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Dad Called A ‘Bad Father’ For Allowing His Teen Son To Bring His Boyfriend To A Family Cookout

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Dealing with homophobic family members is a delicate balance, and it can be very difficult to know how to handle conflicts arising from loved ones’ bigotry.

A guy on Reddit found himself in this situation after some of his family members became angry that he allowed his gay teenage son to bring his boyfriend to a family barbecue.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by virnin67 on the site, wasn’t sure how he handled the drama, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

OP asked:

“AITA for letting my son bring his bf to the family cookout?”

He explained:

“I’m dad of 3 boys who are 17 ,14 , and 13. we live in a pretty conservative small town , conservative enough that me and wife and our 14 yr old still get shit for him being gender non confirming even though he’s straight.”

“Our oldest is gay and he came out to us when he was 14 and only immediate family and his close friends and of course bf knows because he’s a football player. We love all our kids and accept them how they are though.”

“Until yesterday 17 wasn’t out to his grandparents( my parents) and the the rest of our extended family. We normally have a family picnic every year this time where you can bring a plus one especially the teens who are introducing a new or a longtime S/O to our family.”

“Now my oldest has been dating his bf privately for 2 yrs now and he felt it was time for him to come out to the rest of our family. Before the picnic He first told his grandparents that he was bringing his bf. They looked really upset but didn’t say anything, and layer told me in private that I shouldn’t allow it.”

“Well I let him bring his bf anyways and as he was introducing him ,an argument started with his grandparents and some of his great Aunts/Uncles about me allowing him to be gay and bring a bf and how disrespectful and inappropriate it was especially for the younger kids.”

“I quickly told them they can leave if it was such an issue and was told that I’m a bad father which caused an even bigger argument that ended the picnic. my parents called later and said if I hadn’t let my oldest bring his bf in the first place none of that would have happened.. AITA?”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this scenario based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

As you might guess, they were firmly on OP’s side and had some choice words for his family members.

“When wondering if you’re an AH in a situation like this, ask yourself ‘who needed the most protection or support on this scenario?’ Clearly it was your son who just wanted to be able to introduce his bf to his family.”

“You did well, OP. Bigots don’t need your special care, your son does, and i’m so glad to hear that you were there to give it to him. If your family is still being bigoted, tell your kiddo he has a new queer Auntie in me. NTA, and thanks for being a good parent.”GeneralLei

“NTA. It’s not your fault your parents are bigots.”

“Good for you for letting your son thrive and be who he wants to be.”ChikyTendy

“my response to OP’s parents saying ‘..none of this would have happened..’ would have been ‘you’re right, it wouldn’t have if you lot weren’t bigots and could behave'”shambamalama

“OP, this is the moment your son is watching you. He is watching how you tackle homophobia. Do not cut corners. Stand up for him. He will need you.”gizzie123


“You have to stick to what you know is right and let them have their tantrum.”

“You son will still be gay and they will either cope or not cope.”

“Next picnic they will know the score and they can choose not to come it it bothers them so much…”

“…The kids know that there are gay people in the world and it’s not going to affect them unless they are gay – it may make it easier on them” —ghitit

“Yes, this! If they are gay, now they know Uncle Virnin will have their back. If not, they just saw an adult in the family challenge the idea they’re being raised with that being gay is bad and saw that their big cousin is gay and still a good guy, and they might become a bit more open minded.”Amblonyx

“If your son hadn’t brought his boyfriend, your family member’s homophobia could have stayed hidden. Now everyone knows how closed minded and bigoted they are to even thier own family. And your son knows you’ll always have his back. Good job. NTA”GlaxenFlux

“NTA you didn’t cause the scene, the homophobic idiots did. So sorry for your son, but at least he has a great immediate family and supportive parents”_SeleNyx_

“NTA. The real issue isn’t your ‘letting’ your son be gay(lol, that’s like saying my parents ‘let’ me be (cis) female and autistic… it has nothing to do with permission) or allowing him to bring his bf. If they weren’t homophobic in the first place, this never would have happened.”

“Good job standing up for your son and his bf!”Amblonyx

“NTA at all. Imagine how difficult it must be for your son to grow up in a community and extended family that does not accept him for who he is and who he loves. Your son will remember that, of all of his loved ones, you were the one who accepted him and showed support for his relationship by allowing him to bring his boyfriend.”

“I am sure he will appreciate your support and understanding, as well as your willingness to stand up for him in a bigoted environment.” –Dog_Love_5037

Hopefully OP’s family can learn to be a bit more tolerant and respectful in the future.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.