At times it can feel like we've made some great progress with regards to how we treat people who are LGBTQ+. I mean, gay marriage is legal now, so everything is good right?
Despite this, we in America have a long way to go. Protections for non-heteronormative people are lacking, and many still refuse to accept their children when they come out.
It's time we return to our favorite board on Reddit, AITA. For those not in the know, AITA is short for "Am I the A**hole?"
Responses can vary, but are usually one of these:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- INFO - Not Enough Information
Today, Reddit user snfbeppoebwuuuuuuuu (which feels a little long, so we'll shorten it to OP for 'original poster') tells us about their history with their son.
He begins explaining how he messed up, right off the bat.
"I acted horrible when my son Jessie first came out to me, I will admit."
"He was 16 when he came out to me and I made him go to conversion therapy. Something I will regret for the rest of my life. I made him break up with his boyfriend and sent him off."
"It messed him up and I know how much it hurt him."
It's admittedly a little refreshing to have someone asking for advice online acknowledge how they messed up before moving in further.
If you don't think it's that bad, you have no idea what goes on in there. At best, it's useless and does nothing but hurt the person put through it.
At worst, it's torture and abuse, which OP acknowledges.
"When he was 20 he eventually confronted me about this and what it did to him and I eventually came to terms with what I had done. I began to accept him and his partner, slowly at first, but eventually all together."
"Recently Jessie and same have announced their engagement and that they are hoping to get married once Covid restrictions lift up."
"Jessie called me directly and told me that him and his partner are not comfortable having me at the wedding because of what happened when Jessie was a kid."
OP's son has found a partner he wants to spend the rest of his life with. And despite the strides forward he's made, OP is not invited.
This sucks. What OP did was horrible, but he's learned from his mistakes, right?
The pain of what a parent will do when they hold homophobic beliefs is difficult to move past.
Which brings op to their question.
"I told him I understood but I do love him and I have changed and I would love to attend and support him."
"He told me that he had made up his mind and to stop mentioning it. He seemed angry."
"I feel like I need perspective on this. I do feel like I have changed and I would love to be there but I also understand their perspective."
So, is this dad the jerk here?
Reddit was quick to say, 'Yes.'
"YTA Every SECOND of his time that you are granted is a privilege that you DID NOT earn. You caused him life long trauma and you deserve to live with life long consequences."
"It doesn't matter if you changed, the horror that you caused him never will. He may cut you off tomorrow and be right for it. Do not overstep and do not push." - UglyDuffelBag
"YTA. You don't deserve to be at his wedding, you lost any right to a relationship with him when you sent him to conversion therapy. Feel blessed that he talks to you at all." - milkywaes
"How kind and accepting you say you are now does nothing to change what you did to him."
"He's under no obligation to risk giving you access to what should be a joyous occasion after you inflicted a life-altering trauma on him to try to take exactly this out of his life." - SonorousBlack
However if we look over the post again, there's more nuance than there first seems.
This is difficult to answer. Stay with me here, but despite telling a story of treating his son horribly and asking the titular question, OP hasn't actually explained what they have done.
He put his son in what is tantamount to abuse, learned his lesson, and tried to rebuild his relationship. Despite the change, the son is dis-inviting him from the wedding.
So what is the actual question here?
"I agree with this. The question isn't whether OP was an a****le for treating his son horribly (OP is). The question is (paraphrasing bc OP worded it really weird but whatever) whether they're an a****le for telling their son they'd like to come to his wedding?"
"That in and of itself isn't a******ish since OP is trying to treat their son better and show his support. I don't think OP would become the a****le unless they continued to push the issue of the wedding invitation."
"The son said no and OP seems to be respecting their son's wishes thus far, as they should." - Dull-Community
"I'm going to be a lot gentler than some of the others here."
"You've made a remarkable change. That doesn't make-up for what you put your son through or invalidate the anger and the resentment he might/probably still holds toward you."
"But I do want to congratulate and thank you for this change. It takes a lot to change. It takes even more to admit and own to your past mistakes rather than just burying those things."
"That said, your son has every right to feel what he feels and YTA/YWBTA if you keep pressing this issue. All that you need/should do at this time is make certain that your son understands how much you love him and that NOW you respect his life, who he loves, and ultimately his choices."
"You can't change the past or what you did. You can move forward and make positive changes to make up for those things. That begins with not pressuring your son to accept YOUR feelings, but rather considering HIS." - dramaandaheadache
In the end, here's the honest truth: it doesn't matter that OP feels he's trying to fix things, his son has every right to deny him an invitation to his wedding.
When you wrong someone like this, you don't get to decide how and when that relationship is repaired. If you're a good person, you will do right, and do better even if there's no chance of ever getting back to normal.
Even if that person walks out of your life entirely.
OP is very lucky his son is still in his life. He's even luckier that he gets to continue that relationship.
But he doesn't get to decide when his son feels healed enough.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*