Thursday, November 29, 2012

My brother, Kade.

I have one brother named Kade. We are 21 months apart and I am the older sibling. Growing up we weren't the type to fight all the time but of course disagreed. We always had different interests and different sets of friends. As we have gotten older, we have become very close. We talk on the phone often and even thousands of miles away (he lives in California) we still know what is going on in each other's lives.  I can call Kade and talk his ear off and he just listens. He just gets me and listens without judgement and offers advice if I need it. 
Kade was always the quiet one in our family. He was into climbing trees and building things. I was always the troublemaker and my biggest vice was talking on the phone past 8 p.m. I still talk on the phone a lot now. Times haven't changed much :) 
When I started blogging a few years ago I would post pictures of Kade and talk about his visits, etc. For some people that read this blog and have known me and my family they might have been a little confused because growing up, Kade was actually Katie and was my sister. I want to tell the story of Kade (with his permission, of course) and when I am talking about Kade pre transformation I will call him Katie. I know, it can get confusing.
When Katie and I were in high school she told me she was gay. We live in Texas, in a very conservative town and have a very traditional family. I'm not sure if I was surprised at the time, but I do not remember being upset one bit. It didn't really matter to me who Katie was attracted to. Katie was still the same person. After Katie told me she told my parents. Katie was only 14 at the time and they did not understand how she knew she was gay. This was very tough for my parents and I know that they still have questions. It was a big secret for a long time. Katie started hanging out with the wrong crowd and went through some tough times. When I was in college Katie got involved in drugs and was in a bad place. She was self medicating to escape from her pain. My parents got her help. Although it took a long time for Katie to recover, she did and is here with us today because of my parents determination to get her help. At this point, Katie being gay was the least of every one's concerns. She was healthy and that was all that mattered. Katie was diagnosed as severely depressed and had to take medications to get through each day.
Before Dan and I got married Katie decided to move to California with her girlfriend. This was a life changing decision for them. They picked up and moved there and found that they were accepted by more people and loved it. After being in California Katie confided in me that she was taking the steps to become a male. This was not shocking to me and I told him that I would support him in whatever decision he came to I was just happy he was healthy. I'm not positive what all goes into the transformation, but I know it involves a lot of counseling and testerone shots. For once in Katie's life, living as Kade, he felt comfortable in his skin. He also got off all of his medication and felt normal. Coincidence? I don't think so.
When Kade came home for our wedding this was the first time our family and friends would see Kade as a male. I told him that he could be any part of my wedding that he wanted to be, I just wanted him there. When he arrived we went and bought him a shirt and tie to wear for the wedding. I'm sure it was pretty shocking to see Kade in a shirt and tie but no one said anything about his attire. He was the same person, just looked different. 
I had never known anyone to be transgendered or knew anyone who knew someone that was. It took years to change my thought process to think from she to he. When I would think about Kade I would have to correct my thoughts and not say Katie. I've read that some people feel as if the person died, but I didn't think of it that way at all. Kade is still the exact same person.So much of our world puts a label on people and to me Kade is just like everyone else.
 I tell Kade often that I will be his biggest advocate. I will defend him until the day I die and always be his biggest supporter. I do not care what gender he is. I don't care if he has purple skin or green hair, or tattoos all over him. It doesn't matter because he is still the same person. 
I realize that so many people have different views on this and I don't judge them for that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is mine. My belief is that people are born this way. My mom says that Katie would cry if she was put in dresses as a baby because she wasn't comfortable. When I hear people say that they "don't understand it" and I say that I don't want to understand it. I have no idea what it feels like to not want to be me. Everyone is entitled to be happy
My reason for writing this is to educate people and also to document my amazing, strong brother. I want to tell Charlotte one day Kade's story. I want her to love everyone equal and not judge and know that everyone is different. Life is short and it should be sweet. 
This is Kade's story. A big thank you to him for letting me share this portion of his life.


  1. What an amazing story. And you being able to tell it so well (and Kade tell it so well) will be a wonderful lesson for Charlotte.

  2. This is just beautiful. The love between siblings is an amazing thing. I am blessed to know it. I cried my way through this post...partly because unconditional love is a beautiful thing. But also because I knew Kade when he was Katie...and even though I knew about this previously, reading it through your eyes was so moving. And I am just so, so happy that he has the happiness he so fully deserves. Nothing but LOVE to you both. <3