(Washington Post) Thomas and Nyr Medina-Castrejon are best friends, brother and sister. They share many things — an interest in computers, a penchant for languages, a fondness for animals — but only one makes them an “anomaly.”
Seventeen-year-old Thomas and 13-year-old Nyr are both transgender.
The siblings’ story was told in detail Friday in the Philadelphia Inquirer, their hometown paper. A profile chronicled how Thomas and Nyr each came out about their gender identities at different points in their childhood and how their parents reacted.
According to Norman Spack, a specialist in pediatric endocrinology speaking to the Inquirer, a case like theirs is extremely rare. While numbers on the prevalence of transgender individuals in the United States are far from definitive, the most-cited statistic comes from UCLA demographer Gary Gates, who estimated in 2011 that 0.3 percent of American adults (about 700,000 people) are transgender.
“There were days when I was 6 or 7 where I would have what I called ‘boy days,’” Thomas told the Inquirer. “I felt stronger, more robust on those days. I played with other girls, but I knew I wasn’t like them. I hated shopping and I didn’t like princesses or dolls. I felt isolated.”
He was 14 when he saw a video on transgender people that resonated with him. “For a long time,” he said, “I had pretended to be a boy. I just didn’t know I was one.”
While Nyr had always sensed that she was a girl, she also said it “clicked” for her after watching a video with a transgender character.
The siblings’ mother, Emma Medina-Castrejon, wasn’t surprised to learn that Thomas is transgender, but she wondered at first whether Nyr was “just going through a phase.”
“When she first told me, I thought it was just a game, maybe that she was following her brother,” Medina-Castrejon told the Inquirer. “I didn’t want to believe it because it was so scary. You hear about how much rejection there is out in the world. You hear about so many being murdered. That’s not what you want for your child.”