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Gay Man Finds Ingenious Way To Keep His Homophobic Cousin Off His Back At Family Parties

Gay couple holding hands
Marissa Powell/Getty Images

While we’d love to imagine everything family being happy, healthy, and full of unconditional love, there’s typically always at least one bully in the mix.

It’s a terrible feeling when the family winds up protecting the bully more than the one they’re bullying, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Komosho had essentially shut himself down when attending family gatherings because of how ruthlessly his cousin bullied him.

But once he came out and started attending the gatherings with his boyfriend, the Original Poster (OP) was delighted to see his cousin was appalled to the point of avoiding him.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for intentionally making my homophobic cousin uncomfortable?”

The OP had a terrible relationship with his cousin.

“I’m a dude (22 Male) with a problem. My younger cousin, Paul (21 Male), is a total s**thead that the family is mostly in denial about.”

“He leeches off his family and makes them spend money that they really shouldn’t be spending on luxury items to fit in better with his rich friends. He’s an alcoholic and has shown up s**tfaced to basically every family gathering since he was 17.”

“And ever since we were young, I’ve basically been his punching bag.”

Most of the family actively enabled Paul’s behavior, except the OP’s grandmother.

“My grandmother has tried to call out that he’s incredibly irresponsible for his age (all of his writing assignments for college are being done by his older sister and dad, he’s stolen money multiple times for stupid video game s**t, etc.).”

“The main excuse from the rest of the family has been that he’s ‘just figuring things out.'”

“I have no desire to reconcile with him, he’s been a d**k to me my whole life. The entire family just seems to assume he’ll eventually become not an a**wipe, but I’ve been hearing that for decades (they’ve been enabling his bad behavior, literally, since he was a toddler, so I’ve been hearing this story my WHOLE life).”

“So for years, after trying and failing to stand up for myself, I just sort of caved and took it. I disassociated at every family gathering, tried to leave, failed, and got s**t on.”

Then something wonderful and freeing happened for the OP.

“Until a miracle happened: I came out as gay.”

“See: it turns out Paul is painfully homophobic.”

“I had only kinda discerned this. We had a trans family friend as well who recently died, and he was incredibly rude during the dinner after the funeral, deadnaming them, etc.”

“I just sorta assumed it’d be another thing I’d get s**t on for… until I brought my boyfriend to one of our family gatherings.”

“Paul, mysteriously, just straight up avoids me.”

“For the first time ever, I have a holiday where I am left alone by him. And I LOVE IT.”

“I started to notice that whenever my partner isn’t in my proximity, he feels comfortable attempting to start s**t. However, if my boyfriend is around, or if we show any degree of affection, he gets visibly disgusted and distances himself.”

The OP’s boyfriend enjoyed getting to be his secret shield.

“After testing this a few times, I found out it worked like a charm.”

“My partner was overjoyed he could help me, and I got to actually have a great time with the rest of my family, as well.”

“Paul just stuck with other family members who weren’t in the same room as me.”

“Since then, I’ve used this tactic to basically every family gathering, my boyfriend and I think it’s funny and he just avoids us.”

“As a side note, I was really worried about my boyfriend’s feelings and hurting him by basically using him as my shield, but it admittedly had the reverse effect. He’s been encouraging me to be MORE proactive or to take this farther, but honestly, I’m pretty comfortable with having Paul just leave me alone.”

The family didn’t stay quiet about Paul’s feelings for long, though.

“My older cousin, Paul’s sister Alexa, called me recently. He was complaining to her about it (our presence), and she thought the whole thing was hilarious.”

“I appreciated this until my sister found out. She said it was unfair of me to weaponize my sexuality this way, and that making him uncomfortable like this is really no better than how he’s treated me.”

“Alexa and I argued that he’s been doing the same to me for years, it isn’t hurting him, and it’s made family gatherings actually fun to go to.”

“But my sister is incredibly angry about this and is threatening to tell him that it’s been intentional.”

“I legitimately do not care if she does, but I worry a bit that I’m enjoying this a bit too much.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some reassured the OP that he wasn’t doing anything wrong by, essentially, existing. 

“NTA: homophobes deserve to be uncomfortable. If they feel they don’t have a place in polite society, they will either examine why and change (unlikely) or disassociate.”

“Bringing your SO (significant other) to the gathering is your prerogative. Your family didn’t seem to care when he was doing s**t to you, why should they care now?” – BaltimoreBadger23

“NTA. No, having your partner around you is in no way similar to him bullying you and picking on you. You’ve finally found an effective way to shut down your bully. It doesn’t actually hurt him and he can choose to avoid you.”

