School can be a tough place for all kids, especially kids who seem like they may be queer. And when kids start to be bullied at school for not fitting in, it can be incredibly difficult for teachers and parents alike to know how to handle things.
A father on Reddit, who goes by the name Dense-Position8159 on the site, found himself in this situation when his son’s teacher assumed he was being bullied because he’s gay. So, he went to the AITA subReddit for input.
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“AITA for going above my son’s teacher after she asked him if he was gay?”
“My son is 13 and is quirky. It’s very easy to confuse a 13yo boy who isn’t really into sports and more into Greek literature as being effeminate. He is also a late bloomer.”
“Given these circumstances in middle school, it’s very easy to be labeled as being gay. As his dad, I am pretty sure he will be straight. He has a few issues with some classmates that’s more related to personality conflicts.”
“Those same classmates are your average middle school a**holes who are a**holes to everyone. It doesn’t rise up to the standard of bullying. Long story short, my son’s teacher noticed this and wanted to discuss it with him.”
“My son said he didn’t care and his teacher went off about how people shouldn’t treat him because he’s different. My son was very confused and his teacher asked ‘well, you’re queer aren’t you?'”
“My son came home crying over it. And the comment was made within an earshot of another kid who laughed. Now that’s bullying.”
“I emailed the teacher who quickly turned it onto me saying that he was concerned that my son wasn’t getting the support at home ‘if’ he was ‘queer’ and was being bullied at school over it. I told him my son’s sexuality was none of his business. He apologized and asked to meet with me and my son personally to apologize in person.”
“I thought about it and decided an apology wasn’t enough. There needed to be accountability and this teacher needed to be taught a lesson himself. I went to the principal who was pretty livid after spending a few days looking into the matter. She wouldn’t say what the outcome was but the teacher was MIA and I heard he got suspended for a couple of days.”
“For people who are asking me how I know if my son is straight – it’s a moot point. The real point is that his sexuality is NONE of his teacher’s business.”
“Furthermore, if he thought my son was being bullied or harassed, then he should have gone to me instead of taking matters into his own hands. The teacher didn’t see my son getting beaten up or even called a name.”
“What he saw was my son being different than most of the other boys in his class and concluded that he must be ‘queer’ or ‘gay’ or whatever.”
Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation using the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Between the father’s seeming homophobia and the teacher’s presumptiousness, they felt both parties had royally screwed this up.
“The teacher sucks the most and what he did was incredibly inappropriate. He should have found a way to signal to all potential LGBTQIA+ questioning students that he was an ally without directly confronting your son.”
“When I taught, I made it very open and clear that I am supportive of the gay community and trans rights by simply asking the students for their pronouns and preferred names on their classroom surveys. Lo and behold, I had students coming out to me, sharing about their home issues, etc. It should always be the student who approaches the teacher to discuss these issues, never the other way around.”
“That said, I’m also giving you an AH rating, but a gentle one. You’ve stated that the classmates previous behavior doesn’t rise to the level of bullying, but it sounds like it did. You’ve also said that it’s easy to ‘confuse’ your son as gay, and that you’re pretty sure he ‘will be’ straight because you’re his father. What?”
“These comments suggest the tiniest hint of homophobia. He’s already gay or straight or bi or whatever, he’s just still figuring it out like every other kid his age. The comment about how it’s easy to confuse him as gay is pretty loaded with stereotypes and assumptions.”
“Gay people come in all kinds of forms. I know a lot of masc gay men who are into sports (one was a professional athlete). If you’re saying stuff like that around the house, he may feel like it wouldn’t be acceptable to come out to you, or he may convince himself that he is gay because he fits into the gay stereotype more than the straight one.”
“Also, if the teacher truly believed your son may not have the support he needs to come out, I would take a moment to reflect on why the teacher felt that way. Their actions were inappropriate, but it’s quite possible that your son has made some statements alluding to a fear of being gay, or had some other reaction that concerned the teacher.”
“I don’t think you’re a monster and it seems clear to me that you love your son. But I would consider that his reaction to his teacher might warrant a conversation where you let him know that he will always be supported in your home no matter who he loves…” —Masta-Blasta
“ESH because you’re “pretty sure” about your son’s sexuality, rather than being open to whatever your son might tell you in the future.” —Botanical_Bitch42069
“Mentioning a student’s sexuality (or perceived sexuality) is a completely inappropriate thing for a teacher to do. To do so when you think the kid might be getting bullied IN FRONT OF OTHER STUDENTS is downright unacceptable.”
“Edit: After seeing OP’s other responses he’s also homophobic, so I’m changing to ESH. Seems like his issue isn’t that the teacher opened his kid to more harassment but that they insinuated the kid is gay.” —annedroiid
Hopefully this father can get over his discomfort and accept his son exactly as he is.
And the teacher can learn to be a bit more tactful about situations like this in the future.