Even in the most close knit of families, there are bound to be fundamental differences between members.
Ideally, families can learn to accept these differences with no love lost, but sometimes these differences can lead to tension, if not estrangement, within families.
The son of Redditor Lim-the-Bunny found himself at odds with members of his distant family after coming out.
But things got even closer to home when his brother made a bigoted remark regarding his new relationship, and felt hurt that his father didn’t come to his defense.
Having second thoughts about his behavior, the original poster (OP), took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:
“AITA for not picking a side when my two sons argue?”
The OP first gave readers a bit of insight about his son’s coming out, and how it affected the family.
“My son Ben came out as bisexual a couple years ago.”
“Most of our family accepted him.”
“Although I know he disliked some of our actions when he came out (we are still in contact with familiars or friends that didn’t accept him), we tried to be as supportive as we could.”
Ben’s situation with his family became even more delicate after he entered a new relationship, causing tension within the immediate family.
“And a bit after he came out he introduced us to his boyfriend.”
He was a really sweet guy and clearly loved our son.”
“However about a year ago some rumors, apparently spread by my other son James, said that he used to be a woman.”
“We didn’t believe it but eventually Ben confirmed that his boyfriend was trans, and I admit it was quite shocking and hard to process.”
“This also kinda ruined the relationship between our sons.”
Things came to a head, however, at a recent family dinner, which led Ben to wonder how much his father did, in fact, support him.
“Now to the problem itself.”
“Yesterday we decided to have a small gathering with the four of us ( me, my wife and our two sons ).”
“We ate a delicious meal, we talked a lot, in general we were having a good time.”
“I could tell that there was some tension between our sons but I thought that they could handle it.”
“Then I decided to ask Ben ‘what is [his boyfriend] doing now?’, to which James replied ‘yeah, what is she doing?’.”
“This immediately angered Ben, so they started insulting each other.”
“Luckily I managed to change the subject and tell them to calm down before they started an actual fight.”
“After James left, Ben confronted me about this.”
“He was angry that I didn’t ‘defend him or at least say something to James’.”
“Now, I agree that what James said was rude, but it was Ben who insulted his brother and worsened the situation.”
“So I don’t think it would have been right for me to defend or pick a side.”
“But he didn’t see it that way, he told me that ‘either you do something or I won’t visit again’.
“Which hurts me a lot.”
“Since then I have not talked to either of them directly, but apparently the rest of our family is choosing sides.”
“Ben is still very angry at me, and although I understand why he was angry at his brother I think he is being unreasonable with me.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where the 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 unanimously took Ben’s side in this matter, deciding the OP’s behavior unquestionably made him the a**hole in this situation.
Just about everyone was shocked that the OP chose to ignore the fact that James made a bigoted remark towards Ben’s boyfriend, as well as his decision to stay in contact with the family members who did not support Ben after his coming out.
“This isn’t arguing, this is one son bullying the other.”
“What a dreadful parent you are in not supporting your son.”
“By not shutting down your bully son, you are tacitly agreeing with him and creating a hostile environment for your other son.”
“WRT staying in contact with family that doesn’t support your son… YTA again.”
“When my kid came out as trans and gay, I refused to have anything to do with family that wouldn’t treat my child with respect.”
“I wanted my kids to feel supported and safe.”-DogLvrinVA.
“As the parent of a bisexual son (or a decent human being), how can you condone the homophobic/transphobic behavior from his brother?”
“If you say that you accept Ben for who he is, that means you need to be an ally and shut down the kind of hateful speech coming from his brother.”
“Claiming neutrality always sides with the oppressor, so Ben knows now that you won’t defend or support his relationship or his partner.”
“I don’t blame him for threatening to cut contact.”
“Be better.”- FoxBun_17.
“YTA, your son, James, is homophobic and transphobic.”
“He is spreading rumors and trying to rile people up against Ben.”
“You are upset that Ben is directly confronting James, but defending against bigoted attacks against your partner is something anyone should do.”
“You not only didn’t stay out of it, but you chastised Ben for defending himself and his boyfriend.”
“You can’t have it both ways.”
“Either stop your sons from attacking each other or don’t.”-PurrPurrVoidkittens.
“That wasn’t an argument that was one son being a transphobic, homophobic asshole and the other one trying to defend his partner.”
“Also if this isn’t clear to you I’ll say it.”
“Ben’s partner is a man. A guy. A dude.”
“Your son is dating another man.”
“What is in HIS pants is none of your business.”
“It’s none of James’ business.”
“It’s nobodies business so mind yours. “
“You should have drawn the line when your son outed someone without their permission.”
“You should have drawn the line when he misgendered his brother’s partner.”
“You should have drawn the line when people refused to accept YOUR son.”
“But you didn’t and I don’t blame Ben for never wanting to speak to you again.”
“You’ve shown him the kind of person you are.”
“I hope, and I say this with all the love in my heart, he never speaks to you or his sh*tty brother ever again.”-clovrfestt.
‘James isn’t ‘rude’ he’s transphobic and homophobic.’
‘Raise your son better.”- khalvvsi
“As a mother of a gay son, I can see why Ben is upset.”
“Firstly, his brother is being homophonic and transphobic.”
“Secondly, you then placed the blame on Ben by saying ‘well you insulted him too’.”
“Do you know how much anger, hatred and downright rudeness Ben receives?”
“He’s looking for support. Not blame passing.”
“It is not easy for anyone to come out, especially to family.”
“It’s actually one of the bravest things Ben will ever do.”
“When your child comes out to you, it can be very hard to accept.”
“This is not life you envisioned for your child.”
“HOWEVER, it is not your life. It’s theirs.”
“I do not blame Ben for not wanting to visit anymore if this is what he’s going to face.”
“You don’t need to ‘pick a side’ you can love and support each child equally, but you’re not doing that.”
“By staying silent is enabling the harasser.”
“You’re thinking of how this hurts you, what about Ben?”
“What did he do to deserve such hatred from his brother? “
“He did nothing.”
“My own mother will not have anything to do with my son because he is gay.”
“She’s a Bible thumping, sin is sin type Christian woman.”
“And the things she said to him ‘in jest’ I will not accept from anyone.”
No one bought the OP’s “not wanting to take sides” excuse either, as it seemed abundantly clear to them that James was in the wrong, with some even believing that by “not taking sides”, the OP clearly took James’ side.
“Desmond Tutu said it better than I could.”
“‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'”
“‘If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.'”
“Not picking sides is when there is no right side.”
“Which is better, red or blue?”
“There is no right answer.”
“Being transphobic or racist or whatever does NOT deserve any support whatsoever.”-NotHisRealName.
“YTA and a terrible parent.”
“You picked a side.”
“The homophobic side.”
“And you act like you think you’re neutral.”
“Stop lying to yourself.”- parishilton2.
“You did choose a side.”
“You know James did it to upset Ben, and by letting it happen under your roof, you condone the activity.”- Any-Pay-974.
“From your own description, this is just the latest in a long-standing pattern of you decidedly NOT supporting Ben.”
“And while I normally think parents should avoid choosing sides when their children have a disagreement, this wasn’t just a disagreement – James is being a transphobic JERK who is knowingly causing pain to Ben and his boyfriend.”
“When one of your kids is being deliberately cruel, you cannot just ‘stay neutral’.”-MindDeep2823.
It’s hard not to be surprised by the OP’s decision to ignore James’ behavior towards Ben’s boyfriend.
Particularly as he remarked earlier how touched he was by how much he clearly loved James.
Here’s hoping that the OP will see how badly he mishandled this situation, and won’t tolerate that sort of behavior from James, or anyone else in their extended family, ever again.