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Guy Opts Out Of Family Photo After Being Told He Can’t Be In It Unless He Takes Off His Jewelry

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A lot of us were encouraged in our early classes or TV shows we watched to always be ourselves.

But many of us realized as we grew up that this wasn’t what people really wanted.

It’s important to push back against limited thinking, however, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor joxman0 recently stood up for himself, despite what his family tried to demand of him.

But when they kept pressuring him about it, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he handled the situation the wrong way.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for walking out on my family photo?” 

The OP put up with a lot of comments.

“It’s my grandmother’s birthday, and my family had a large photo to celebrate.”

“For a little info, I am a straight man but I enjoy wearing jewelry, and during the photo, I had on earrings, a necklace, and a ring.”

“My family tends to make remarks about how it’s embarrassing, or people would think I’m gay, but I usually brush it off because I don’t really care.”

He recently decided to speak up. 

“My parents told me I had to take off all my jewelry for the photo.”

“I pushed back by saying the women were allowed to wear it, even though I knew where this was going.”

“Of course, their reasoning was that they don’t want the people who see the photo to know I’m ‘that type of guy who wears jewelry,’ and that it would be embarrassing if people saw it.”

“They might not have intended it, but I knew that their comments were rooted in some homophobic stereotypes that I have seen in my family before.”

“I was told if I didn’t take off the jewelry, I wouldn’t be allowed in the photo.”

“So I walked off and ignored them.”

The family didn’t let it go.

“My whole family is calling me an a** and overly sensitive because I ruined the photo.”

“But I was just tired of my family constantly being d**ks about what I wear, and especially the comments that they would be embarrassed to be seen with someone that could be construed as gay.”

“AITA?”

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 said if they wanted pictures with their family, it should be authentic. 

“NTA. I get that people make some concessions for pictures, but if it’s part of who you are and it is how you are comfortable, then don’t feel the need to suppress it.”TheBreakUp2013

“NTA – If they want a photo with you in it then it needs to be YOU – not the person they clearly wish you were. If they love you and you’re all family they should accept you for who you are and stop with the shaming.”HomelyHobbit

“This is a family who loves the IDEA of family and not really the actual family members themselves.”

“It’s all about appearances.”W84itagain

Others said the OP’s jewelry should not be a measure of his sexual orientation.

“NTA – seriously? Earrings, a ring, and a necklace make you gay now? That’s so preposterous that I can’t even put it into words.”

“The only thing different from most of the guys that I see is earrings, and that’s crazy common on younger people these days than those around 50 or so (at least around where I live).”

“They’re the ones being overly sensitive. They gave you an ultimatum and you accepted on their terms. No removal, no picture – no need for you to be there. They can’t fault you for listening to their demands.”Lurkingentropy

“NTA. Lots of straight guys wear jewelry. Thinking it makes you appear gay, or assuming other people will think you’re gay because you’re wearing jewelry, is absolutely absurd.”PrairieDogStromboli

“Not to mention, guys who wear jewelry are sexy! I love when my boyfriend wears his necklaces and bracelets.”

“He’s thinking of getting a piercing and I hope he does. I even made him a leather bracelet for a gift and he loves it.”

“I wish more guys wore jewelry and even makeup- it needs to be normalized.”

“My boyfriend is super cute with eyeshadow on. I gave him one of my grayscale eyeshadow palettes and a nice brush. He also likes toenail polish in bright colors!”

“It makes me happy he wants to normalize those things, and remove the toxic masculinity still remaining around them.”CandyShopBandit

Some said the OP simply fulfilled the ultimatum. 

“NTA – they forced you out of the picture and now they call you an a**? Ahahahaha tell them to next time not impose any rules and you’d gladly take the picture.”membratel

“NTA. It’s really not uncommon for men to wear jewelry, but even if it was, so what?”

“Your parents tried to manipulate you into accommodating their ridiculous ideas by threatening to exclude you, and they’re mad because it didn’t work.”

“It sounds like they’ve been hoping that if they can tear you down enough, you’ll alter yourself to suit their uneducated, hateful biases, and I think it’s admirable that you didn’t let them do that to you.”emanresuelbaliavayna

“NTA – and you didn’t just walk off anyway. They told you you were not allowed in the photo, so you weren’t in it.”

“You made it clear you were not willing to take off the jewelry, and therefore couldn’t be in the photo.”

“Gotta love it when people give an ultimatum and then are surprised you picked the option they don’t like.”Trasl0

Though the OP was unsure if he was wrong for refusing to take off his jewelry for the sake of taking a family photo at his grandmother’s birthday, but the subReddit was quick to defend him and his love of jewelry.

Jewelry and clothing, in general, do not constitute a person’s gender or sexual orientation. The family pushing for him to mute his personality likely weren’t looking for a true “family photo” at all, which is incredibly disappointing for the OP.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.