Thursday, May 30, 2013

First Blood: My Cousin Knew???

As I mention...often... I have Scots blood.  My mum is a Scots national, and she married my dad, an American soldier.  A couple years later, they got me- their youngest of two- the "mistake."  My mum and her sister both came to the US; the rest of her family remain in Scotland.  All who remain now are her older brother and his family.  He has two children, a girl and a boy.  She is a little older than me, he is younger.  I last saw them in 1972, which was the last time I was in Scotland.  I was five years old.  I already knew I was different then.

So, I told my first blood family member.  My female Scots cousin, whom I will refer to as "B."

B and I are Facebook (FB) friends.  We trade messages when we can, and very occasionally speak on the phone.  We reconnected a couple years ago after no communication for nearly forty years.

B is married, works in a professional job, and has several kids.  That's all I'll say about her background. 

She called me last night, and we talked about the topic of secrets, which we'd discussed on FB chat. 

"Well my lovely cousin you can always tell me, cos I love you to bits ,we I have learned over our time on FB more a like than I ever thought, I think of you as my wee brother and I would defend you to the hilt.  I love your stats and you make me smile, when yer friends get their knickers in a twist."  
(That's un-translated southern Scots Gaelic for your pleasure.)(All excerpts used by kind permission of their author.  Certain portions redacted for her privacy.)

Turns out that branch of the family has a few.  I mentioned I had a deep secret.  She said (translated from Scots Gaelic) "I already know what it is.  You're transgender."  After I managed to pick my jaw off the floor I asked how she guessed.  "I've always known.  You've always been more female than male." 

Mind you, I've only met her once, back when I was five...

She saw pictures posted on FB from Halloween (on my drab FB) and thought "He looks much better as a woman than a man."  She also said that some of the superhero pics "looked a lot like her."


We chatted about that for a bit.  And how she knows a couple of transpeople and how hard it is for them.

We discussed transition and hormones and disclosure.  Everything.

The next morning, I found this in my FB messages:

Morning Doll, now that's an expression I use for all my female relatives and friends, so get use to it.
I now have a female cousin, i have no sister , a brother with xxxxxxx  who is lost to me, who I can't talk to, but I have you, I have gained you, family and blood linked, so everything has positives, EVERYTHING, You know that after reading me rabbiting on about xxxx  etc...everything has a positive ,way of the universe.
You will never be homeless, it would maybe mean a long flight to work and back but I loves ya ,only a phone call away and you are embarking on a journey that will change you forever at the same time as I travel mine, we will both be different at the end of it ,so I am cyberally taking your hand and saying "C'mon then hen" xxxx

Then later during the night...

What a journey ,my regret is that we hadn't lived next door to each other when you were in so much turmoil, oh ,gosh ,I like Sophie ,my girls will love Sophie ,you will end up being great friends with (daughter) and (other daughter),they are my fashin ,makeup gurus so god help you,lol They got me outta my hillwalking gear and all femmed up ,well being xxxxxxxxxx ,a girl has to try hence I make the most of what I have and less of wits missin,lol.
It just doesn't seem right to call you by your birth name anymore ,my boy cousin has gone for me and I am so delighted to a female relative apart from my girls, you are it, the girls and you

That made me feel so good!
We chatted again today.  I was about to sign off when I received this:
Hi Sophie it's (daughter), my mum spoke to me and I know that it's important that nobody knows. When she told me about you I really wasn't that shocked, it's normal over here in Scotland. It's definitely nothing major and this is who you are, i'm so glad that you're able to express yourself. Just to let you know that I accept you for whoever you want to be, and I understand that you don't have a choice in this as it's who you are. Just remember you've got a family here that will support you no matter what, we're not quick to judge. Never feel alone. We're just a really expensive plane ticket away, that's all lol
B had showed her daughter the picture below, and she identified me fairly quickly.
So.  "Normal over here."  Can you imagine?  I wonder if that's true?  (Can any of my UK readers verify this?)
Ok.  So that's one blood relation- one resounding success.  But it makes me wonder- if she knew... who else does?  Other cousins?  Co-workers?
Having her on my side gives me courage.  Even if she ends up the only cousin or family member behind me, her strength gives me strength.  (There I go quoting Springsteen again.)
That strength will take me to my next step.  The next round of disclosures... the next step to Womanhood. 
To Life.



  1. I sent you my response about this via other means.

    On another note, looking at that picture in your Mary Marvel outfit: that smile just expresses pure joy! I love to see that.

  2. ohhhh Sophie how i can relate. imagine my surprise, yet somehow i knew there was a link deep down inside of me, when after cleaning out my dad's sister's house (no children) 4 years ago to find a packet from 10 yrs before from a relative doing some family research . when via snail mail i contacted the person and he put me in touch with his dad ( my dad and his dad are first cousins but lost touch due to the war.) when his dad sent me info to add to what i had i almost fell over when i saw that there had been a male to female name change in 2001 for his number 2 child ( out of 3 orig. boys). i almost fell out of my chair reading the info. i couldn't wait to call and confirm my thoughts. the child "B" now 58 (i am 55) connected immediately and have been in touch ever since. she due to financing issues just completed here SRS just 1 yr ago in april done in the US in the south. now you have to understand she doesn't have a computer and we didn't have any contact for about 50 years and yet we are both transgendered me TV she TS. i almost wept for joy on the phone. although some cousins MIGHT have run away it has only brought us closer. if this doesn't help prove that it can run genetically in families i don't know what else will.
    as i have come out to family and friends i am always pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction. many have told me i look better as a woman.
    i am sooo glad for you to have found a supportive relative it helps smooth out some of the "bumps in the road" on the journey ahead. thank you for sharing.
    also i think you look great in the photo of you leaning against the wall.

  3. Sophie
    I am so glad that you now have a blood relative that you can cherish and who will be there for you. There are some things about family that are special and I am happy that you have now had a chance to enjoy that.

    I am not sure if the comments from your cousin's daughter that "It's normal over here...It's definately nothing major and this is who you are..." is reflective of their local or national culture of of their age. I suspect it is a bit of both and it is reflective of changes in a lot of the changes in society and culture.

    I have told you that you never go wrong quoting from Bruce...especially not when you pull the quote from the Rising album.