Sunday 25 September 2016

Woman is reunited with her transgender sister after more than 50 years apart reducing Twitter to tears

Published 22/07/2016 | 12:52

Debbie pictured with Vanda after they were reunited. Photo Credit: ITV
Debbie pictured with Vanda after they were reunited. Photo Credit: ITV

Twitter was flush with emotion following an episode of ITV’s Long Lost Family, in which a British woman was reunited with her sibling after more than 50 years.

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Vanda James (57) was reunited with the baby brother she remembered from her childhood, who is now living as a woman named Debbie.

Vanda approached the ITV show, having discovered that her mother had given birth to a baby boy, Kenneth in 1964 and connected the information with her own memories from childhood.

Speaking on the show, she said: “I was excited to think I had discovered who the baby was…it was my brother.

“I knew it was taboo - it was mum’s secret which became my secret.”

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Kenneth was a subject that was never spoken about in Vanda’s home until the death of her mother in 1990. After she had died, a cousin told Vanda that Kenneth had been born following a short affair with a local man.

Fearing a scandal, Vanda’s mother gave the baby up for adoption.

After contacting the programme, Vanda set out on a quest to find her brother, who had been given the name John Best by his adoptive parents. However, she was surprised when a woman got in touch with her holding key information. John was now living as a woman, having started the process of becoming a woman ten years previously.

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The pair were reunited on the programme, which prompted an emotional response from the audience.

“When you forget you're catching up on #LongLostFamily in public on the commute to work & accidentally sniffle really loudly,” wrote Emma Collier.

“10 minutes in to #LongLostFamily and I'm in tears,” wrote Jennifer Mistry.

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