Handling your trans siblings with care is important. They often face stigma and rejection from much of the world, so getting support at home is vital.
That being said, the rules of courtesy and of time don’t just go away in light of anybody’s identity. It’s tough to make all situations work.
Redditor DesignerAd9274 found herself in a tough situation when her trans sister asked her a difficult question.
She took to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback:
“AITA for not including trans sister in my wedding party?”
She began with acknowledging her sister’s role in her life.
“So this happened last year. I got engaged back in 2018, and chose my wedding party, 3 of my closest friends, and my fiancé chose his brother and 2 of his friends. Growing up, I was not close to my younger sister (then brother). There wasn’t any bad blood or anything, we just don’t have a lot in common and barely speak.”
And then she acknowledged her sister’s coming out process, as well as where the issue began.
“About 2 months before my wedding, my sister came out as a trans woman. I was happy for her that she’s finally living her true life. Shortly after, she approached me and asked to be one of my bridesmaids, saying that it would basically be a sort of milestone for her in her new life as a woman.”
Our Original Poster, or OP, was put in a difficult position because of the lack of resources available.
“I told her no, because we already had everything planned out and the wedding was just a few weeks away. I told her I fully supported her if she wanted to wear a dress to the wedding, but it would be hard to include her at that last minute. She said she understood and didn’t bring it up again.”
Then OP’s younger sister got really sad.
“She ended up not attending the wedding, despite RSVPing yes. My parents and I tried reaching out several times over last year to see if she was okay, but she kept telling us she was fine and that she needed to be alone.”
And then the truth came out.
“We finally talked recently and she told me she ‘boycotted’ my wedding because she knew the reason that I didn’t want her as a bridesmaid was that she looked very masculine still. That isn’t true at all. She insists that if I didn’t find the way she looked objectionable, I would have included her. AITA?”
Redditors weighed in by declaring OP was:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit seemed to be in agreement that, though the situation was precarious, OP was not at fault.
“NTA. People will always, always make someone else’s wedding about themselves. She should have spoken more with you about it instead of boycotting your wedding altogether.”~pennywhistlesmoonpie
“The thing is you don’t ask to be a part of the bridal party you are asked by the bride. And that close to the wedding it would be hard to add an extra person in and if OP paid for the dresses that’s another expense they didn’t budget for. Plus the hair and make up cost and the cost of the bachelorette party. It’s also so weird she boycotted and took it as OP being transphobic when they weren’t even close and therefore she wouldn’t have been asked anyway.”~silke_worm
“NTA. Whole wedding was planned and just a few weeks away. The day was about YOU and your now husband not about her reaching a milestone. (As harsh as that sounds its true, it wasnt about her)”~Bug_a_boo_Mama
“NTA- your wedding isn’t her coming out party. Like you said, you already chose your bridesmaids and your husband had his bridal party chosen. And it was just a few weeks before your wedding, NTA!”~byebyelovie
“NTA. Was fully prepared to say YTA if you’d had a problem with considering her a woman or letting her wear a dress to your wedding or smth, but yeah NTA. She would have a legitimate complaint if she’d asked you ages ago and you’d been evasive or rejected her for transphobic reasons, but that shortly before the wedding it’s obviously tough to include another person in the bridal party. Her insecurities are normal but it’s not fair to project them onto you.”~e-elegia
Reddit found very little reason to be sympathetic.
“NTA for a number of reasons:
- She was never in the bridal party to begin with.
- It’s your wedding day, emphasis on YOUR, which leads to 3…
- In the name of all that is holy, will people stop hijacking other people’s events for their own ‘look at me’ moment.”~10MinutesToRegister
“NTA. She wanted you to change your bridal party weeks before your wedding so SHE can achieve a milestone? It’s not about her. It’s your day. If she feels she needs a party to celebrate her transition (which is fine todo), she can throw herself a party and have a day about her. Not overtake your wedding so she can present her transition to the world. (and kudos to you for being accepting of her transition.)”~travellingdink
“When my (now) little sister came out as trans in the beginning everything was really difficult. Like every little thing was a battle and we were attacking them despite the fact that we supported her. I think it’s just a sensitive spot when you start out. Almost like she felt like she had to prove she’s who she is. Things are much better today and she’s the happiest she’s ever been. I hope that it’s just a rough start and things will get better.”~Queen_Bean031
“NAH. I think your sister is just really struggling right now, and taking much-needed time to sort things out. You didn’t owe her a place in your wedding, but please try to be empathetic with how self-conscious she probably is right now. Don’t take it personally.”~oliveyoda
But coming out as trans is hard and the rejection likely got compounded with some underlying fears and insecurities.
