A question that parents need to ask themselves is what they owe to other parents. Obviously, you should keep another parent’s child safe, as you would want them to keep yours safe, but where is the line drawn?
Redditor Dismal-Awareness9456 asks that after another dad got upset with him. The original poster (OP) tried to respect his coworker’s son’s wishes, but didn’t consider how his coworker would react.
OP is wondering if he was wrong for what he did, and took his situation to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
There he asked the question:
“AITA for not telling my coworker that his son is gay?”
OP got in this situation on accident:
“I’m a single dad with two boys Sam(15M[ale]) and José (12M). I moved to this town for work when the boys were 10 and 7.”
“Both boys quickly made friends with my coworkers son Byron(16M) that also lives in the same neighborhood. Sam and Byron got especially close after they started highschool and joined the football team together.”
“I accidentally found out Sam and Byron are gay and together when I came home from work early 2 months ago and José was inside watching TV alone. I asked where the other boys were at and he told me out back on the porch swing studying plays.”
“I went out back to check on them and caught them cuddling with each other. Both boys freaked out and Byron begged me not to tell his dad who’s not a very progressive guy.”
“I told both boys it was fine, but that Byron couldn’t come over like that anymore unless I’m home from now on.”
“Fast forward to Saturday and Sam was hanging out at Byron’s house, I get a call that afternoon from Byron’s dad screaming about how he caught the boys kissing in Byron’s room. I rushed over to pick up Sam and tried to calm Byron’s dad down and tell him it’s OK and that the boys weren’t doing anything wrong.”
“He figured out I already knew by how calm I was about it and I didn’t deny it. He’s yelling about how I should have told him that they were together and that Byron was ‘that way’ and he could have ‘handled it’.”
“I get him to calm down some and me and Sam leave. Today at work he confronts me about it and tells me it was inappropriate for me to be keeping secrets with his son away from him and that I should tell him everything from now on. AITA here?”
OP didn’t think about how his coworker would react in this situation. At the same time, he tried to respect Byron’s situation.
Whether or not this made OP wrong was determined by Redditors including one of the following in their comments:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP handled his own son’s unintentional outing as best he could. He made his choice based on the information.
It wasn’t his place to out Byron. If the boy had felt comfortable, he could tell his dad himself.
OP didn’t have to tell his coworker anything Byron wasn’t ready for.
“NTA. Byron wasn’t in any danger that could only be resolved by outing him, so there was zero reason for you to tell his father. In fact, it seems like he’s in more danger being out given how his dad reacted.” – 0biterdicta
“NTA, you really should not tell anyone that someone else is gay if they are not open about it yet, they may not feel comfortable or safe and may worry about something like this happening when the parent reacts in that way.” – liiyah
“Exactly. Coming from a gay guy himself, I would be mortified if someone told my parents I’m gay without me telling them first.”
“I’m still not out to them, and I don’t know if I ever will be. But if I do come out, I want it to be on my terms.” – Yenserl6099
However, there are reasons OP was wrong. While it might seem understandable to some that OP put a limit on the boys hanging out at their house unsupervised, it was this very limitation that led to them getting caught and outed.
Byron was afraid of his dad finding out, and with seemingly good reason.
Commenters agreed that OP should protect Byron if he can.
“NTA, It is not your place to out another person, in almost any circumstance. It is an important moment in a persons life.”
“Now, add in the fact that this child specifically asked you not to reveal this to his father and its really not your place. You were made aware that this isnt something this person feels they can share with their father, and it wasnt going to harm anyone by just keeping this to yourself, therefore, you did the right thing.”
“If you can, Please check on Byron. His father does not appear to be someone who would be supportive of his gay son and now his son may be in danger. He needs to know there are adults that still support and care for him should this go south. “
“If you can, you may want to look out for that.” – AcceptableHome3
“but that ‘handled it’ comment really really has me concerned, keep an eye out for the kid to make sure his dad does not go abusive, or have other people keep an eye out” – Nalpona_Freesun
“It’s not your place to tell his dad that his son is gay. Obviously the way that Byron’s dad found out is less than ideal, but regardless, it wouldn’t be your place.”
“Good on you for protecting Byron’s secret. I wish I could have a dad like you.” – Yenserl6099
“NTA, it’s none of the dad’s business.”
“As a side note, I think it’s pretty silly that your reaction to their being together was to disallow them from spending time alone together. They’re going to find somewhere for intimate activities, may as well be in a safe place.” – Esosorum
“Yes. I’m sorry if I sound hard but OP is a bit at fault for Byron’s dad discovering their relationship and the consecuences seem to be on their way (Byron’s dad beating him, not allowing them to see again, moving away, sending Byron to some kind of disciplinary camp/conversion therapy, outing them both to the area…).”
“I think a bit of teenagers being touchy under OP house was worth avoiding the possibly very bad stuff that will come. At minimum for Byron, but OP son cares about him so it will be hard for the son too.”
“If not people coming for OP son, bc the bf’s dad might start harassing him or making him a target for the bullies.” – KaiBifidus
The effect of all this remains to be seen. OP didn’t out the boy, but by limiting where they could be together, he did put them in this situation.
The best thing OP can do is try to keep aware of how Byron’s father treats him going forward and protect the boy if he can.