It’s generally good to wonder if you’re guilty of transphobia, because then you’re acknowledging transphobia is a problem and having the skill set to address it head on.
Once you know you are part of the problem, you can take steps to fix it.
Redditor amigoingcrazytra went onto the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” in order to discern whether or not she was part of the problem.
“AITA for being angry that my trans friend is slowly morphing into me?”
She began at the very beginning—a very good place to start.
“I’m on mobile so excuse any typos, all names are fake. I’m 21, Alexa is 28. I moved to France at the beginning of the school year and met and befriended Alexa, who at the time identified as Alex. Alex was a blonde white man, I’m a middle eastern woman.”
“A couple of months after, Alex came out as trans and told us that she would be starting her transition. We were all happy for her, and that was that.”
“She jokingly mentioned that I was going to be her mentor for femininity because our other two girl friends are tomboys.”
It was then that Alexa began to really copy our Original Poster (OP):
“Alexa and I had very different interests and tastes, but following her coming out she started to get interested in my hobbies.”
“Which was great, cause who doesn’t want more friends into the same things as they are? Except as time went on, it became more and more intrusive.”
And then it got frighteningly specific.
“I would speak to Alexa about a new club or a new interest and she would be indifferent to it, but as soon as I joined she would show up as well and express who much she loved this specific thing.”
“I dabbled in art for a while, and when she heard this she went and bought a lot expensive equipment. When I told her I was no longer into it, she sold her equipment. This happened repeatedly with about 3 hobbies.”
And then it became unmistakable that Alexa was trying to copy OP in every way.
“I changed the dnd group I was in because of a scheduling conflict (made up of mutual friends), and she immediately followed me into the new one, which conflicted with her own schedule and was all strangers. She would change her opinions on things to match mine exactly, and would never disagree with me on any stance.”
“If I say the greatest movie is so and so, so is hers. If I change that opinion a week later, so does hers.”
“She then cut her hair to my length, colored it black and started curling it to match mine. Figured she was experimenting with new things.”
“Then she started tanning and using spray tans to get her skin looking like mine. That was the beginning of stepping into inappropriate behaviour. She signed up for Arabic classes shortly after, and went on to decorate her bedroom as close to mine as she can.”
You may have thought all the lines were crossed, but they were not.
“Then she found my ex through Facebook and started talking to him. I don’t even have my ex friended, which means she went and looked for him by name and had to filter out hundreds of profiles.”
“She then adopted a cat that looked exactly like mine, missing eye included and said I inspired her to do so. She also started photoshopping a scar like mine in her pictures.”
“But here is the last straw: she now announced that she wants to change her name to a new one: a short version of mine. An extremely Arab name that she can’t even pronounce right.”
But when OP set her boundaries, Alexa got very upset.
“I’ve told her that her behaviour bothered me multiple times, and she would apologize then just do it again. I reached out to her and told her I no longer want to be friends, and that I think she’s being very weird.”
“I’m now being called an a**hole and transphobic. She also told our mutual friends who are taking her side, except one.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
Redditors decided if the OP—or anyone else—was wrong by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Everyone was in full agreement—Alexa had crossed a line.
“NTA this is kind of scary on some black swan type of sh*t. It was fine when it was hobbies but now she’s trying to emulate you to a tee and that’s scary.”
“She needs to know that you no longer want to be friends because she’s trying to be you and it’s weird especially the tanning part and name changing thing. The ex part is extreme behavior as well. It’s not about her identity as a woman but her trying to be you and exhibiting stalkerish habits.”~Amanya98
“All I can think of right now are those old horror stories about doppelgängers who try to take your place. OP, absolutely NTA, and CUT THIS WOMAN OFF.”
“This is completely up to you, but I would also try to contact your ex about this. She may be trying to divulge information about what you were like when you were dating and using that to feed her stalker delusions. I wouldn’t be surprised if she starts spouting your old dating stories as ‘her stories’.” ~young-il-long-kiyosh
“NTA! Me reading the first paragraph: Well, she is trying to find her own identity and idolizes OP a bit too much perhaps. Me reading the last paragraphs: RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN OP!”~TZH85
- Is dressing up in literal brownface.
- Adopted a pet, a lifelong commitment barring serious extenuating circumstances, just to imitate you.
- Cyberstalked and attempted to get with your ex solely because he is your ex.
- Is stalking you in person by showing up to all your hobby events.
- Is now trying to name herself after you.”
“OP, you are so NTA it’s unreal. Alexa sounds like the most aggressive race fetishizer I’ve ever heard of.”
“It must be sad and painful for Alexa not to have any other woman in her life she feels comfortable going to for advice, but she cannot manage that pain by attempting to become you. I hope she realizes how horribly inappropriate she’s been to you as she progresses in her transition.” ~ironfronthungary
“NTA. That’s basically trying to steal your identity. She’s not only stalking you but trying to copy you in every way possible.”
“Honestly, get as far from her as possible and using the ‘well, that means you’re transphobic’ is so f*cking wrong. Everyone who took her side while knowing the true story also sucks.”
“For heavens’ sake, you really got unlucky this time. I hope you get better friends and I wish you luck!”~FlyingLOLIpop
“NTA. As a trans person myself, there is nothing transphobic about your desire to cut off a toxic (ex) friend who was not only stalking you but also being racist and culturally appropriative.”
“The fact that she’s trans doesn’t have anything to do with why you cut her off. It may be that she doesn’t have a trans mentor but that doesn’t give her the right to behave creepily and to take giant leaps over your (overtly and repeatedly stated!) boundaries.”
“I’m so sorry that not only are you having to deal with someone being so scary but that the majority of your friends are too afraid of being considered transphobic (my guess) to support you.”
“She’s a person first and foremost, just like you and me, and all people have the ability to go too far (although hopefully not that far!), and it is your (healthy) right to terminate the relationship when it is not good for you.”
“You did the right thing and even gave her lots of chances. You don’t deserve any of this treatment.”~aliencatgrrr
“NTA, that’s got nothing to do with being transphobic, more with the fact that she’s trying to be you. That’s kinda identity theft in a way.”
“It’s good to have a mentor and someone who can help you to find new hobbies and inspirations, but going so far as to fake tan and photoshop scars? That’s all kinda intrusive and very weird.”
“That she messaged your ex especially. And the name on top? Holy crap. You’re not TA. She’s just trying to BE you.”
“I think she should see a professional about this because it doesn’t sound like healthy behavior at all. Especially while transitioning this could have horrible effects on her psyche in the long term as well.”
“Other than that…I don’t blame you for not wanting to be friends anymore.”~seespr
With folks who are members of marginalized communities, boundaries are a tricky line to navigate. You never know how your boundaries could be secret fears that are negatively affecting that person.
But when somebody is literally trying to assume your identity and dressing up as you…a line in the sand is more than understandable.
The book The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate is available here.