Author Shirley Thom: "She's My Brother And I Miss Him"

Happy children friends hold hands in summertime

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In this honest, heartrending account by a loving sister, family secrets, social taboos, and self-acceptance all come into play.

From the age of four, Gene harbored a secret desire to wear his sister’s clothes—not the wardrobe he was expected to wear as a little boy. He wanted to be Shirleyanne’s sister—not her brother. Back then, negative social attitudes forced cross-dressers to hide their secret even from family. But when Gene’s parents made what was to them an embarrassing discovery, they kept their daughter Shirleyanne in the dark.

It took a serious illness 50 years later to bring out the truth and open emotional wounds that needed special perception, understanding, acceptance—and, finally, love to heal.

“My brother lived a long, lonely life before he ‘came out,’” says the author, “but he wanted his story told. I’m not sure I understand the complexities of cross-dressing, but I understand more than I did. I am sharing our story because I hope our personal journey will bring about a greater appreciation for the vastness and varieties of the human race. We are all a part of it, and we are worth the effort it will take for us humans to learn to live better together.”

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Listen to Lee Callahan's interview with Shirley here:

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