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Dad jokingly responds 'that's so gay' to son coming out, son gets upset, leaves. UPDATED.

Dad jokingly responds 'that's so gay' to son coming out, son gets upset, leaves. UPDATED.


Coming out can be an incredibly scary experience, an incredibly empowering experience, or some awkward third experience that looms in the middle. Wherever it falls, it can feel vulnerable to first tell family.

People who aren't LGBTQ still underestimate this, especially if they consider themselves supportive. There are often shrugs of 'I already knew' or 'why do you even need to tell anyone' that illustrate just how people don't understand the heteronormativity of everyday life - and how breaking out of that still requires unpacking.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a dad asked if he was wrong for reacting with a joke to his son's coming out. He wrote:

'AITA for how I (37M) reacted to my son (17M) coming out to me?'

It's been pointed out that my title wording makes the post seem worse than it is, I apologize for that, it wasn't my intention. So, I've always known my son had an interest in men. He was slow on the pick up of incognito mode, and from the searches he made, I figured he was at least 'Bi-curious' (if that's the proper term for it) since he hit puberty.

Well, last year, he started bringing a boy around, and it was obvious they were dating, to the point I figured that he knew I knew, and it wasn't a big deal to anyone. Well, apparently, I was wrong. After school yesterday he and his boyfriend came up to me and said there was something really important they needed to tell me. My son said that they were dating and had been for a year.

Well...I was surprised that he wasn't aware I knew and was a bit thrown off. My mouth moved faster than my brain and I said 'Well, that's pretty f$%king gay.'

Now, I thought it was peak comedy, since it is in fact gay.

However, I understand using the word gay in that way gives it a very negative undertone, hence the mouth faster than brain comment. Now my son and I are usually pretty 'edgy' with our humor, this being fairly tame for the stuff we joke about. While probably not appropriate for the situation, it wasn't our norm for a conversation between us. He and his boyfriend were very, very upset and left.

I'm probably the AH but I thought I would check, and see if y'all had some advice on what I can say to fix it. He currently won't respond to my texts or calls.

People didn't hold back one bit.

Lesbian-Mermaid wrote:

YTA for the wording. I won’t lie, as someone who has been out and proud for years that joke made me laugh my @$$ off. But your son needed support more than humor. In the grand scheme of things though I was expecting much worse from the title, so I think if you just apologize and explain that you meant it in a humorous way and that you fully accept him and his partner, you and your son will be fine.

SureCan0604 wrote:

YTA but I see what you were trying to do. I'm glad that from the sounds of it, your son has a very supportive parent in you. A lot of us don't, so for real, props to you. But your son only had one chance at coming out to you. It's a big moment for him, and your response was to make a joke.

I know you were trying to indicate that this wasn't a big deal to you in a bad sense, but I get why it was hurtful for your son and his boyfriend. Maybe apologizing and asking if you can have a second chance at acknowledging this moment for him would help turn it around.

Massive-Antelope-856 wrote:

You're the funny AH here. Trust me, in a very short space of time, you and your son will look back on the moment and laugh about it.

Just give him time to simmer down, apologize and explain you knew and thought it was very obvious it was just an unspoken understanding and no big deal made about it and again, say sorry for not realizing he wasn't yet at the place mentally about the situation that you were and obviously thought he was.

MaddyFatty wrote:

I'm clearly outnumbered, but I think NAH. Just somebody that made a joke at an inappropriate time. Who hasn't? You live and learn. You clearly don't judge your kid for his sexuality and I assume you just wanted to show acceptance by breaking the tension with an attempt at humor. Just apologize for joking during a moment that was clearly important to him and ask how you can best support him moving forward.

Regular_Boot_3540 wrote:

You made a mistake. I don't think that makes you an AH. You made a joke that flopped. Now you just have to apologize sincerely and give him an opportunity to have a conversation on the topic that leaves the jokes aside. You're doing your best. I say dumb things to my trans son on occasion, and I'm usually forgiven.

After receiving lots of advice, OP jumped on with an update:

I did not expect this to gain so much traction. It's a bit intimidating, lol. I am reading all the comments, though. Anyways, here is a small update - He's at his grandparents' house, which I knew. He told them to tell me he'll be home tomorrow after school to talk. I'll update you all after the conversation. Thank you for your responses. I really appreciate it.

Hopefully, he comes back with a final update - either way, it sounds like he took the comments to heart in a good way.

Sources: Reddit
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