Fury as Mom Outs Teenage Son Before He's Ready: 'It Was Obvious'

A mom who "outed" her teenage son before he was ready is being blasted by Reddit users.

In a post to the Am I the A******? (AITA) forum, user u/platefoodaway said she'd suspected her 17-year-old son is gay for a while.

"My son is fairly masculine/straight acting if that makes sense, however he's very obviously had a boyfriend for the past seven months," she wrote.

As well as cuddling, baby-talking and buying the suspected boyfriend gifts, the poster's son shuts his bedroom door when he visits. The pair spend almost every day together, and for the last few months, the teen has been taking extra care with his appearance.

Mom pleading with her angry teenage son
A stock photo of a mom pleading with her teenage son, who has turned away from her in anger. The poster laughed at her son when he claimed he was straight. JackF/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"He now always smells great, has his hair fixed really nice, and dresses nicer, among other things," she said.

The family is going on a trip soon, and platefoodaway asked her son if he was planning on inviting his boyfriend.

"He got awkward and said 'that's not funny,'" she wrote.

"I asked what he meant and he said 'I'm straight.' I laughed and when I realized he was serious I started laughing even harder."

The poster told the teen he was doing a "terrible job" of hiding his romance. He became emotional and begged her not to tell his dad.

"My husband already knows, like I said it was obvious," she wrote.

"Then [my son] got upset, saying I outed him when he wasn't ready. He hasn't said a word to me in a couple days. AITA?"

In the poll attached to the post, Reddit users voted platefoodaway "the a******" in the situation. Since being shared on February 4, the story has received over 13,000 upvotes and almost 4,000 comments slamming her behavior.

Why You Should Never 'Out' Someone

M. Fok, a counselor specializing in LGBTQ and gender transitioning issues, said it's never ok to reveal a person's sexual orientation or gender identity without their consent.

"Outing someone can be harmful in many ways," they told Newsweek.

"It can lead to a loss of privacy and control over personal information, and can cause emotional trauma such as feelings of shame and embarrassment."

Upset teenage boy with head in hands
A stock photo of an upset teenage boy with his head in his hands. M. Fok, a counselor specializing in LGBTQ+ and gender transitioning issues, said disclosing someone's sexual orientation without their consent can be dangerous, as well as disrespectful. PKpix/iStock/Getty Images Plus

As some LGBTQ people's families, friends and colleagues are not accepting of their sexual orientation, outing them can lead to isolation, as well as put them at risk of discrimination, harassment and violence.

Disclosing a person's LGBTQ status is also a huge breach of trust, and can damage a relationship beyond repair.

"It is important to allow people to control their personal information and respect their privacy," Fok said.

"It's essential to be patient and wait for them to share on their own terms."

'It's a Classic Case of Miscommunication'

Users criticized the poster for outing her son early, with Only-Main8948 calling her actions "humiliating."

"OP just laughed in his face about a core part of his identity," said ScroochDown.

"You need to understand how hard it is for gay people to come out and them coming out is their rite of passage," wrote Untimely_manners.

"Being outed against your will regardless of the circumstances is terrifying and pretty horrible," agreed NatchWon.

However, some users believed the poster had good intentions, even if she didn't express herself appropriately.

A mother and teenage son arguing
A stock photo of a mother and teenage son arguing. The poster's son is refusing to talk to her after the incident. PIKSEL/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"I can see how OP thought it would not be a big deal since it was so obvious, but clearly the son thought he was being sneaky," said nostalgeek81. "It's a classic case of miscommunication."

"OP didn't do it with malicious intent," wrote Lylibean. "It sounds like OP is supportive."

"They had a lapse in emotional judgment regarding a queer child, especially since they are possibly hetero and have likely not experienced that themselves," commented Headmaster PrimeMnstr.

While averysmartbug said: "The son might feel embarrassed right now, but he has also learned his parents think it's no big deal. In a few years he'll be laughing about this too."

Newsweek reached out to u/platefoodaway for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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