When my wife and I got married last September, we opted not to have a traditional wedding party with female bridesmaids and male groomsmen. We try to buck traditional gender roles whenever we can. For the bridal party, Sebastian chose to have only one person in her party, the most important person in her life (besides me, of course!) - her mom. For me, I chose my younger sister Kendra as my Best Lady (the female equivalent of a Best Man). The rest of my party consisted of my friend Alicia, my brother Shane, and my older sister Nicole.
My sister, Kendra, wrote a Best Lady speech which I decided to share here with her permission. I edited it only slightly. The speech brought tears to my eyes during the reception and just now as I was reading it again. It’s a speech of hope and love and growth, especially for family members of trans people. Kendra and I have come a long way as siblings and I have more love for her now than I ever have.
“Growing up with Atticus was like growing up with my best friend," Kendra wrote. "We did everything together. I remember when Atticus started kindergarten and I was sadly left behind I would wait by the door everyday until he walked in and immediately announce, 'Let’s play Sister, Sister.' We would run up stairs, go to my parent’s room and pretend that we were older 'mature' sisters living in the same house. I loved every minute of it.
"As we got older, we developed new friendships and interests separate from each other, however, neither one of us left the other behind. We could always be seen together bonding over sports, books and movies - all of the good things in life. When Atticus started struggling with his identity I started to feel like I was losing my sister forever. How could we pretend to be older “mature” sisters without the one sister?
"I’ll always remember the day that I confessed my own struggles to him. It was a breakthrough for us both. Atticus told me that he will always be the same person emotionally and even though I won’t be able to call him my sister, I can say that I have gained another brother. Since then Atticus has done nothing but live up to those standards. He started to become a happier person. You could physically see that his internal struggles lifted and he became himself in a new and improved way. For me it honestly felt like I actually got my sister back just in an unexpected way.
"Now here we are, years later, celebrating this big moment in his life. His wedding day! I couldn’t be happier for him. To have found the person he wants to spend his life with is a wonderful gift. Sebastian has provided comfort, patience and understanding in a way nobody else could. As life will undoubtedly continue to throw curve balls and struggles I have no doubt that they will be able to support, comfort and lean on one another through all of the storms. I wish them nothing but the best as they strive to meet mutual goals, as they build a life together and as their love continues to grow for one another. I can now say that I have not only gained a brother but a new sister as well.”
Ranck is the Health Programs and Supportive Services Manager for Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown.