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Family

'My identical twin sister is now a man'

Identical twins Brenda and Bonnie Bowers were born 7 minutes apart but as they grew older it became obvious there was one big difference.

The bond between twins is incredibly close and can often be the secret weapon in understanding human behaviour which is why the unusual story of once identical twin girls Brenda and Bonnie Bowers proves so fascinating.
The Secret Life Of Twins is a new TV documentary on the UK’s ITV aimed at giving an eye-opening account of what it's like to be one of a pair and the Bower twins, who grew up in America's mid-west, are two of the show’s most illuminating subjects.
Born Brenda and Bonnie Bowers the girls were born 7 minutes apart and like most twins they grew up with the same upbringing and shared everything.
"All our activities were together and people looked at us as a unit," reveals Brenda, who is seven minutes younger than her sibling. "We did have the same tastes. If I didn't like something, I'm positive Bonnie didn't like it either. I always knew where she stood, what she was thinking and feeling."
Born Brenda and Aiden Bowers for ITV's The Secret Life Of Twins. PHOTO: ITV.
But at about age 11, when Brenda began to take an interest boys, Bonnie started to notice girls and eventually came out as a lesbian before later making the choice to opt for gender reassignment, all of which left her twin stunned.
"I felt a big sense of betrayal after that,” 51-year-old Brenda told the ITV program. “I thought ‘We’re identical, we’re the same, and you’re messing with that. You’ve just flipped my world upside down, because this is all I’ve known, this is my identity.’”
While Brenda was shocked her support was unwavering and by 1998, after Bonnie became Aiden, Brenda said she was accepting of her new twin brother.
"We grabbed on for dear life, to go through this together,” said Brenda. “It made me hold on even more to the idea that we're twins. I can easily say it's just a name change. There's that core connection that can't be broken."
Aiden revealed that while his gender and sexuality might have challenged his bond with his sister, it was not a choice he made but one that was decided for him in the womb.
“I do think there is a genetic component,” he said. “Most transgender people I know felt like this from as early as they remember.”
“Who wants to be a transgender person? Who wants to actively take a step to live a very marginalised life and one that could be significantly loaded with hardship?”

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