"The first time our child said he felt like a boy, he was 8," writes the dad behind this latest "Am I the A-hole?" post. His wife thought it was a phase; they put their kid in therapy, and they tried to bond more.
But now, their child is 18, and he told his parents he wants to change his name and start transitioning. He's known he is a boy for years at this point. Dad has accepted that this would happen and was prepared for it. They had years to get used to the idea. But his wife hasn't been supportive.
She insists that their son might just be "a tomboy lesbian." Dad thinks his wife is having trouble coming to terms with the idea that she has to let go of the "'daughter' she thought she had.'" He understands this; it was a learning process to see that his son was his son and not his "daughter."
But it's been 10 years. "We've known he's felt this way for years, we've had conversations about it, and she still stayed stuck in that phase of believing it's not real," he writes. She's in denial.
But their son is about to start transitioning, and now his wife is trying to convince him not to do this. He has chosen a new name, but his wife won't say it "because the one we gave him is 'such a beautiful name.'" His wife is denying the existence of their son, and OP has just about had it.
He explains that the last straw came a few nights ago when his wife posted a bunch of baby and school pictures of their son on Facebook with the caption, "my sweet baby girl," tagging their son. OP told her to delete it, and she did. But she also claimed she didn't understand what was wrong about what she was doing.
"I told her she knows exactly what she's doing and it needs to stop," OP writes. He told her he gets that it's a lot to adjust to but that she "needs to get over herself and be there for him because he's the one who needs the support right now." Can I just take a minute here to say, "Go Dad!"? This man knows that his wife is being ridiculous and knows what kind of harm her behavior can cause. And understands what his kid needs and deserves.
The "get over yourself" comment set his wife off. She got very upset and claimed that he has no idea what she is going through, that it's different for him because he's "gaining a son and she's 'losing a daughter,'" as if moms and dads should love their children differently based on their gender.
His wife clearly has outdated, harmful views on gender. Maybe she feels like she had a special bond with her child because they were the same gender, but that raises a lot of questions about how she would have felt about her kid had he been born in a male body.
OP came to Reddit because he told his sister what happened and she thought he was being insensitive to what his wife is "going through." He thinks maybe he wasn't being understanding enough. But Reddit swiftly corrected his thinking.
"You are NOT the a--hole," one person wrote. Someone else put it in perspective: "Trans youth whose family do not support them are at a ridiculously high risk of suicide. Tell your wife that you're sorry losing her daughter is so hard for her, but if she wants to keep her child in her life she needs to figure out a way to be there for him — or at least pretend to be until she goes to therapy and actually is — ASAP."
"YOU ARE SAVING YOUR SON'S LIFE BY BEING INSISTENT AND FIRM," another person wrote. "Your son comes first. You are doing just that. Please, PLEASE do not let your wife's self-pitying...draw you in."
She's had 10 years to come to grips with this. At this point, her refusal to accept her son is willful. She must accept him. If she can't bring herself to, she, as someone said, needs to fake it and until she can work on herself — and get serious therapy — so she can. She needs to recognize this failure to accept her son is her fault entirely, and she needs to do some massive work to get there. This is entirely on her.