The parents of gender or sexuality questioning teens should navigate uncharted dynamics with tact, openness and support.
But as a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit demonstrated, that is easier said than done.
The Original Poster (OP), known as ieatfoodst on the site, laid it out pretty clearly in the post’s title:
“AITA for asking my stepson if he was gay?”
It began when OP made a few observations.
“My stepson is 15yo, and has friend who he seemed really close with. I thought they were dating and told my wife I was just going to ask if they were…”
“…she said I couldn’t ask him that and not to force him to come out until he’s ready.”
But OP did not relent.
“I brought up again that I didn’t see the big deal in asking and then she started saying that two males can be platonically physical with each other…”
“…I agree, but that like that. And it also just how they were around/acted/treated each other”
Eventually, OP made a decision.
“So I asked him. He ‘uhh’d’ a lot and beat around the bush before finally saying yeah, that they were dating.”
“I told my wife that I was right and she got really upset that I asked him.”
Of course, word got back to OP’s wife.
“She said not only did I force him to come out when he wasn’t yet comfortable, but that I disobeyed her when it came to her child.”
“To me, it was just a question. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most people were straight up with OP.
They called them the a**hole in this situation.
“‘She said not only did I force him to come out when he wasn’t yet comfortable, but that I disobeyed her when it came to her child’.”
“All of that is true. You did both of those things. Yes, YTA. Coming out is a personal choice that someone should do when they’re ready, not when someone else puts them in an awkward and uncomfortable position.”
“So yeah, congratulations, your Gay-Dar is fully functional. Maybe see if you can get it upgraded to also warn you before you do something stupid and rude for no reason.” — PrettyFly4AYaoGuai
“YTA, you made him feel uncomfortable and that’s not cool. One of my son’s is bisexual and he still hasn’t told me. Frankly it’s not my business until he says so, as long as he’s comfortable so am I.” — Nobody-fool
“YTA. You crossed the line and defied boundaries his parent set. I hope you at least vocalized your support and approval?? You sound insensitive af but I hope you didn’t act that way to him.” — Jealous-Wallaby-23
“YTA- the fact he beat around the bush shows he WASNT ready to be telling you and that was after your wife (could be soon to be ex) told you not too. WHO CARES if he is gay, he sure wont be confiding in you any time soon.” — shadow-foxe
Many were puzzled by OP’s persistence.
“Do you feel all vindicated since you got to say ‘I told you so?’ It sounds like that is the only reason you discomforted and possibly traumatized your stepson. You need to sincerely apologize to both of them.”
“What made you think that you had the right to violate his privacy like that? YTA” — lotus_eater123
“So … you browbeat your stepson until he ‘finally’ came out, clearly reluctantly and before he was ready, all while going against the wishes of his mom? YTA. It’s weird that you pursued this so determinedly.” — dbthrowawayrowaway
“YTA and a few other things that will get me banned for pointing out. You were 100% out of line, regardless of what you FEEL you know. It’s none of your business whether you’re an advocate or not.”
“How can you be so entitled regarding another person’s sexuality that you have the right to not only know but force it out of them. Tf is wrong with you dude?” — Sheisty_Lawyer
“YTA definitely. Not only did his biological mother ask you NOT to do this, you also put your stepson in an awkward situation to appease your own curiosity. It’s not your business, if he wanted to you to know he would’ve made it your business.”
“I don’t understand why it was so important for you to know his sexual preference to begin with.” — Peach_Cain
Some spoke from experience.
“Urm can I ask you something… are you straight?”
“YTA. That heart wrenching feeling of being asked if you’re gay is horrible. For me it was like an outer body experience because I thought it was all over. Instead you could have shown your support for lgbt in other ways. Then maybe he might have come out to you.” — JordanZolanski6
“Gentle YTA. I’m a bisexual girl, my dad did the same to me when he figured out. He’s just a straightforward guy.”
“You didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable, you just wanted him to be able to be more open and you were straightforward about it.”
“But coming out is something someone needs to do on their own time, it’s not always straightforward and it’s more scary when you’re flat out asked like that.”
“I think you should sit down with him and apologize for asking and not letting him come to you on his own terms, but let him know that no matter what he’s accepted and loved in your house, and that he can always come to you with anything.”
“Also ask him if he’s doing okay and how he feels about how that information came out. If he feels bad or weird, ask him what he would like you to do or not do to help. My dad also did that for me and it did wonders to help the situation.” — Substantial_Camp_386
Hopefully these criticisms will help this recent incident stand as the beginning of OP’s thoughtful handling of their stepson.