“NTA and this kind of reminds me of an AITA the other day where OPs gay friend was accusing him of homophobia because he (OP) didn’t approve of his friend proposing to his boyfriend, publicly, at a wedding, mere moments after the bride and groom were announced. His concern was about etiquette not sexuality, in the same way your sister seems to have made this about her gender when it doesn’t sound like you made it about that at all.”~upinthecrowsnest
“NAH, you are 100% not an a&&hole here. Your sister is making a harsh accusation but she is only doing so after being prodded about it for a year almost. She clearly wanted to work though her insecurity on her own and not cause waves. It’s better for her to be honest than lie so you both can work though this together finally.”
“When you first come out it’s easy to be woefully insecure. I noticed this even more so in the trans feminine people I know.”
“She was just figuring out who she is and starting from near scratch. Think back to high school/teen years. Every teenager is constantly worrying about what other people think of them, and assume others are judging them even when it’s not the case. This is because teenagers don’t have a fully developed sense of self, so others opinions becomes a big deal due to a lack of self-confidence in ones self.”
“We call transitioning second puberty for a reason. Not just the HRT changes our bodies & emotions. When you realise you’re transgender you also realise that big part of your life was not correct. That you more or less were faking things to fit in. So you can start wondering ‘what else about me is false?’ As well as learning that a lot of social norms and expectations for you was built around a gender you are not. So then you start trying to figure out what you can do and who your are without those pre-set guidelines to light the way forward so to speak. It does push you to re-define your sense of self.”
“Now add on top of that, transphobia actually exists. People have murdered other people for being part of your community more or less. Or have been kicked out of their homes etc. All things considered its not surprising that for some transgender people when freshly out of the closet can be hyper aware & sensitive of possible criticism and rejection from others. Even when none actually exists.”
“Like in your case. You were in no way transphobic or did the wrong thing. You told her the truth, gave her an explanation & had good reasoning in saying no, and gave her a opportunity to express and be herself at your wedding. I can’t think of a better way to have handled it. You did everything right here.”
“Your sister unfortunately has a brain pre-disposed to jumping to worst case scenarios right now due to a lack of self-confidence. She jumped to unfair but understandable false conclusions.”
“Talk to her, explain you missed seeing her at your wedding and maybe suggest a shopping trip or gift her some old feminine items of yours that you won’t use anymore. The conversation alone can be helpful if you focus on supporting her. That’s all she needs really support.”
“She will be able to see how ludicrous she was when she has more confidence that will grow in time.”~LeadingJudgment2
“NAH. I’m kinda leaning towards nta because boycotting your wedding without any notice was super rude but also I can empathize with how she might feel. Its hard to come out and sometimes I think we’re (lgbtq people) are so terrified that the people we love are going to reject us that we automatically assume everything’s a rejection. Its one of those things where I think you need to stand your ground about not taking any blame for her feelings while also still understanding them.”
“That being said, there’s literally no way you’re in the wrong. Planning a wedding is stressful and last minute changes are just not a thing that can happen”~r3allybadusername
“I can understand where your sister is coming from. Especially if you’re her only sister, this may have been her only chance to be a bridesmaid for a family member, and if that’s your scene then it’d really suck to miss out on that opportunity.”
“That being said, you’re NTA because your reasons weren’t based in prejudice: they were based on the reality of the situation, that being it was too late to add a bridesmaid. And she is TA for insisting otherwise.”~TheFireIsGuarded314
While it could be a difficult conversation with a lot of hurt feelings, OP needs to have a productive conversation with her sister in order for things to change.
We hope that she now has the tools with which to do so.