How do you relate to a sibling that decides to make one of the most substantial life changes a person can undergo, changing their sex?
Molly Haskell, noted New York film critic and acclaimed author, and cousin of Jacksonville business leader Preston Haskell, tackles the sensitive topic in her new book, My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation.
The transformation refers to the journey her brother Chevey began upon revealing to the family he had decided to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
"I was dumbfounded," said Haskell. "He had never shown even a trace of femininity. None of us in the family had any idea."
In the book, Haskell not only chronicles Chevey’s transition to a new identity as Ellen — through psychological work, drugs, surgery and more —but also, her own sometimes difficult journey to relating to her sibling in a new way.
For Haskell, it was an emotional process that involved shock, anger, even grief. Today, there's simply love and acceptance.
"I wrote the book because a need exists for family members of transgendered people," she said. "My hope is that there's more understanding and acceptance for everyone involved."
You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax.