Even in our generally progressive, more accepting world, when a family member comes out as transgender, it is still an adjustment.
Though deep down, they are still entirely the same person they always were, it might still take time to get used to addressing them by a new name and a new set of pronouns.
Though what’s most important is that they have our encouragement and support, as they have finally found the courage to live as their true selves, only to likely find themselves judged and marginalized by far too many people.
Which is why we sometimes must choose our words very carefully around them.
While Redditor dressdo was surprised when their husband came out as trans, they still wanted to support her as best they could, for the sake of their son.
However, there was one particular element of their ex’s behavior which the original poster (OP) noticed was taking its toll on their son.
As a result, the OP felt they had no other choice than to address this issue with their former spouse.
And when they did, their spouse did not take kindly to what they had to say.
Worried they had made a terrible mistake, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for asking my transsexual ex-wife to dress more appropriately?”
The OP explained how their ex was making their son increasingly uncomfortable with their choice of clothes, but things did not go well when they tried to address this issue with her.
“My former husband (42) came out as a transsexual woman last year.”
“As a male he had recently started to get into crossdressing but assured me it was just a fetish, so I was taken by surprise when he came out as he was always a very traditional, masculine guy.”
“She, now Laura, has not started HRT yet but is living full time as a woman.”
“Laura and I no longer live together but we share custody of my son, 10.”
“Ever since I moved out and Laura has started living on her own, she has started to dress in extreme clothing.”
“She’s gone from wearing relatively normal dresses and skirts to microminis, fishnets, big heels, the full nines, and bold makeup too.”
“Laura is a tall woman, 6’4 or so, so in the heels she is very visible and this is what had brought on my current issue.”
“I am fine with what Laura wants to wear privately but my son is having an extremely hard time with it, especially when it comes to her picking him from school or taking him out for food.”
“Recently he had a breakdown over it and told me that it was so bad he didn’t even want to go to school anymore, and that everyone knew him as the ‘drag queens son’.”
‘I tried to talk about this privately to Laura, but she gave me the cold shoulder over the phone.”
“My son asked me to come out with him next meeting so we could bring it up together there.”
“The moment she walked in all eyes were on us because of what she was wearing.”
“People were obviously listening and when I gently tried to bring up the topic and explain how our son was feeling, Laura became incredibly loud and angry over it and accused me of feeding my son lines because I was jealous of her confidence.”
“To make matters worse, a table of nearby girls decided to join in and hurl abuse at me and tell me that I was a piece of shit for saying what I was.”
“My son and I left in tears but Laura did not seem to give a single damn about how distraught he was and seemed to just be loving all the attention.”
“Ever since then I’ve been torn wondering if my own personal feelings are getting in the way of things and I was a bad person for asking Laura to tone things down, especially given she felt she had to repress herself for so many years.”
“I’m extremely shaken by having a group of complete strangers step in and wonder if I’ve gotten old and out of touch.”
“It just breaks my heart to see my son becoming so withdrawn and upset over this.”
“AITA for speaking to my ex this way?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by. declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**Hole for asking their ex to think about their clothing choices when around their son.
Everyone agreed that the issue at hand had nothing to do with the fact that their ex was a transgender woman, and she should have been more sympathetic to her son’s feelings, and no parent should dress inappropriately, or in a provocative or sexual manner, around their children.
“I am a former school administrator and I can tell you that regardless of gender or trans status, parents who dress ‘flamboyantly’ embarrass their children.”
“I have seen kids hide when that see their parents coming because of the way the parents are dressed.”
“The child’s feelings need to come first.”- glensueand
“If you take the trans out of the equation, kids would still make comments to your son that his mother picks him up from school in high heels, fishnets and mini skirts.”
“Your ex’s confidence in wearing revealing/extreme clothing shouldn’t take priority over your kid getting bullied every day.”
“Which will happen if your ex picks your son up every day dressed like that.”
“Yeah kids are a**holes but there’s not a lot that can be done about that.”
“What happens when your son hits breaking point and either wants to stop seeing your ex altogether or ends up getting some serious depression from the constant bullying?”- ColdCoops
“It has nothing to do with her and everything to do with your son.”
“While Laura may be figuring out her style as a woman, she needs to come back down to earth and realize that she’s a parent first and foremost.”- enitsirhcbcwds
“You are helping your son speak up.”
“You may need to have a therapist or school resource step in to mediate, rather than you, if Laura can’t receive it from you.”
“Probably also not a great idea to bring it up in a public place, but not your fault that Laura blew up.”-MarianaTrenchBlue
“My father came out as trans years ago.”
“While I respect her decision to do what she did, she would say and do things that made me extremely uncomfortable.”
“Tell me she was always jealous of me for being a girl, buy wigs that she told me looked like my hair, etc.”
“Whenever I voiced my discomfort, I was labeled ‘transphobic’ or ‘unsupportive’ by family members.”
“People don’t really think about what family on the other side goes through, only what the person coming out as trans goes through, when really, both sides have valid feelings that need to be respected.”
“She is not taking into account the effect she is having on your son and being extremely selfish.”-Glass_Comet
“But, I see this happen to almost every transwoman I’ve ever met.”
“Shortly after they begin to transition they dress like a 12 year old’s interpretation of what’s sexy.”
“They spent all their lives basically learning feminine expressions of sexuality from the male pov.”
“Plus they want to experiment with anything they couldn’t get away with as a man.”
“She’s going through this phase.”- Zeen13
“NTA It’s confusing enough for your son to have a father that realizes he is a she, but dressing suggestively, regardless of sex, around your 10 year old child to the point that it makes him uncomfortable is inappropriate.”
“You, and especially your son, should be able to sit down and talk to your ex in a civilized manner.”
“Probably best to do it in a private setting in the future to keep the nosy people out of the picture.”-PartyCat78
“I’m a trans woman, pre-HRT, about the same ‘stage’ that Laura seems to be now, but I’m a little bit younger.”
“Laura needs to learn to code-switch and save the fishnets and stripper heels for some other time and some other place.”
“There’s plenty of situation-appropriate womens clothes she would be able to look femme in, and isn’t it kinda her responsibility to figure that out now?”
“I hope that’s not too shitty to say, but I don’t know of any cis mothers who would show up to their kids’ elementary school dressed like Alaska Thunderf*ck every day.”- ofcshepicksems
The OP’s ex has certainly gone through a lot, and still faces a long journey ahead.
However, she must also consider that this is also a lot for her young son to deal with.
So even if no one should have any opinion as to what she should and should not wear, or how to behave, she might want to factor in her son’s feelings.
Particularly if she wants their relationship to remain strong.