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Teen Called A ‘Bigot’ For Refusing To Change Her Name To Make Trans Classmate More Comfortable

Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images

Sometimes we do favors for others without a second thought.

That is especially true for those we know who may have been through a tough time in the past or struggling in the present.

But as a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit illustrated, sometimes the favor is just too much to ask.

The Original Poster (OP), known as halldim on the site, outlined the favor in a question in the post’s title.

“AITA for refusing to go by a nickname at school to make someone else feel more comfortable?”

OP led with an important development at her school. 

“A guy (15-year-old male) at my (14-year-old female) school transitioned from female to male and goes by a different name now.”

“Last year, he went by a female name.”

It didn’t take long for OP to become heavily involved, whether she wanted to or not.

“I have a pretty common name, and my name is the same as what his dead name was.”

“He constantly complains and makes exaggerated cringing noises when people say my name in front of him.”

What happened next surprised OP. 

“He asked me if I could go by a common nickname that people with my name use while in class. Think along the lines of shortening Isabella to Bella.”

“I was like ‘are you kidding me?? No way.’ This is the name I’ve been called all my life, and I’m not changing it. And I also think nicknames are juvenile.”

But there was an impasse. 

“He passive-aggressively said in class today ‘you can really sniff out the hidden bigots when they refuse to do something simple to make your existence more comfortable and safe. They always tell on themselves’.”

“I didn’t say anything. But really, I couldn’t care less about his comfort. I’ll never go by a nickname.”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Most Redditors who responded assured OP she wasn’t the a**hole.

“NTA. If he cares about people respecting his identity, he should care about respecting yours.” — ParsimoniousSalad

“NTA. The only responsibility (and this is a big word) towards him is to use his new name, his new pronouns and respect him as a human being.”

“Which apparently he can’t really do in return for you…” — farrago

“NTA. I got news for your classmate. The world isn’t gonna revolve around what he wants. There are times when he’s just gonna have to suck it up and accept things aren’t going to go his way.”

“If he doesn’t, well, there’s a metaphorical slap to the face coming his way sooner rather than later.” — PhoenixEcho1

“You’re NTA, their dead name is their dead name, your name is not dead. You use your name and like your name.”

“The transition is so they could be comfortable with who they are, it is solely based on self confidence and if your name is imposing on their SELF confidence then they need to do something about it.”

“You’re not a bigot for using your name, y’all are so young that child doesn’t even know what a bigot actually is, and hopefully never truly does.”

“Stay away from them.” — cvillars360

“NTA. Of course you have a right to be called by your own name.”

“I would get ahead of this and report this as bullying before he does, as he may twist things and poison the well to make you out to somehow be a ‘bigot’ for horribly wanting to continue to be called your own name (of course just to harass him).”

“Say that you simply want to use your own name as you always have done, but he has been calling you a bigot just for that in front of the class. This is surely one of your basic rights and has nothing to do with him.”

“You are respecting him in his transition and have never dead-named him, but surely he doesn’t have the right to wipe that name from the world.”

“It just happens to be your name and you don’t want to have your reputation ruined and be labelled a bigot and bullied simply for wanting to be called your actual name.” — jwjnthrowawaykfeiofj

Some offered relevant personal experiences. 

“As a trans person myself NTA – I really empathise with this guy because it can be hard hearing your deadname especially early in transition (you said he was still closeted last year)…”

“…but it’s something you’ve just gotta adjust to, and to be honest having other people that you can externalise the name to can help a lot.”

“I mean it’s not like people are using it talking to you to taunt him so as uncomfortable as it is he’s gotta learn to live with the fact that there will always be people who happen to have your deadname.” —claudcuckooland

“NTA. It doesn’t make you bigoted to want to be called by your name. Nobody ever called me by my real name as a kid, even when I asked them to, and it was incredibly fu**ing disrespectful even if I was only 6.”

“You know how people say that you can’t avoid trigger warnings in real life? Well, guess what? Billions of people on the planet all have the same name.”

“Are they gonna ask every single Isabelle to go by a nickname every time they meet another one? What about when everyone ends up calling themselves Bella? How do they differentiate between them then?”

My point is, it isn’t your job to change yourself to make others comfortable. It’s a personal issue that THEY have, it’s THEIR job to deal with that feeling.” — SmileyMcTrashbag

“As a parent of a trans person, I cringe anytime I hear their dead name, luckily it’s not very common. I get where the guy is coming from but NTA.” — No_Resource_5912

So although no argument or rebuttal may convince the classmate in OP’s school, she can at least take solace in the fact her feelings about it all were validated by Reddit.

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.