For many transgender people, family gatherings can be…complicated, to say the least. Anti-trans bigotry always stings, but it is especially painful when it comes from people who are supposed to love you unconditionally. Even well-meaning family members can make offensive blunders, such as using incorrect pronouns or the wrong name when referring to a relative.
Reddit user @lovemiamoro knows this struggle firsthand. She took to the famed /AmITheAsshole Subreddit for some insight into a hurtful exchange with her father. A 30-year-old trans woman, @lovemiamoro came out at 24 and has embarked on a medical transition to align her physical appearance with her gender identity. The process has been hugely beneficial to her mental health.
“Before my transition I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression,” she recalled. “Now that I finally did my medical transition, I don’t look male at all. I had intense facial feminization surgery. I wanted no traces of masculine features. … Most people around me call me by my chosen name and use the correct pronouns.”
One notable exception? Her father.
On a recent family trip, her dad reconnected with some old friends. He pulled @lovemiamoro and her brother aside to introduce them to his friends. It was all well and good until he referred to her as “his oldest son,” blatantly misgendering her in front of everybody.
The offensive exchange later ballooned into a blowout fight: “My brother goes and shakes their hand[s] because it’s a polite thing to do, and my dad is extremely strict on that. I simply just walked away without shaking their hand[s], not even saying hi. My dad was MAD and scolded me after they were gone. He said that I embarrassed him because of my attitude. I yelled at him that I was not his son and that his oldest son is completely DEAD. So am, I the asshole for walking away?”
AITA Redditors were quick to put the situation in perspective for @lovemiamoro. Remember, she came out six whole years ago! That’s more than enough time for her father to learn and respect her name, pronouns, and gender identity even if he doesn’t totally understand it. After all, there is no excuse for knowingly misgendering someone.
“Absolutely NTA,” wrote one commenter. “It’s been SIX YEARS since you started transitioning. He’s had plenty of time to figure it out. Hell, I think you didn’t shame him hard enough. You were way more gentle than I would have been.”
Others noted that her father essentially outed her as a trans woman since she looks so feminine, opening the door to transphobic comments or violence from others.
“He’s introducing you as someone you’re not despite knowing fully well that you are a woman and have an entirely different identity than the one he’s clinging to,” another Redditor chimed in. “The person he’s referencing is long gone; it’s called a ‘dead name’ for a reason. You have every right to walk away from that conversation, as well as walk away from him entirely.”
@lovemiamoro was so touched by the outpouring of support that she updated her post with a thank-you: “I think it’s time to have a serious talk and tell him how it makes me feel when I am misgendered and deadnamed. I’ve been avoiding family therapy and I think it’s time. … Thank you all for the wonderful loving messages and your outstanding support.”
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