Growing up is full of challenges.
But for kids outside the cisgender or heteronormative majority, there are unique issues like self-acceptance, possible family rejection and being outed before they’re ready.
One Redditor faced all of those challenges in high school. After suffering through rejection and cruelty—but coming out the other side whole—years later she was confronted by a tormenter from her past.
The reunion was not a happy one.
Facing criticism for how she reacted, she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor sadgaythrowawaay asked:
“AITA for yelling at an old classmate in public when she came out to me as bisexual?”
“When I was in school, I wasn’t bullied but I had very few friends because I was struggling with my sexuality and lived in fear of someone finding out. I come from a very religious family and I knew there would be serious repercussions.”
“I got a little tipsy at a party and ended up kissing my best friend Leah, also a girl. Kara, a girl I didn’t know well at all, saw what happened and was immediately very weird about it.”
“She kept asking me if I was a lesbian and I tried to deflect it and asked her to keep it to herself.”
In a comment on her post, the Original Poster (OP) clarified she is bisexual with a preference for women.
“We had an ‘end of school yearbook’ come out about a month later. There were awards like ‘most likely to be prime minister’, ‘best couple’ etc which were presented in a school assembly where the winner would walk on a stage and get their award.”
“Eventually, the ‘best couple’ award was read out. It was Leah and me. We awkwardly went up and accepted the award and I was mortified when I saw everyone in the audience laughing and whispering with each other.”
“I know Kara outed me. She was the yearbook editor, and decided to avoid me for the rest of the year while constantly whispering with her friends when she saw Leah and I together.”
“She covered up in the changing room pointedly if I was around. People would come up to me and ask if I was a lesbian, saying Kara had told them.”
“Eventually Leah stopped talking to me too and I left school, deleted everyone except Leah and a few friends from Facebook and moved on.”
Then seven years later, the OP was confronted by Kara again.
This time the conversation went differently.
“Last week I was in a coffee shop when I had someone tap me on the shoulder. It was Kara and she sat down uninvited with me to gush about what’s happened to her over the past seven years.”
“I was going to nod and agree until she went away but she proudly told me, ‘I’ve just come out as bisexual. Ive been looking for more friends in the LGBT community so let me know if you want to go for a drink’.”
“At this point I lost my temper.”
“I raised my voice and told her, ‘How wonderful for you that you had the chance to come out instead of being exposed in public at the age of sixteen. I spent hours trying to make it look like a page from the yearbook wasn’t ripped out, hoping to god that my Catholic parents wouldn’t notice and ask me’.”
“You completely f’ked up my last few months of school, and landed me in therapy for anxiety. Go explore being ~bisexual~ around someone else’.”
“She snidely told me that she’d grown out of her homophobia, and hoped that one day I could do the same (??) and left. I got a few messages from old friends saying that it was out of order.”
“I get that she was likely struggling with her sexuality too, but in a way that makes it even more unforgivable to me that she’d expose me.”
Redditors were of one mind on whether the OP was the a**hole.
Every comment declared the OP was NTA: Not The A**hole.
“NTA. Nope. You don’t owe this woman your time.”
“It’s lovely for her that she’s come out and is comfortable with her sexuality, but that doesn’t erase the hurt she caused or entitle her to your forgiveness.” ~ NUTmeSHELL
“To add, internalized homophobia does not mean all is forgiven from those you tortured and put in danger just because you’ve accepted yourself.”
“She hasn’t changed because if she had that conversation would’ve been wrapped around an apology for being such a sh*tty person.” ~ StarlitSylveon
“NTA, and Kara had some major apologizing to do to you before expecting you to be happy for her coming to terms with her own sexuality.”
“Closeted people do tend to want to deflect attention onto others, and Kara’s situation would call for some sympathy if she had owned the rotten way she treated you before trying to use you to network in the LBGTQ+ community.” ~ SadderOlderWiser
People not only felt the OP was NTA, they thought her angry response to Kara was completely justified.
“GAH! NTA at all, and you dang well were NOT out of order!”
“The gall of that woman! At the VERY least, she should have opened with a profuse apology for what she put you through and THEN explain her own coming out and how she’s looking for LGBTQ+ friends.”
“(And she should have accepted it gracefully if you still didn’t want to pursue a friendship with her.)”
“Instead, she’s proven just the same bully she was when you were teenagers, even involving your old peers in her latest harassment campaign. What a horrible person she is.” ~ 3Fluffies
“She’s completely devoid of empathy. What do you expect?”
“She has no idea what OP went through and doesn’t care. If she did, she would have been begging for forgiveness instead of trying to pull some vapid Mean Girls crap.” ~ proassassin00
“NTA. You didn’t yell at her for being gay- you yelled at her for being a sh*tty selfish [piece of sh*t].” ~ kristen1988
“NTA, she didn’t open with or intend to include apologies for her behavior.”
“If she’s ‘grown out of’ her bigotry, internalized or otherwise, that’s great (for people who meet her now) but past damage doesn’t heal because people change, and her wanting to socially force you to bury it without acknowledgement or contrition and atonement, does nothing positive.”
“You’re not required to accept a lack of apology, I hope you’re in a safe and inclusive environment now.” ~ MxTeryG
“NTA. I’m glad you got the chance to say that to her face. She is probably playing victim to all her friends, completely ignoring how she did that to you.”
“Also I’m so sorry that happened to you. 🙁 sending love and encouragement your way my dear.” ~
The OP returned to thank her fellow Redditors for their support.
“Thanks for all the sweet comments. I’m okay now.”
She also provided an update on her current status with her high school best friend.
“For those of you asking, Leah and I aren’t in contact.”
But the friends the OP was still in contact with—who told her she was wrong about Kara—revised their opinions once they got the whole story.
“It turns out that the friends that Kara spoke to were given a wildly edited version of what really happened, and have since apologized.”
While it seems the OP is doing well, her current situation doesn’t erase the harm Kara caused. Redditors saw that clearly. Hopefully some day Kara will see that too.