A lot of progress has been made around the world when it comes to acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.
But sadly, homophobia still runs rampant all over the world.
And while in some places, a gay couple or individual might encounter a person making bigoted remarks at them, in other places simply being gay could land you in jail, or worse.
The stepmother of Redditor Opening_Patience4049 came from such a country.
So when she announced that she wanted to visit them over the Christmas holidays, the original poster (OP) was less than inclined to tag along, fearing for their safety.
Wondering if he was being insensitive to his stepmother and her family, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for refusing to go to my step mom’s home country for holiday as a gay person? They don’t have the best LGBT rights record.”
The OP explained how they were scared to travel to the home country of their step-mother owing to their having a less than encouraging record when it came to LGBTQIA+ tolerance.
“I’m 16 and openly gay.”
“My step mom herself is cool and I like her, but she is from a country known for their poor treatment of LGBT individuals.”
“I won’t name the country to avoid controversy, just that if you go to read those articles that say ‘worst X countries for LGBT rights’, her country is always there.”
“Of course, this isn’t my step mom’s problem or responsibility, she is cool and not at all homophobic.”
“She wants us to visit her country and her family for Christmas for two weeks.”
“When she brought up the idea I told her that I’m not comfortable coming but I’m also not saying they shouldn’t go, we’ll just need to plan something different for me like staying with my uncle or grandparents which I’m happy to do.”
“She suggested that I’m overreacting and I’ll be safe there as there are lots of gay people living there.”
“I’m sure it’s true, but I don’t understand the language, the norms and don’t know how to keep myself safe so it’s better to not risk it.”
“She has since been offended that I don’t want to visit and meet her family and says she’s disappointed in me that I won’t do it for her and she says she’s sure I will have a great time there.”
“But in reality even if nothing happens I will always fear of what could happen so it will be stressful.”
“She also says her family would be hurt as well if I don’t go, they’ll perceive it as me not considering them worthy to visit them, which is obviously not the case, and she’ll be embarrassed.”
“Anyway, my dad says he agrees that I shouldn’t go if I don’t want to, but also tells me that he understands why step mom feels hurt by this and has taken it personally.”
“So I’m wondering if I may be the asshole for selfishly only thinking about myself without giving much thought about how it makes my step mom feel and the appearance that it gives to her family?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for feeling hesitant about going to their step-mother’s homophobic home country.
Everyone agreed that the OP was right to be in fear for their safety, and shouldn’t have to spend the holidays somewhere where they always had to be on their guard, and felt their stepmother should be more understanding of this.
“She is prioritizing her extended family’s judgement ahead of your safety.”
“You are in no way an a**hole for prioritizing your own safety.”- LilaLaLina
“There’s a few countries that fit this description that I’d be cautious in even as a straight woman.”
“And at the end of the day, it’s your safety and comfort and your decision.”- polar810
“This is a safety concern for you and she needs to respect that.”
“I’m not sure what country it is, but there are some where you can be punished, and possibly murdered, for being gay.”
“That’s not a risk you need to take.”
“Not when they can clock something about you.”
“And if it’s not that you don’t know what locals could do.”
“You shouldn’t have to go.”
“Like I get why she’s sad that you won’t be there, but she should care about you enough to not guilt you or force you into going.”
“Your safety matters.”
“You shouldn’t have to hide who you are and walk on eggshells while on vacation.”- graphicn
“Your safety comes first.”
“If you aren’t comfortable with going, don’t go.”- IKnowFewThings
“I’m queer and stuck in a very non-supportive country, and I can understand your fear bud.”
“Your concerned for your safety, she should understand that you’re uncomfy because of the safety issues.”- commitminecraftarson
“If I were you, I’d be very wary of going to a country where LGBTQ+ people are not protected by the law or the police.”
“If you were to become a victim of crime, they may not take it seriously.”- never_ending_circles
“You’re dad needs to sit your step mother down and explain that this is a scary ask.”
“While she as a straight person may think nothing will happen she can’t guarantee that.”
“And that alone is enough reason to not risk it.”- Lonelycrowe
“It’s not worth the risk. If her family wants to meet you so badly, they can visit you.”
“Unless they don’t think you’re worthy enough to visit.”- OMGIneedanap
“Always look after yourself and your health.”
“F anyone who’s unsympathetic about it.”- Stuffandmorestuffff
“I wouldn’t go if i were you, just out of self preservation.”
“I don’t know which country, but stonings still happen in some parts of the world over this.”-DrMindbendersMonocle
“It’s not a mild discomfort you’re facing, it’s your literal health and safety.”
“Perhaps she’s blinded to the realities of how some places treat LGBT people, or maybe she’s thinking that it wouldn’t happen to you specifically, but she’s not really getting how serious it could be.”- ManicInnkeeper
“You: ‘I’ll be afraid for my life if I go’.”
“Her: ‘I’ll be embarrassed if you don’t go’.”
“These two situations are not equal.”
“It is honestly very rude of her and of your father to put her feelings on the same level as yours in this matter.”
“You are NTA.”- PhotonBath
“Would her family still be as accommodating when they find you you are gay?”
“As there will probably be the questions about girls as your 16 and would you then be expected to lie to her family and pretend to be straight?”- ShaneVis
“I would do anything, as a mother, to keep my child out of those countries.”
“One wrong word or action could be disastrous!”
“You keep your fabulous rear end on home soil.”
“You can FaceTime her family from your uncle’s house.”-TheQuietType84
“You are trying to make sure of your safety and you told her this.”
“I’m assuming she’s not LGBT as well?”
“Which means she’s not going to have an accurate understanding of the situation for you too.”
“It’s going to be upsetting for her to not see you, but her callous brushing off of your concerns is nerve-wracking not to mention putting words in your mouth about not wanting to see family.”
“She’s making this all about her.”-MightbeabitMagic
“I love traveling and plan to do so with my future children.”
“If one of them would come out as a member of the LGBT community, I would never take them in a country where being who they are puts them at risk.”
“If they wish to visit such a country, they will have the opportunity to do so when they turn 18.”
“However, I would be anxious the whole time.”- juicystar1908
“It is unsafe for you to go.”
“Your step-mom should understand that.”- hillendan1983
“That said, I’ve definitely challenged myself to go to countries and states that were queer hostile and found pockets of community that made me glad I did.”
“If you think this could be that for you, I’d recommend trying to seek out and connect to local gay folks on social media, (Facebook? Reddit? Twitter? Mastodon?), and getting a sense of what the risks actually are / building some support on the ground outside of your family.’
‘It might turn out there are people who would have your back and the risks are less severe than they seem from a distance.”
“Just make sure if you go it’s because it’s what you want and you actually feel comfortable going.”-QueenYeen
The holiday season is a time for everyone to put their stress and worries aside, and spend time with your loved ones.
But even if they would be with their loved ones, the OP wouldn’t be able to put all their fears and worries aside, if he knew his safety was constantly at risk.
Here’s hoping their stepmother comes to realize this, and everyone has a very happy holiday season.