Being a parent doesn’t automatically make you wise, smart, or even kind. Reddit user AuntieSurprisePants is dealing with this reality as her brother-in-law and sister-in-law try to push their transphobic viewpoints on their whole family.
After telling her niece the truth in a FaceTime chat, the Original Poster (OP) felt like she may have made a mistake.
She visited the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” (AITA) and asked anonymous internet users to sound off on who was in the wrong by replying:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
She told her whole story in a post titled:
“My husband & I have two children. Our 24 yo came out to us as a woman this past Thanksgiving. We were really surprised, because we never saw that coming, but our support for her has never wavered since the second she told us.”
“Husband’s sister and her husband seem to become more Catholic by the day. I don’t have a problem with religion in general but what I DO have a problem with is people using religion to hide behind their racist/classist/homophobic, etc viewpoints.”
“They run their house like the Handmaid’s Tale and we’ve never said one, single solitary word to their girls (17, 15, 10) that would contradict their parent’s teachings. I would like to add here that when our kids were growing up (24 f[emale] and 21m[ale]) they had plenty to say about religion, our ‘lack of religion’, their political views and remarks that were borderline inappropriate towards other groups of people. We never called them on it. We tolerated it.”
“Their kids cannot have social media, not allowed to have anything new, only the 17 yo has a phone which they monitor all activity and basically these kids can’t do anything, including being in a play or choir, unless it’s church related.”
“Also they don’t believe mental health issues are real. You pray about that.”
“They told us Saturday that our daughter is not allowed around their kids because ‘it will destroy the foundation they’ve built for their kids.’ I only have 3000 characters so I don’t have enough room here to discuss all the stupid and ridiculous things they said to us.”
“We said, fine, but if our daughter isn’t welcome in your home then none of us are, because if you’re asking me to choose I will choose my daughter every time.”
“They asked me to FaceTime my middle niece because they said she’s really struggling with isolation and won’t talk to them. She asked me during f/t if she can come over and sew with me and I told her the TRUTH: no honey, I’m sorry, your parents said you’re not allowed around my daughter.”
“Suddenly [brother-in-law] (BIL) barrels in her room out of nowhere and starts screaming at me that I’ve overstepped and to get off the phone. The look on my nieces face is still haunting me 16 hours later.”
“I then got a text from my BIL: ‘I am so furious I am shaking. How dare you undermine my authority. Do not contact my children’.”
“I’ll never see these kids again until they’re legal adults. AITA?”
Most Reddit users recognized it’s hard to be an a**hole when you’re accepting your child.
“Oh good lord. Catholic here, my daughter attends Catholic school, one of her classmates came to them before lockdown as transgender, they have some very old nuns around (over 90), and they went up to them after and congratulated the whole class on their behaviour.”
“Being true to yourself is what makes you good, you were kind to your niece. If she came over were the parents expecting to get your daughter out of the house?” –InternationalDivide0
Others questioned what her brother-in-law even expected of OP.
“I don’t even understand why the BIL is claiming OP ‘undermined his authority’. She…. didn’t? She stuck by his rules and said no.”
“BTW OP you’re an awesome parent, your children are clearly raised in a loving and accepting home. From what I’ve seen in my trans friends, having accepting parents makes ALL the difference in how well she’ll grow up and see herself.” –dobylot
Sometimes, there’s simply nothing you can do.
“NTA, these awful people will reap what they sow, but there is nothing you can do about them. Denying your own child’s identity would make you an a**hole.” –flora_pompeii
It’s only a matter of time before these children learn the realities of the world.
“NTA – you told her the truth. You didn’t undermine him. THEY (your BIL/SIL) are the ones who said their kids couldn’t be around your daughter.”
“I’m not sure if your BIL/SIL are huffing paint or what but it must be some gold-medal-Olympian level mental gymnastics they’ve gone through to convince themselves you telling their child they said they (the child) weren’t allowed to come over after they did indeed say that somehow undermines them.”
“Oh and also they clearly know their values they’ve tried to impart are sh*t and will crumble when any outside info reaches their kids if they’re worried even being introduced to an idea falling outside their orthodoxy will, ‘destroy the foundation they’ve built’.” –AlfredoApache
In time, OP’s niece may come to her again in need of support.
“NTA. You stood up for your daughter. And as a Christian, let me say that their God is not mine. Mine is loving above all else. That level of bigotry and control is appalling.”
“Your nieces will not always be under their parents’ thumb. In time they will likely reach out to you. You need only be available when they do.”
“Also, being honest about why she can’t come over is not undermining his authority. He just can’t possibly cope with being identified as the bad guy.” –mycheesus
Even the religious crowd on Reddit were on OP’s side.
“NTA. This Catholic would like to congratulate your daughter on her coming out. God doesn’t make junk. She is exactly who she is supposed to be: a lovely trans woman.”
“Very, very worried for your daughter’s cousins. Religious trauma like the type your BIL is putting his family through involves so, so much unraveling and is often what drives people away from a religion they might otherwise love.”
“Continue protecting your daughter, and if you are ever able, please let your BIL’s kids know that they are welcome in your home even if your daughter is not welcome in theirs.” –ViolaOrsino
Some people wanted to know where OP’s husband was through all of this.
“NTA at all. Where is your husband in this and what’s he’s saying to his brother? BIL sounds ashamed that you told his daughter the truth. Sounds like he was going to lie about your sudden evaporation from their lives. I feel sorry for those kids. Ugh. I could go on and on but will spare everyone.” –WentAndDid
This situation is almost too enraging to be believed.
“NTA. I’m so mad for you. ‘How dare you undermine my authority?’ What?! They ASKED you to facetime the niece. They’re the ones who said their children can’t come to your home. You were just being honest!”
“I feel so bad for your nieces. I’m sorry you won’t get to see them until they’re older. I hope when they do turn 18 they come to see you. Hell, they’ll probably come running to you. Hands down NTA.” –seeyouatthemovies4
Some of Reddit’s transgender users even thanked OP for how she handled the call.
“As a trans person myself, thank you so much for reminding me that people like me aren’t considered a burden to everyone. You are an amazing parent.”
“I feel terrible for your [nieces], but your honesty in all likelihood means they will reach out to you when legally adults and I bet your immediate family will still be able to have a positive influence for the ones that want it and are able to question their parents beliefs (like the middle child). Thank you so much for how you handled this, made my night. And, obviously NTA.” –aliencatgrrr
OP’s niece’s future behaviors aren’t hard to predict.
“NTA. Not even close; I’ve been in both situations, honestly. My mom let me form my own opinions and my stepmother was one of those ‘Harry potter is evil!!’ Pearl clutching Catholics. Guess which one I have a relationship with? Guess which one I rebelled against? I’m so sorry for your nieces, but your daughter is more important.” –General_Distance
The OP came back later to thank those who replied.
“Wow, last night when I posted this I would’ve never anticipated the response. Thank you to each and every one of you, even those who thought I was the a**hole. You have [given] me some things to think about.”
Reddit overwhelmingly agreed with OP on this one. Hopefully her niece reaches out again soon to try and avoid becoming just as transphobic as her parents.