Family photos reveal history brother-in-law wants hidden

DEAR ABBY: I'm married to a wonderful man with a big family secret. His brother "John" used to be his sister "Joanne." This does not bother me in the least because I met John as a man, and I consider him a man 100 percent.

However, now that I am expecting, I have started putting photo albums and scrapbooks together. I want our future children to see pictures of my husband during his childhood &

right along with mine &

but his "sister" is in almost all of them.

I have no problems being open and honest with our children, but because my brother-in-law doesn't know that I "know," I want to be sensitive to his feelings and don't want to share these albums with friends and family without having an answer to the question, "Who is that little girl in the picture?"

This is something that no one in the family discusses, and I feel I'd be overstepping if I were to call another family member for advice. My husband doesn't know what to do, and I do not wish to strain a wonderful relationship with John, his wife and their adopted children by telling them that I know. How should I handle this?


DEAR ANONYMOUS: Please understand, if you don't already, that a transgendered person is someone who has been born in a body of the wrong sex. In other words, your brother-in-law was always a boy, but trapped in a female body.

My advice is to continue assembling the albums, and if anyone asks about the "little girl" in the pictures, to relax and tell the person, "That's Uncle John when he was young. He may have looked like a girl then, but it really was Uncle John." Then turn the page and change the subject.

DEAR ABBY: I am a single mom with three children. I recently found out that I am pregnant once again. My boyfriend &

I'll call him "Garth" &

had told me he'd had a vasectomy five or six years ago.

My problem is, I feel like Garth trapped me into this pregnancy and lied about being "fixed." My brother-in-law has asked him several times to come up with proof that he had a vasectomy, but Garth refuses. He says he "doesn't need to prove it."

Garth says he wants to marry me. However, I have strong reservations when it comes to starting a life as man and wife with someone I can't trust. I can't help but believe he did this on purpose. Is there any way for me to find out if he is telling me the truth? Garth has been wanting to be with me since high school, 20 years ago.


DEAR TRAPPED: Not all vasectomies are successful. If Garth is telling you the truth, he should have no objection to taking you to visit the doctor who performed the vasectomy and letting you see the medical record that proves it. If he refuses, well, then you will have to decide whether to carry the baby to term, to place it for adoption, or whether you want to raise the baby and be tied because of it to Garth for the rest of your life. Notice I used the word "tied" &

and not the word "married." The choice is yours.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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