Redditor TrashbagRaincoat found themselves in a difficult situation with their own grandmother, who continually deadnamed their trans cousin.
After coming up with the perfect strategy to break their grandmother of this transphobic habit, they were met with backlash.
Needing objective feedback from strangers, they went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to see what they could glean from strangers:
“WIBTA [Would I Be The A**hole] if I call my grandma by her legal name next time she deadnames my cousin?”
Our original poster, or OP, has started calling their grandma out on her transphobia.
“So my cousin recently came out as trans, and is using another name. My grandma has been refusing to use his name, saying that she won’t use it because it isn’t his legal one.”
“She also refuses to use his pronouns, which she doesn’t have an argument for. She hasn’t done this in front of him, though she rarely has the opportunity(they are family by marriage and only see each other during birthday parties and such).”
So OP wants a situation to teach grandma how hurtful what she’s doing actually is.
“I wanted to call her by her legal name instead of ‘grandma’ next time she deadnames him, using the same argument.”
“I feel like I would be the a**hole for doing this because it would be disrespectful, and may make her upset. But it might at least show her how it feels.”
“WIBTA if I do this?”
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
Redditors showed up to tell OP to do it to their heart’s content.
“Absolutely NTA. I’m a firm believer that ‘respect your elders’ is total BS and being old and not dying doesn’t earn you respect.”
“Being a good person and respecting others does. Your grandma is not doing that with your cousin and therefore doesn’t deserve that respect either.”
“As I say to my aunts and uncles who get all upset about that fact that I no longer say Aunt or Uncle.”
“‘There are a LOT of other things I could call you besides your name if you’d rather, but I don’t think you’d like those names either.'”
“But good on you OP for standing up for your cousin. You may not think he’s aware of what’s going on but there is a good chance he is and I’m sure he appreciates your support.”-JCYN-DDT
“NTA, but maybe a different way about it? ‘Grandma, calling Cousin (deadname) is like me calling you Marie all the time.'”
“‘That would be disrespectful because you want me to call you Grandma, and I call you grandma because I love you and respect you.'”
“‘If you love and respect Cousin, please use the name they’ve asked you to use.’”-RadioSupply
“NTA. I’m trans myself, and don’t have any family that would go out of their way to do this for me. I can guarantee your cousin will appreciate this, and you may become their new fav haha.”
“Bonus: Call grandma out anytime she calls ANYBODY by anything other than their legal name.”-MindRidge
“NTA. Quite brilliant actually. Grandma is such a personal thing – lots of GP’s love being called it and yearn for that day.”
“This is big thing for your cousin to be who they truly are. It’s part of that process to chose a name that they are comfortable with and they too love being identified and have no doubt yearned for that day.”
“Give Grandma the same slap as she’s dishing out and maybe she’ll understand the pain her actions cause.”-Grouchy_Bug
And folks think that the metaphor of a chosen name might actually be quite apt.
“NTA. It’s her name. Grandma is her position in the family.”
“Grandma is a bit of an AH… but I think it’s probably because she’s so much older and just doesn’t ‘get’ it.”
“Doesn’t make it okay tho. She’s still an AH for refusing to listen and adapt. I assume you’ve tried explaining to her why it’s so hurtful?”
“Unfortunately, returning hurtful words with hurtful words will not make anyone change their minds, they will just hurt everyone involved.”
“I would try to make her understand, even if she doesn’t ‘get’ what its like to be trans, she might be able to get to a point where she understands that this is how things are done nowadays, in a situation like this.”
“It make her more compliant. If that doesn’t work, I suggest keeping your distance to her. Can’t change someones mind who doesn’t want to be changed.”-[deleted username]
“NTA. I hate to say it though, it’s unlikely to have much of an effect. Bigots find it hard to change their spots unless they have a genuine change of heart.”
“That said, stand up for your cousin, call it out every time grandma uses the wrong name and pronouns.”
“It may not do much for Grandma, but your cousin and others will see your support and know they can trust you with their true selves.”-Lyrasilverose
“NTA. As a teacher, I had this happen to a student one year. The student had changed pronouns and was using their middle name, but another teacher couldn’t use that because it ‘wasn’t on a birth certificate.'”
“We printed off a scan of their birth certificate, highlighted the middle name, and the teacher never misnamed him again. Good luck 🥲”-hereparaleer
And that the phrase “Respect your elders” doesn’t mean anything if respect is not first given.
“You are being a caring and the person supporting your cousin. Regardless of G being an elder she is being a bully and transphobic of someone she is supposed to love.”
“Unfortunately people like this and set in their beliefs won’t change unless their behaviour is confronted and not tolerated.”
“Definitely go ahead if you want at first call to her by her official first name but if she continues regardless then you may need to call MRS in put surname.”
“Especially in public in front of her friends and neighbours. NTA.”-Sweet-Interview5620
“It’s a deliberate form of disrespect to illustrate how disrespectful and hurtful she’s being, it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t disrespectful.”
“You’re not trying to hurt your grandmother, just trying to get her to stop hurting someone else you love.”
“I bet Rainbow youth, or the local lgbtqi+ organisations have some good tips on how to achieve your goal without being the arsehole.”
“I’d also want to know if your cousin wants you to handle it this way. He might face the consequences not you.”-NinjaHidingintheOpen
“‘I feel like I would be the a**hole for doing this because it would be disrespectful, and may make her upset.'”
“You don’t need to worry about disrespecting someone being transphobic. She deserves no respect. If she gets upset by you using her legal name? Tough.”
“She’s being cruel and spiteful. You’re trying to teach her that words hurt and actions have consequences. NTA.”-RealisticSquirrel705
“NTA! I would maybe go with the approach though of playing like you’re confused when you hear the deadname used – ‘Who?? I don’t know who you’re referring to.'”
“‘No, I can’t think of any of my cousins who use that name.’ And then depending how nice you’re feeling, you could offer, ‘Perhaps you meant (new name)?’”
“But the points others made about using chosen names (such as Grandma!) to convey love and respect, as well as married name changes, are also good points and possible ways to handle the situation – perhaps even a combination of them.”-JamieJ90
The idea of grandma being transphobic and needing to learn a lesson is difficult to accept.
Hopefully OP can keep this a constructive process.