I’m transgender, and I’m having a gender-confirming surgery right before Christmas. I’m out to my mom, who’s wonderfully supportive, and brother, who’s wildly bewildered. Everyone else either doesn’t know or is unsupportive. My mom and I decided to say I was having a totally different surgery as the reason why I won’t be at family holiday events (COVID and other refusals don’t budge them from asking). The problem is that the extended family are now panicked about this made-up surgery and want to be involved, and I feel bad lying to my brother. He’s the one other person who might be on my side in a meaningful way. How can I push away the extended family without digging a deeper hole or giving them the real story? How can I bring my brother closer, without overwhelming him?
—Going Further in the Closet