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Girl Asks If She's Wrong For Not Letting Her Trans Sister Borrow Her Clothes, But Letting Her Boyfriend Wear Her Sweatshirt

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Who here has fought with a sibling after they didn't ask but borrowed your clothes anyway?

Does that statement take on new weight if that sibling is transgender? Or are there still boundaries that are in place that can't be conflated with the request to borrow one's clothes?


Redditor ghhjjjh went on the popular subReddit "Am I The A**hole?" or "AITA" to get some answers and determine the boundaries of her own sensitivity.

"AITA for letting my boyfriend wear my sweatshirt after not letting my transgender sister wear my clothes?"

She began by outlining the inciting incident:

"So last month my 17 year old brother came out as transgender. He is male, but wishes to be referred to as a woman, which I will do throughout the rest of this post. She asked me if she could try on some of my clothes. I said no because it seemed a little weird to me having her wearing my clothes."

While our original poster (OP) thought the matter was over and done, it got more complicated once she let her boyfriend borrow her sweatshirt and then he shared a picture of it on social media.

"However I let my boyfriend wear my sweatshirt because he gets cold strangely easily and said he likes the smell of my perfume. I don't think the sweatshirt really has a smell after going through the wash and I don't wear much perfume but whatever makes him happy."
"Yesterday he made an Instagram post of him and his dog, and he was wearing my sweatshirt. My sister recognized it as my sweatshirt somehow(it's pretty generic, not sure how she knew) and texted me asking why I let him wear my clothes but not her."

This didn't seem like the same situation to the OP.

"I think there's a pretty big difference between a sweatshirt and my actual clothes, and I wouldn't be super comfortable with him wearing my clothes either."

And then things got kind of ugly.

"I explained this to her, and said if she really wants a sweatshirt from me she can have one. She continued being upset, and asked to wear my clothes again. I told her no again and then she blocked me."
"I called my parents and told them what happened, and then my sister today unblocked me and texted me saying I shouldn't have told our parents because now they're lecturing her about not bothering me. I don't see a problem with that, if she wants feminine clothes she can get her own."
"AITA?"

Redditors were asked to weigh in by declaring:

  • NTA - Not The A**hole
  • YTA - You're The A**hole
  • ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH - No A**holes Here

People were sensitive to both the OP and the sister's plight.

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"NTA There is a huge difference in letting someone borrow a sweatshirt and putting on someone else's clothes."~randommemesloth
"NTA. There is a HUGE difference between loaning a sweatshirt to someone I'm dating and allowing my sibling to borrow my clothes. Is your sister the same size you are? Side note, I loved stealing my boyfriend's hoodie any chance I got. It smelled like him and it felt like he was close even when he wasn't."~AmethysstFire
"NAH My sister takes my clothes all the time and it drives me nuts. That being said, it's just what sisters do. Being that you have a 'new' sister in a sense, she may not have feminine clothes of her own yet. I do think a little sympathy would be nice and at least letting her the on things to see style/size/fit. Or even giving her a few old things you don't wear anymore."
"Overall, this will be a change that takes some time to adjust to. Sister is probably on eggshells already which caused her to block you. Everyone should try to simmer all around."
"However, look inside yourself and be sure that the reason you're not lending clothes isn't rooted in transphobia. You will want to have a positive connection with your sister so make sure there's no resentment standing in your way! If so, consider personal or family therapy to help uncover the why and to help you accept your sister for who she is."~LikeAfterSummer
"NAH. I don't think it's unreasonable for you not to want to share clothes. I have a sister and it's pretty common for us to steal each other's clothes and get mad at each other over it. We also exchange clothes sometimes if we're going out or going on dates but it's not that common for us to willingly exchange clothes."
"To me, it's obvious this isn't just about clothes. Your sister is still dealing with acceptance and while yes, she could buy her own clothes, she's probably still going through the beginning stages of learning how to be a woman. I think you two need to have a talk about the underlying issues and possibly go clothes shopping together to solidify your support of her transition."~crescent-stars

Sharing clothes is a definite boundary among siblings.

But yes, our new sister is dealing with a lot of emotions, needs and wants that she is mostly unable to separate at this time.

Some work on communication needs to be done.

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"NTA My sister and I are extremely close but we don't share clothes. If you don't want to, you don't have to. I also agree with sharing a sweatshirt being different than pants or a top."~MoeMoe102
"NTA. I don't share clothes with my sister either. Maybe offer helping her pick out her own clothes? That way she can pick her own style and it's a way to support her."~Bambie-Rizzo
"Eh. NAH. For context, I'm a trans dude, my sister used to steal all my clothes all the time and I would steal mom's in return. it was annoying as all hell but harmless. When my style changed, she gravitated towards mom's wardrobe instead and left mine alone."
"You are N T A for wanting to have someone use your clothes and she was being a brat. But Your language makes me wonder if there's not more to your desire to have her, so to say, out of your closet. But this is not just about wearing her clothes, this is her trying to engage in a sisterly tradition of being clothes thieves to each other. She is being really bratty and annoying about this, for sure."
"But you two should be talking about the issues that you have with each other and find alternatives. Perhaps you can take her shopping? Perhaps she is trying to find her style and find what makes her comfortable? If you do not wish to engage with her gender transition, you have to tell her."~Joshuainlimbo
"NTA. As a woman who grew up with two sisters close in age, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT SHARE YOUR CLOTHES!"
"It was the result of SO MANY fights growing up. What item belonged to who and sneaking into rooms. Saying 'Oh, you said I could borrow it' when permission wasn't given. Another way we'd gaslight each other would be 'Oh, you gave this to me. It was in your hand me downs.'"
"Tell your sister that you don't want to share clothes because of the possible fights and disagreements that would arise. Your boyfriend could only really borrow hoodies or sweatpants, in theory, so you don't have to worry about it starting arguments. Top it off with an offer to go shopping with your sister so you can pick out some new clothes for her together."~elefantstampede

How can OP empower her sister's identity, while keeping her own personal identity?

Siblings may exchange outfits with their friends while still refusing to let their siblings raid their closet.

"NTA. My sister and I have completely different styles, tastes, and body shapes so we never share clothes. That said if you have any hand me downs you want to get rid of you could ask your sister if she wants them or take her shopping so she can get stuff for herself. That said it's not fair for her to demand you let her borrow your things and get mad when you say no. They're your clothes, not hers."~ShadowCast2550
"NTA: Even as a girl with two sisters we NEVER shared clothes. EVER. If my sisters asked me now it would be a solid no. So I completely understand on why you would not be cool sharing clothes. It might be a good idea to go shopping with your sister so she can pick her own clothes."~_A_Brit_Abroad_
"NTA, I let my husband wear my stuff if it fits, but I don't feel comfortable lending anyone clothes outside of that. The only way I would let my sister try on my clothes is if she was thinking about buying the same thing, was wanting to see how it looks but like for 5 minutes, or if I'm planning on giving it to her. I have the same boundaries with my friends."~lyons_lying
"NTA. It's way different from sharing just one piece of clothing with an significant other and another with opening up your wardrobe for you sibling. Your sister can get her own clothes that will fit her, in her own style."~novaspacecraft
"NAH, it's fine if you don't want to share, but your sister's behavior is also pretty understandable since she just came out. Maybe you could offer to go clothes shopping with her when the pandemic's over as a way of saying 'Hey, I support you, I just don't want you wearing my stuff.'"~bewarethelemurs

Overall, Redditors agree that there is a way to resolve this conflict and to help OP's sister find her own identity in the meanwhile.

*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*

The book Raising the Transgender Child: A Complete Guide for Parents, Families, and Caregivers is available here.