Jamie (23) and Chloe (20; formerly Daniel), came out as gay when they were in their teens. But, as they told Casters News, they both spent years struggling silently with their gender identities.
Finally, last summer, when Jamie was home from Dublin for Chloe’s graduation, Jamie came out to Chloe and their family as transgender. This was the tipping point for Chloe, too.
“It’s weird that we were both going through exactly the same thing and having the same thoughts about being trans but just not talking to each other,” Chloe told Casters.
“I always wore makeup and had longer hair. I’ve never really been considered one of the lads, I was always one of the girls.
“Then when Jamie came out and told us, I was like ‘right this is something you are going to have to face too’.”
Jamie came to her realization when, performing in drag shows, she acknowledged how comfortable she felt dressed up.
“It’s a cliché to say ‘I always knew,’ but I did and I just kept pushing it to the back of my mind,” she told Casters.
“I tried to ignore it but it got to the point where when the morning came round I didn’t want to take off the drag because it was a better representation of me than I was.”
A few months later, each sister was ready to come out to their friends and colleagues.
The story behind Chloe’s choice of name is especially sweet: when their mother was pregnant with her, doctors had initially said she was having a baby girl. Jamie, who was ecstatic over the idea of a sister, made their mother promise she would name the baby Chloe. Instead, it was Daniel.
Now, the O’Herlihy sisters are sharing their story with the aim of inspiring people to live true to who they are.
Jamie, who works as a bartender in Dublin, and Chloe, who is in school to be a hair stylist, will begin taking estrogen therapy soon, with the eventual goal being gender re-assignment surgery.
The news broke yesterday that their journeys will be followed by Dublin production company Straywave Media, who will be making a documentary about the O’Herlihys.
John Norton of Straywave told the Irish Sun, “They are beacons for transgender people because they know what it is like to come out.
“They know a lot of young people who are now where they were – too afraid to do something to change their lives for the better.”
They will also be each other’s constant sources of support throughout the transitioning process.
“We talk a lot about our transition and it is great to have each other,” Chloe told Casters. “We know exactly how each other feel. If I’m out and I get a funny look or comment and I’m feeling anxious I can call Jamie and she knows exactly what to say.”
At the same time, she noted that aspects of the transition have been slightly easier for her, since she’d often had long hair and worn feminine clothing throughout her teenage years, whereas Jamie did not.
“Jamie has always been the more confident one but at the moment her anxiety is through the roof because leaving the house as a woman is new and it is hard,” she said.
Still, they emphasized how great it feels to finally be themselves.
“Last summer I did a lot of thinking about where I want my life to go… I’m transgender. I’m a woman on the inside, unfortunately my outside doesn’t match,” Jamie said.
“I’ve been going through a really hard time trying to accept it and come to terms with it but I’ve been so unhappy for so long, and now that I’ve finally come out I feel so good.”