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Trans man asks if he's wrong to insist fiancé wear 'appropriate' dress to work event.

Trans man asks if he's wrong to insist fiancé wear 'appropriate' dress to work event.


In this post OP, who is a trans man, asks a very serious question: Is telling your fiancé to dress the way you want them to for your work event, controlling them in a way you wouldn't want to be controlled yourself? Here's his story...

For background, my fiancé (30 cis f) works as an executive at a big company and gets to work from home in leggings and crop tops. She is regularly stating she loves that about her job–that she can do dyed hair, tattoos, etc. and they don’t care.

She also comes from generational wealth. She is also white. Comes from plantation money.

I do not (trans 29). I came from poverty and “trailer trash” and worked my way up to become a professor at a nice private college. I am Latinx. I love my job. I can wear dyed hair and tattoos and piercings too, but I dress professionally.

There was a nice work event to celebrate the fall quarter. The president of the college was there. It was in an art gallery downtown. Nice band. Fancy cocktails. We were allowed to bring a guest.

I was nervous because as an out trans guy, I regularly face a lot of micro aggressions in the workplace. Something my fiancé knows and makes jokes about me being the token diversity hire.

My fiancé picked out two dresses the night before and asked me what I thought. I picked the one that was flattering, but not skin tight, nicer material, and hugged her body in more appropriate areas. She got upset. Cried because I don’t accept her as she is.

The next day comes and I’m putting on my suit and tie. As I walk into the bathroom, I see her putting on the tight, less nice dress. We got into an argument. She put on the dress I picked.

She didn’t talk to me the whole night. Pouted.

She looked beautiful, but later she said I was controlling, that she felt rejected for who she is. I found out she told her friends who now think I’m a controlling toxic fiancé. AITA?

From the comments:

vikingsquad writes:

You say in a comment you don’t see how controlling a woman’s attire, as a man, might be construed as patriarchal behavior which I find to be a mind boggling proposition for a trans person to make.

Your partner sounds really rude and dismissive, regarding the diversity hire comment, but none of the other information regarding your respective backgrounds is material to the issue here which is you trying to control what she wears.

I don’t know why a form-fitting dress is immediately off the table for you, as it’s a fairly common type of thing to wear to events like what you’re mentioning in the story.

ESH - you for controlling your partner, her for her dismissive attitudes towards the type of rude behavior you face as a member of a marginalized group.

I really lean towards YTA because it’s incredibly bizarre that someone who presumably experiences gender dysphoria and would understand its relation to clothing would go so far to control another person, especially a woman (who I’m sure has faced gendered judgment on clothing before), and what they wear.

ProfessorBotanist OP responds:

I am not controlling what she is wearing in any other context. But at a work event? How would it have been if I wore jeans and tennis shoes to her event? She was representing me in a context she knows I already have a hard time as a trans person.

Powerful_Cat_4342 writes:

Info: are there normally tests like this to pass? I'm really stuck on the fact she put out two dresses and you choose the wrong one.

Based on the title I assumed she walked out in one dress and you vetoed it and asked her to change. I'm really uncomfortable with the test followed by such an extreme reaction. Feels like there's more going on here in your relationship.

ProfessorBotanist OP responded:

I wasn’t thinking of it as a test until now. So looking back, I see there have been other tests. I saved up for a trip to London for us. Planned it with her. Last minute she decided she didn’t want to go because I didn’t go to a conference with her because I was with my niece. I went to London anyways. I think that was a test too.

ouija_look_at_that writes:

Right, I rarely go to a girls outing without a fit check first.

ProfessorBotanist OP responded:

A large part of Brown queer culture is “reading” each other. My friends and I regularly come off as mean or roasting because care is making sure your loved ones don’t “look dumb”.

HolidayPanda9790 writes:

It might be irking to hear, but when you go to a work function of your partner as a +1 you are not your own individual, but a reflection of the other and you are there to make them calm and confident, not to have fun.

He is already the odd ball in a traditionally pretty conservative environment and he already feels attacked, he is not been controlling, he asked for his partner to be helpful and understanding and she went BUT MEEEEEE.

And by the way, when you give a person two choices it's because you can't choose or because you are unsure about the dress code, not as a test. She went full crazy and he wasn't even aware there was a wrong answer...

But I want to point out that while this situation doesn't warrant any problem, the first paragraph is absurd... Why is important to point out that: first, the gf is rich; second, the she has always been rich; third, that it comes from plantation money?

That might be a bad thing in itself, but does not concern the situation in the slightesy. Instead, it seems a clear attempt to make her look bad from the beginning.

ASleepandAForgetting writes:

I think that was an attempt to illustrate that OP's SO is privileged and has never had to experience the type of physical judgment that OP has had to deal with (being poor and trans). So she doesn't share OP's insecurities about dressing to 'fit in' and not get noticed.

I absolutely think that point was poorly communicated (if that's what OP was trying to say). If OP is saying that their SO traditionally dresses in more revealing/attention-seeking ways in her work environment, then OP just needs to come out and say so. There was a mention of her wearing crop tops and yoga pants (I am in a VERY casual job and crop tops would not fly here).

I think it was all an attempt to communicate that OP and the SO come from very different backgrounds that impact their views on what is and isn't appropriate to wear in a professional environment.

ProfessorBotanist OP responded:


LeadingJudgment2 writes:

I can see some reason as to why the first paragraph. People with that sort of background that he outlines about his partner often are very sheltered and don't always get workplace norms because they didn't have to conform before.

I think he's trying to highlight that to her getting to wear whatever you wanted for work is standard and because she is out of touch might be entitled to some leeway/grace. It's not unusual for people to look for make excuses for their partners faux paus even when it screws them over and not helpful to the overall conversation.

ProfessorBotanist OP responded:

Thank you for this. This was my thinking.

Sources: Reddit
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