I can’t post the link because it is under her real name and includes photos of Jeremy, including his face, but simply had to share it for her words. It brought me to happy tears…
The Difference a Year Makes
My “little” brother (he’s 6’2, so I don’t think I can quite call him little anymore) just turned 17 in June. And man, is it amazing the difference a year can make in a person.
This is my brother on his 16th birthday: [pretend there's a picture of Jeremy with his Minecraft cake]
And this is my brother on his 17th birthday: [pretend there's a picture of Jeremy lighting his flower candle]
Let me start out by saying that my brother gets a lot of crap from family members, he’s autistic and nobody bothered to look into that when he was diagnosed, they just like to give him shit and tell my mother what she’s been “doing wrong”. My mother is one of the strongest people I know, and I admire her way more than I would ever actually say out loud, she didn’t do anything wrong in raising us.
My mother raised a smart, talented, outgoing, courageous, young gentleman who stands up for what he believes in.
Lately what he believes in has been getting him bullied. At school, by strangers and worst of all; by family.
He believes that if he likes purple, he can wear it. If he likes long hair, he can have it. If he likes his hair dyed pink, blue, purple, ect, he can do that. If he likes sparkly things, he can own them.
My mother and I support that 200%.
He’s not hurting anyone in doing so, he’s not stealing hair dye from stores because he has the right to purple hair. He’s saving his money (or getting it as a treat from my mom), purchasing the dye, and then minding his own business while he lives his life with purple hair.
Society is telling him he’s wrong. Family is telling him he’s wrong.
My brother has done a complete 180 from what he was like a year ago. He used to go outside and bike around for hours, he’d go and goof off with his friends, he used to know almost everyone in the neighbourhood. Now? Now he doesn’t leave the house without my mother, I haven’t seen him with another kid in months. My outgoing brother doesn’t leave the house anymore. Why? Because he’s scared.
He gets people screaming names at him from their cars, my boyfriend almost punched a guy out in the grocery store one day because a grown ass man with a child was making fun of my brother’s hair.
I listen to my family yell at Jeremy, and usually it’s not for valid reasons.
“You’re a boy; cut your hair”
“You’re a boy; cut your nails”
“You’re a boy; it’s not the same when you dye your hair purple as it was when your sister did it”
What are they saying when they say this?
“You’re a boy; and this is what we think you should like.”
“You’re a boy; and you can’t be who you are because of that”
I listen to them make out like my brother is a piece of shit who they’re disappointed in. [pretend there's a photo of Jeremy with bright purple hair, flipping his little cousin on the trampoline]
Yes, my brother is a huge disappointment. Look at how much fun he and our 8 year old cousin are having.
What a disappointment, he doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, steal, or even really lie.
What a disappointment, he gets good grades.
What a disappointment, he wants to be himself.
Lately though, he’s been showing a lot more female than male traits. My mom and I don’t know if he’s trans identifying as female, or trans identifying as gender neutral. We don’t even know if he knows, all we know right now is that he’s identifying as gender-nonconforming (he doesn’t quite fit in with either gender).
My mother’s birthday is on Monday, and we’re having a big family dinner.
Jeremy’s taken to shaping his nails, polishing them and painting them beige. He wants my mom to do his hair for him, he likes braids.
My family is not going to approve. My nana has already told my mom that if people are going to act “weird” they’ll be treated like that. If he doesn’t want to follow the rules set by society, people are going to talk about it. And that how you look on the outside isn’t who you are on the inside; so he should dress like a typical 17 year old boy and not be himself.
Here’s a question: if who you are on the outside isn’t who you are on the inside; why can’t my brother dress how he wants?
This is my brother who loves Doctor Who, Minecraft, taking apart and rebuilding electronics, purple, red, and sparkly things.
This is my brother who I promised to teach how to fishtail his hair.
This is my brother who has been bullied his whole life for being autistic.
This is my brother who doesn’t leave the house alone anymore because he’s scared.
This is my brother who doesn’t deserve to be bullied by family as well as strangers.
This is my brother who deserves so much more than what they are giving him.
This is my brother who I support 200%.
This is my brother who I hope walks out of the room with both his middle fingers in the air screaming “fuck you, I’m awesome” the second someone opens their uneducated mouth.
This is my brother who I love unconditionally.
This is my brother who has nothing wrong with him.