Guest Post: An Open Letter to My Baby Brother
by Bryn Brody
You were about 9 when a boy older than you but younger than me bullied you at the bus stop. He made fun of you in the way that mean kids do. You were sweet back then. You came home in tears, terrified, asking for someone to wait with you until the bus came. Our parents were too busy but I understood about being 9, and scared, and alone, so I took your hand and walked you back to the bus stop. I put my body between yours and his. I don’t remember what I said, and I’m sure the adult-me would be horrified, but he left you alone after that.
When you told me, years ago, that I should “get over” sexual abuse and attempted rape by your father, I chalked it up to your youth. Because you’re my brother, I ignored the sting at knowing you expected the survivor to appease the pedophile. After all, your daughter was a new born, and you didn’t know everything you didn’t know.
Yesterday, I told you that the person you voted for has implemented policies that are likely to prevent my oldest child from accessing medical care, housing, employment and schooling. I told you of the pain I felt watching men in MAGA hats call my baby names, spout hateful, violent threats, and laugh as bodies like my baby’s genderqueer body are tortured, abused, and killed. And you told me that you don’t believe me. That you don’t believe those policies do what I’ve seen them do. That a few bad apples don’t make the politics wrong.
You called me broken, and hateful, and closed-minded.
I remember hearing those words before, sitting on a stranger’s couch where I had sought refuge after escaping the rape attempt. The police stood between your father and my 13-year-old body. And your father, always the salesman, shook his head in the way that patriarchs do. “She’s broken. She lies all the time. She’s full of hate.”
For the first time, I saw the adult you had become. You have a nice veneer, and you have a sweet way of saying things, but you’re no longer that scared little boy who needed an older sister to protect him from the bully. You have, in fact, become the bully.
I mourn the loss of you. I mourn the damage you will inflict as you move through the world, confident that what your leaders tell you is more real than what people you claim to love experience.
I will stand between my child and you, between all the wounded children and you, because that’s what family does. Family protects, and mamas, even when we’re broken, stand between bullies and children. And if, when your own baby girl grows up to be other than you think she is, or want her to be, and you call her broken, and hateful, and closed-minded, I will stand between you and her until she finds peace with those of us who believe her.
Bryn is working toward a Masters degree in Social Justice while moderating for Mormons Building Bridges and homeschooling during the pandemic.