My Sister, My Hero


This is my sister Allyson, and it’s her BIRTHDAY!

Everyone has a hero in the family.  Mine is my sister.  She’s my hero for a million reasons, but first and foremost she’s my hero because there is no one on the earth that’s close to me that has ever embarked on the journey that my sister has made.

Let me tell you a bit about her.  As children, we were precocious, loud and insistent.  And that woman is still the loudest, most precocious and insistent creature I know (other than my mother).  She’s suave, whip-smart, capable, fun and knows how to frolic with the best of them.

That’s no big surprise.  She’s 5 feet 13 inches tall, buxom and beautiful.  She’s in your face and twice as big as life, and that’s just for starters.

I have five sisters, and each of them have their own way with navigating the world.  But Allyson is different from all the others on so many levels; she’s had a lot of experience in life that my other sisters never had and quite frankly could never have.  That’s because my sister is transsexual.

It’s no big news to my family.  This transformation has been going on for some time, so I guess it’s all right to talk about it here.  I’m sure my sister won’t mind.  You see, Allyson is the first person that I loved and was close to me that had the guts and the good sense to finally stop living in the shadows and come out as transsexual.  And forgive the pun but boy, did she ever!

You must believe me when I tell you that watching the process of this incredible transformation from my brother Ray into my sister Allyson has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life.  What my sister had to overcome to be herself is an astounding story.  And that story is why I say that Allyson is my hero.

All heroes have a journey they must make.  They must travel far to find the answers they seek, for example, and Allyson is no different in this regard; from the personal choices to the surgeries to the acceptance of herself, my dear Allyson has taken a journey of momentous proportion.  I watched much of this journey unfold and come to fruition before my very eyes.

And anyone that thinks this journey is some ‘sissy’ sort of thing, you’d better think again — I’ve seen how difficult and painful that transition was, and how joyous and meaningful it came to be.

My sister may be many things, but all those things are beautiful, and honey, she ain’t no sissy.

She’s a woman through and through.

I have always been proud and somewhat in awe when it comes to Allyson.  Three kids, an Army veteran, a dedicated professional, snappy dresser and swigger of pickle juice.  She’ll eat an onion like other people eat apples.  She has a dedication that few others can match and when it comes to the people who love her, she’ll do her very best to love them all.

Most of all she has a grounding and a sense of reality that’s particularly amazing considering what realities she’s had to inhabit.  And she shines not in spite of her life but because of it, and that’s a story worth telling, but there’s not enough time here.

She loves science, music, is a wonderful pianist and can sang her some good soul with the best of them.  She’s got a sense of rightness that few people have and more than that, she has a great and good soul, not to mention the biggest personality this side of the Pecos.

To say I love her isn’t enough, really.  I loved Ray before he left our lives, shed his skin and became Allyson.  I have never met anyone like my dear Allyson.  And she’s my hero because that girl has super-powers with the best of them: she can fly to help a friend in need in her BMW; she’s incredibly strong when she needs to be strong for herself and others and believe you me, she’s got x-ray vision, especially when there’s a jewelry sale.

Okay, all right, I kid.  But really, why is she my hero?

She’s the most real, true and decent soul I know, that’s why.  She’s shown me time and again that no matter the hill she has to climb, she can do it in heels or in anything else she chooses to wear.  And if that’s not reason enough, then how about this: she loves me right back.  That’s more than I could ever expect.

And that’s why my sister Allyson is my hero.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful sister.  No cake for you, though.  A moment on the lips . . .  


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