Debate Magazine

These Irish Sisters Used to Be Brothers

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

One common thing I’ve noticed in many of these “transgender” stories? No mention of a father in the picture.

transgender siblings

From NY Post: Jamie and Chloe O’Herlihy have a strong bond as siblings. They started out as brothers and now are sisters.

During a trip home to their native Cork, Ireland, last summer, the then-brothers opened up to one another after struggling with their gender identities for years. Days later, the two came out as transgender.

“It’s a cliche to say, ‘I always knew,’ but I did and I just kept pushing it to the back of my mind,” 23-year-old Jamie tells Caters News. “Then I started doing some drag shows in the evenings and I realized how comfortable I felt dressed up.”

Unable to stay silent any longer, Jamie came clean to Chloe — then Daniel — in summer 2015.

“I tried to ignore it but it got to the point where when the morning came round, I didn’t want to take off the drag because it was a better representation of me than I was,” she said. “So I came out to Chloe and our mum last summer, and by November I had come out to all my friends and colleagues.”

While both are planning to go under the knife for gender reassignment surgery, Chloe is still coming to terms with the fact that she and Jamie were both waging a war within themselves.

“It’s weird that we were both going through exactly the same thing and having the same thoughts about being trans but just not talking to each other,” Chloe shares. “Then when Jamie came out and told us, I was like, ‘Right, this is something you are going to have to face too.’”

Now living their true selves, Jamie and Chloe revealed to Caters that while they were able to dress as they pleased at home, school was another story.

“I always wore makeup and had longer hair. I’ve never really been considered one of the lads, I was always one of the girls,” 20-year-old Chloe said.

“From the age of 2 I was dressing her up in tutus,” Jamie adds. “All our childhood memories are us dressing up as our favorite celebs and putting T-shirts on our heads so we had long hair or wearing them as skirts. But when we got to school, we realized it was not okay to do that with other people so we kept it as our secret.”

Though Jamie and Chloe have been able to lean on one another, the transition has affected each of them differently as they’ve struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. As for the possibility of surgery in their future, Jamie and Chloe know that they’ll enter the next phase of their lives together.

“We talk a lot about our transition and it is great to have each other. We know exactly how each other feels,” Chloe says. “If I’m out and I get a funny look or comment and I’m feeling anxious, I can call Jamie and she knows exactly what to say.”

“But I think we’re both at very different stages. Growing up, I always had my hair long and wore kind of feminine clothes, so it’s easier for me to go out now as a woman,” she continues. “Jamie has always been the more confident one, but at the moment her anxiety is through the roof because leaving the house as a woman is new and it is hard.”

Although the surgery does “scare” Jamie, as she’s never been in the hospital before, she knows the end result will trump her remaining fears and anxieties.

“We don’t see ourselves going in and leaving with a brand new face, but for us to live a happy life where we don’t have to worry, we need people to not have to question, ‘Is that a man or is that a woman?’” Jamie says.

While Chloe says the surgery “won’t be drastic,” just a procedure to enhance their “beauty in a more female way,” her big sister is ready to leave her past as a male officially behind.

transgender siblings2

“I do not want to change too much, but I also don’t want to look in the mirror and see any semblance of male,” Jamie shares. “It sounds dramatic, but I’m trying to undo the wrong that was done to me at birth and I don’t need any reminders of the struggle of having to carry this male body.”


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