A pair of identical twins who transitioned from female to male within two years of each other have now opened up about their unbreakable bond.
Kasey and Shea Opilla, both 20-years-old, were born within minutes of each other and assigned as female. However, throughout their lives, the two of them struggled with gender dysphoria and felt as though they were stuck in the wrong bodies. They shared everything and had an almost-psychic bond.
However, it was Kasey who eventually came out as transgender first, and Shea took another two years to begin the process of transitioning.
The story of their identity crises began at age 11, when the two were due to go through sex education. Kasey and Shea, who hail from San Jose in California, USA, were dreading puberty; neither wanted to begin growing breasts and starting their periods. They didn't initially realize they were transgender, so both came out as gay in 2013. Despite being supported by their friends and family, this did nothing to ease their malaise.
Kasey and Shea had one-on-one therapy to discuss their gender issues, each ignorant of the other's struggles. After going through several years of counseling, as well as educating themselves about gender issues, they both concluded that they were transgender. Kasey came out in 2015, and Shea followed in 2017.
Commenting on their experiences in a recent interview, Kasey stated: "Throughout our journey, we have made sure we’re both there for all those big moments, like coming out to the rest of the family. That’s when you need comfort the most, and to have your whole self with you. As a twin, you’re never alone throughout your entire life – and we certainly weren’t going to let each other take on the hardest times alone."
He added: "When I first started taking hormones, I was still getting misgendered a lot and referred to as a female, which was very frustrating. At the time, as Shea wasn’t out, I didn’t know anybody else who was trans, so I did feel like I was going through it alone. My one regret is not reaching out to more people in the community then, as that would’ve helped – to talk to people who understood."
Meanwhile, Shea stated: "When Kasey came out, I remember thinking how incredibly brave he was – but there was also that hint of jealousy that he could be his true self, whereas I wasn’t quite ready. Because we’d always identified as ‘the twins,’ in the two years that Kasey was out as transgender and I wasn’t, it felt almost strange that we weren’t identical anymore."
He continued: "He’d been so depressed for so long, I was really happy he was finally out and able to be himself. I thought he was incredibly brave and wanted to support him, but knew I also had some thinking to do about how I was going to come out."
By sharing their story, the twins want to encourage other closeted trans people to discover themselves, and ask questions that might lead them to transition and live as the gender they feel most comfortable with.