Woman Asks For Help After Catching Her Brother Wearing Her Clothes & Makeup — 'I Don't Want To Embarrass Him But That Stuff's Expensive!'

She wants to make sure he knows his queer identity is okay, but she doesn't know how to broach it.

Sister torn between setting boundaries with her personal items and still showing support for her trans brother PeopleImages, Jacob Lund, Greta Hoffman, KhongkitWiriyachan | Canva

Coming out is delicate business, and how family members handle their LGBTQ+ loved one sharing who they are can be a make-or-break scenario. But what happens when you know someone you love is queer but they haven't told you yet?

A woman on Reddit recently faced this situation with her brother, and the advice she got was priceless.

The woman is wondering how to talk to her queer brother after catching him wearing her clothes and makeup.

At least, she assumes he's queer — there are people interested in wearing clothes and makeup that don't accord with their gender, or crossdressing, who aren't queer. But this woman says her brother "has confided in me before that he's questioned his sexuality and gender," so presumably the two are linked in this case. And she's not sure how to handle the situation — especially given how damaging the wrong approach can sometimes be.


She can sense that her brother isn't exactly comfortable with his identity, whatever it may be. She writes that she "caught my brother in my room wearing some of my clothes and a full face of makeup," and aside from him doing it in secret, he also had "[makeup] wipes at the ready" in case someone discovered him.

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She wants to confront him about his queer identity, but she doesn't know how to do so without embarrassing him.

She wonders if she'd be wrong to confront him. Her issue isn't his identity itself — she's fine with that. She just would rather her not use her stuff. "I really dont want to embarrass him but if he does want to explore that side I would prefer he ask to borrow clothes and makeup, especially the makeup, that [stuff] is expensive lol."


She adds that it has nothing to do with him being male — it's "all the same I would ask of my sisters as well, when they want to use my stuff." And she wonders if it could even be a bonding opportunity for them. "Maybe i can take him shopping to get his own clothes and makeup if he would prefer that," she writes.

But her biggest concern is making sure she doesn't add anything to the load he's likely already carrying by keeping his identity a secret. "I want to make this whole thing less embarrassing as possible for him because I know he will get in his head about it," she writes. 

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Experts say her focus on supporting him is the most important thing.

Psychologist Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey boils the whole coming out situation down to one all-important thing: "complete unconditional love." So in that regard, this young woman is already firmly on the right track.


As Bisbey told us in 2017, "as uncomfortable as it might be... you have to remember that they are probably terrified of 'coming out' with this news to you.... The most important thing you can do is to continue extending your love to them and let them know that you’re not judging them."

But even while being supportive and loving, there are common pitfalls that can make LGBTQ+ people feel invalidated when coming out or discussing their identity — like telling them you already figured it out or giving your own opinions on who they are if they're still unsure.



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This woman's specific case is a bit more delicate, of course — not only has her brother already confided in her that he's questioning things, but she's also caught him experimenting with gender.

People on Reddit had some great suggestions. One suggested to just play it cool and simply let him know to just ask first if he wants to use her stuff and leave it at that. Others suggested gifting him a set of makeup with a note inside simply telling him she loves him.

advice for woman wondering how to talk to her queer brother after catching him dressing in her clothes and makeupPhoto: Reddit


They also gave good advice on what not to do. "Please, please don’t say that you accept his behavior," one user wrote. This implies an LGBTQ+ identity is some kind of bizarre aberration they have to be forgiven for — the opposite of a loving and helpful response. 

In the end, the woman has decided to do just that — and she's already had a field day buying and compiling all the supplies she plans to gift him.

As for a conversation, she's still ruminating on whether and how to approach that part. But her deep and unconditional love for her brother is obvious, so whatever she chooses, she'll probably knock it out of the park. 


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.