Clothing choice is personal.
For some it represents their expression of who they are or how they view themselves. When in a non-traditional relationship, a world where not everyone is accepting can be hard.
However, a line gets crossed when one party in a relationship dictates the other’s self expression.
One Redditor who goes by socialanxietyaita, found themselves in such a situation turning to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some objective thoughts on the situation.
”AITA for getting my boyfriend’s mom to tell him to stop crossdressing in public?”
The Original Poster (OP) went into further detail about their boyfriend and situation:
“I (23M) have social anxiety. It’s hard for me to go out in public at all because I always feel like people are staring at me.”
“My boyfriend (22M) has been a big supporter of mine and has helped me get to a point where I don’t do that as much, but I’m still not perfect.”
”I won’t talk if it’s quiet and there are people nearby. Our area is pretty conservative, I don’t really feel comfortable being in a gay relationship in public, so we also can’t hold hands/do any kind of PDA. My boyfriend collects vintage clothes.”
”He buys women’s and men’s, but the kind of men’s he likes are hard to find and usually pretty expensive. This quarantine, he decided to get some use out of the women’s clothes and started wearing them around the house. This wasn’t a problem for me.”
“The problem is, he won’t change when we go on walks. Sometimes, I think he can pass as a girl, but sometimes he’ll go out in a full men’s outfit except a poodle skirt with obviously hairy legs underneath.”
“He’s only been harassed about it once so far, but that one time I had a panic attack and got lost, meaning I couldn’t even help him.”
“I’ve stopped going out with him on days he’s wearing traditional women’s clothes (although there aren’t many). I don’t even like him going out alone like that, knowing he can get harassed.”
“When I tell him about how I feel, says he thinks it’s not a big deal and it’s ‘his life’.”
“Anyway, I was talking to his mom and I mentioned it to her, and she called him to know if he’s trans (he’s not) and then started begging him not to do it because she’s worried about him getting harassed again.”
“Now that he’s faced with giving his mom a heart attack, he’s stopped, but he’s upset at me for getting his mom involved.”
”I honestly was just telling her I was worried because I think about it all the time. I didn’t think she would actually do anything.”
The OP made a couple of edits saying:
“I can’t change it in the title, but I changed crossdressing to ‘wearing traditional women’s clothes’ in the post. Sorry if I offended anybody, I didn’t know it was an offensive term.”
Redditors were asked what they thought by deciding:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
In this instance Redditors reached a quickly OP, YTA for trying to manipulate his boyfriend’s self expression.
“YTA, he has the right to dress however he likes and your anxiety shouldn’t dictate his behavior. You were absolutely TA for getting his mom to stop him, it was manipulative of you to do that. You don’t want him to dress like this because he’ll get harassed?”
”Tell a woman to stop wearing short skirts for that same reason, see how it turns out. We shouldn’t stop non-dangerous behavior such as wearing a certain type of clothing because creeps exist.”~ Vixen7-9
“YTA. But don’t be too hard on yourself. You feel genuinely unsafe and anxious, and that’s valid. The problem is that you can’t compel his behavior, and where you definitely crossed into TA territory was bringing his mom into it.”
“The problem isn’t him, and it’s not your feelings. It’s the homophobic and violent context you’re both up against, and you need to figure out how to be good allies to each other, during that shared struggle.”
“At the end of the day, it’s up to you how you fight that, and what you are comfortable with. But you don’t get to tell him how to live his life. I’m sorry you’re both in that situation, and I hope things get better.”~The_Drop_51
”YTA. You were disloyal, manipulative, and sneaky. You shouldn’t ever involve others – especially parents – in your private issues.”
“Also, it sounds to me like your relationship is in trouble long term. I get you have anxiety, but you can’t dull your BF’s sparkle just so you can feel better. I do hope you can find a way around this.”~AnotaCocktail
“YTA, and so is his mom. No one blinks an eye at a woman in a man’s suit, but a man in a dress? Pearl-clutching galore. That, my friend, is a sexist double-standard which really needs to go away.”~rpepperpot_reddit
“YTA YTA YTA! You’re prioritizing your feelings over your partners. Self expression should be nurtured in a relationship, not stomped out because the general public might look twice. Bringing his mom into it was manipulative. If you were my partner I would have dumped you by now tbh.”~chirpfox
“YTA. He has supported you. And you repay him for that support by using his mother to emotionally manipulate him into doing what you want? You knew full well what would happen when you told her about your “worries”, and you used it to your advantage.”~SnakesCantWearPants
The OP returned with an update:
“Everything’s good now. We talked it out.”
“This was our first couple’s argument since high school, so I’m actually pretty happy for us!”
“If anybody else is going to comment, can we try to stay away from overly mean or personal insults? Thanks. :)”
There is no place for homophobia or transphobia and we hope that OP’s boyfriend finds support in his self expression.