“It kinda sounds like your sister liked watching you be hurt and is disappointed it no longer happens.” – KaliTheBlaze

“And what does OP’s sister propose that he’ll do? Not bring his partner to family gatherings? Because I’ll bet his sister is bringing her boyfriend around, and Paul’s hypothetical girlfriend (if anyone wants him) is presumably also welcome.”

“Everyone else is bringing their partners, so OP is also. Not his fault the bully can’t handle it. NTA.” – Purple-Garden77

“NTA! I had bullies in elementary school. They would tease me a lot. I figured out that one of them was pretty dumb and had a temper. And my mom was close with the principal.”

“So at recess one day, I started to annoy him. I ran around him in circles and stuff like that and got him to chase me. Then I ran right past the principal. I did this two or three times and because I never caused any trouble, I had a reputation for being a good kid, and so he wound up being punished by having to scrape gum off the playground.”

“My class was walking to the gymnasium, which was right past the playground. I turned and gave him the biggest grin. He glared at me.”

“Sometimes people just deserve to be tormented. And you now know the perfect way to do it, and your boyfriend is enjoying it. Take advantage of it.” – Lexicon444

“OP is just doing what most adults in long-term relationships do at family gatherings.”

“Sister: ‘I’m going to tell him you’re doing it on purpose!'”

“OP: ‘What, bringing my boyfriend to a family gathering… just like you and every other cousin does?'”

“Sister: ‘It’s different because you’re making Paul uncomfortable.'”

“OP: ‘You mean the way that Paul has made me uncomfortable at every family gathering since we were kids?'”

“Sister: ‘This is different, you’re weaponizing your sexuality.'”

“OP: ‘So it’s okay for Paul to intentionally bully me for my entire life, but it’s not okay for me to passively make Paul uncomfortable by simply existing in the same space as my partner?'”

“Sister: ‘…..'” – Wynfleue

“NTA. You are living your life as an out and proud gay man. He is being a bigot and avoiding you. Doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not, because you have a right to exist fully as yourself.”

“I’m suspect of your sister at this point, though; what’s her investment in you not being yourself and affectionate?” – HomespunPeanutButter

Others suspected that the OP’s sister was homophobic, too, and enabling Paul’s behavior.

“Your sister is part of the problem, not standing up for you in the past against Paul’s bulls**t. Enjoy your quality time with the REST of your family.”

“NTA.” – Bargle-Nawdle-Zouss

“Isn’t ‘weaponizing sexuality’ code for what people in Florida think a kid mentioning he has two moms is doing? These homophobes think that any display of evidence that gay people exist is a deliberate assault on them.”

“OP’s sister needs to turn off Fox news. She currently doesn’t believe her brother has the right to exist.” – LFahs1

“NTA. What the h**l does ‘weaponizing your sexuality’ mean anyway? Why does your sister care if you’re keeping your other cousin away from you? Did she like watching you catch sh*t for so many years?”

“You’re with whom you want, he’s uncomfortable being around you and the one you love. Simple. Change nothing. Why does your family put up with your a**wipe of a cousin anyway?” – dogswelcomenopeople

“NTA. I’m looking sideways at your sister, though. Unless you are turning up in fetish gear and dry-h**ping at Grandma’s birthday, what exactly is her problem? I’m guessing what’s ‘making him uncomfortable’ is you being around your partner and showing a normal level of PDA (public displays of affection).”

“I mean, if you are into risk-taking and jokes, when he starts on you, just act like he’s hitting on you. Tell him he needs to sort out his own confused feelings with a non-family member and stop trying to get your attention like that because it’s not healthy, and you don’t want to be flirted with…”

“Of course, you’d have to roll the dice on his reaction heavily, but from his previous ones, he probably won’t want to be in the same zip code as you after that gets spread around the next family gathering.” – Alternative_Boat9540

“LOL (Laughing Out Loud). Love you, OP. NTA.”

“Your sister is ignorant to an amazing degree, and it’s not remotely at all an accurate comparison. Woof. She needs some DEI (Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive) training.”

“If your existence as yourself makes him uncomfortable, then that’s an awesome byproduct. This isn’t an act, it’s you as a person. Keep embracing who you are!” – Unable-Ad148

“Yeah no, your sister is okay with you being made uncomfortable for years by your homophobic cousin but doesn’t like that you’re doing it back?”

“Homophobic people should not be allowed comfort in shared spaces. Allowing them comfort means you agree with their stance.”

“I would perhaps bring that up to your sister since she seems keen on the idea of your homophobic cousin having a safe space to bully you. NTA.” – likecommentsurvive

The subReddit couldn’t stop shaking their collective heads at the situation the OP and his boyfriend were facing at family gatherings. While the OP was now having a good time, it seemed the family was still full of enablers that he’d have to watch out for, boyfriend shield present or not.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.