuality is just coming in late/you’re not old enough- some people don’t even feel it until they’re, like, 25!” The last one, of course, makes no sense, considering we hit puberty at the same age and I’ve come across her with plenty of men since she was just 14.
The problem is, we were on a roll. We had already started getting closer, and she kept going, and I didn’t feel like I had a choice to back off. After all, she was the closest to ‘accepting’ my family got. She was open-minded, she could learn, eventually.
Wrong again. We go to a gas station, my sister goes inside to pay for gas and pumps it, and I wait in the car, happy to be alone. When she gets back in, she tells me she had an awesome experience. I egg her on to tell me about it, and she says, “I always knew there was something, like, off about the one girl who works there, ya know? Like, you can tell from looking at her that she’s a lesbian.” I start getting a little strained in the face because she just described being a lesbian as being “off,” but she continues, “And I overheard her having a conversation with someone about the fact that she’s finally transitioning, so I gave her my support!” Here I’m left confused. She just said the thing that was “off” about this person is that they’re a lesbian, but she’s also saying she just got confirmation of that from a convo about transitioning that this person?
And it hit me:
She doesn’t know the difference between gay and trans.
I assume she truly is just uneducated, so I try to correct her. I ask, “Wait, so were they transitioning ftm?” She confirmed it, so then I asked, “Wouldn’t they be a 'he’ then?” And of course my sister begins to catch on: “I did something nice and I wanted to tell you about it, and you’re criticizing me?” I try to counter it, but she parries again with: “Her biological gender is female.” That’s not all she said, but it gets the point across. I knew what was going on now.
Could it be that her ego is that much more important to her than that person’s existence as his identity? Could it be that she wants to be congratulated for being 'nice’ when she only scraped the bottom of basic decency for the guy who served her, if only to cash her out for gas? I’m just glad he had no idea. I assumed she only needed to be educated, but I realized she’s entirely self-centered. And I know other straight people who aren’t like that, some who truly did need to be educated. I just can’t believe I ever mistook my sister as one of them. I can’t even try to teach her when just her presence shuts me down.
Every day, I remember these things because I am around her every day, and I don’t know what I can do. She wants to move out of the house from my even worse conservative family (we’ve all been living together because of money issues) out to California, and I’d like to go to the place for myself, but how can I stand the person there? How can I stand staying?
Listen, I see a really fluffy stray cat outside, so I’m gonna try to feed it, which means I should probably end this here. I’ve just been feeling trapped for so long, I need to vent a little, and where else am I gonna find a place that’s truly safe to say this kind of thing?