Having supportive parents when you come out of the closet is a scenario any LGBTQ person could hope for.
But is there such a thing as being too supportive?
That is what Redditor aitaencourage was struggling with when he and his wife clashed over how to talk to their 12-year-old son about girls (or boys).
So he turned to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for ‘encouraging’ my son to be gay?”
The Original Poster (OP) recounted when he had the heated conversation with his wife.
“This happened before lockdown, but I just keep thinking about it.”
“My wife (35 f[emale]) and I (37 m[ale]) have a twelve year old son. My wife usually picks our son up from school, and one day she saw him walking out of class with a female classmate.”
“At dinner that night she brought it up, saying how they looked so cute together and how they seemed to be so close, much to my son’s dismay and embarrassment.”
“She kept joking that they would be such a cute couple and what not. She made one comment about how when he gets a girlfriend, she would want to meet her straight away.”
“I very casually said ‘or boyfriend’ at the end of my wife’s sentence.”
“My wife and I are not homophobic in any form, and if my son were to be gay or bi or any variant of the LGBTQ+ community, we would be accepting (as every parent should).”
“However, after I made that comment, my son was extremely uncomfortable and excused himself from the table to eat in his room.”
“My wife told me is was inappropriate to say that because it made him uncomfortable. I said that she was already making him uncomfortable by saying all this stuff about his classmate.”
“She said that she was only doing it to encourage him to be open to us about his future relationships and to show him he can talk to us about anything. So I said I was also encouraging him to be open to us because I showed him that we wouldn’t care about his sexual preference so he could see, if he were gay, we would be accepting.”
“My wife said he’s too young to know if he’s gay or not, and that I was ‘encouraging’ him to be gay when he’s too young to understand. I called her out on her comment and said she sounded homophobic, and she got very angry with me.”
“A little while later, after the argument ended, my wife went over to apologize to our son for making him uncomfortable. When she came out of his room, she told me to go speak to him and apologize too.”
“I went to his room and said sorry if the comment made him uncomfortable but I was just trying to show him his mother and I would be accepting. He told me he was straight and I told him he’s young, and if things change in the future we would be accepting.”
“My wife over heard this and she lost it at me. She told me to stop trying to force our son to be gay when he told me that he’s straight.”
“Another argument ensued and, honestly, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I’m just showing him we would be accepting but she keeps saying I’m making ‘inappropriate’ comments which just make him uncomfortable.”
“My wife went to speak to our son again and asked him if he was uncomfortable with the comments I keep making, and he said ‘I’m straight, can you just leave it at that and shut up’. I know my son may have been uncomfortable with the comments I made, but I think it’s worth it if that means he would be open to us about his sexuality in the future.”
“My wife is insisting that he’s straight so there’s no need to keep bringing up the possibility that he’s gay and that I’m trying to ‘force’ our son to be gay.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
“ESH; you’re both making your son uncomfortable. Not every single teenager (pre-teen here) is going to want to talk to their parents about their sexuality.”
“You know he was uncomfortable but yet you both continued to push the issue. Basically you are saying ‘I know he is uncomfortable, but I don’t care as long as I get in my say.'” – Shawn91111
This was an all-too-familiar situation for this Redditor.
“My parents were like these two, they were intensely overbearing any time I had the slightest interaction with a girl my age.”
“I think they were just excited and trying to show an interest but I found it mortifying. I stopped telling them about my love life because I didn’t want to have the overbearing conversations.”
“I’m 28 now and I still don’t really talk about my relationship with them, because I learned from a young age that any conversation with my parents about love will be 20 minutes of my parents making WAY too big a deal about it and grilling me with every possible question.” – callsignhotdog
This Redditor implied the OP aimed too high during the talk he had with his son.
“Honestly I was with OP for most of the story, up until his son told him he was Straight and he said ‘OK but you’re young, you might change your mind’.”
“He’d made it very clear to his son that he was loved no matter what, great, A+ parenting there, but he really needed to drop it at that point.”
“Put it the other way round, if his son had told him he was gay, and he said ‘OK but you’re young you might change your mind’ we’d all be baying for his blood right now.”
“To me it seems like OP was a bit too eager to be the LGBT-supportive Dad rather than making his son feel comfortable.” – callsignhotdog
This Redditor accused the OP’s wife of pushing a “toxic” agenda.
“ESH is right, but I have to say Mom sucks more.”
“She’s pushing the narrative that boys can only have girl friends who are girlfriends. This is why I’ve never pushed my sons about their female friends as girlfriends.”
“Toxic masculinity starts with socialization, and Mom’s pushing the toxic narrative.” – jadefishes
“I think it’s a false equivalence to say both parents’ behavior is problematic in this case.”
“OP just let the kid know it’s fine for him to like whomever he ends up liking, but didn’t push him to talk about it. Sure, the kid may feel awkward about it, but what doesn’t make a 12 year old feel awkward?”
“It wasn’t like OP was pushing a romantic narrative on the kid like the mom was.” – villalulaesi
This Redditor also believed the mother exacerbated an already awkward conversation.
“The mom in this situation made it worse.”
“This is a supportive dad. He wasn’t forcing anything, he made a one off comment and that was it that he had planned. The wife made it worse and continued it.”
“Dad is NTA.”
“As an LGBTQ+ person, the dad’s original plan was simple, supportive, and just right. The mom just made it worse.”
“Sure, it’s uncomfortable, even his first statement, but that was 2 words and that was it.”
“Teenagers will always be embarrassed by their parents. It’s moments like these looking back when you or anyone else who is young, will look back and know what kind of parent their parent(s) were, good or bad. In this case, a good one.” – Audicity
While a majority of the comments declared ESH, most Redditors believed the mother was overreacting the most.