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

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

Patricia Murphy

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.

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.