Parents Stir Debate for Refusing to Pay Gay Son's Tuition After Coming Out

A couple stirred a debate online after revealing that they weren't going to help their son pay his college tuition after his grandmother found out he was gay and stopped paying for her grandson's schooling.

The Original Poster (OP), known as u/throwaway-37463782, posted about the situation in Reddit's popular "Am I The A**hole" forum where it received more than 9,300 upvotes and 3,500 comments. The post can be found here.

College Tuition

The annual tuition for traditional four-year colleges in the U.S. for the 2021-2022 school year averaged at $10,740 for public in-state students and $27,560 for out-of-state students, according to CollegeBoard data.

For students attending private four-year colleges in the U.S., this cost averages closer to $38,070 per year—an $800 increase from the year before.

Parents stir debate not paying son's tuition
Here, a stock image of a father talking with his son. Commenters were divided about whether or not a woman should be paying her son's college tuition after his grandmother refused to pay because she found out her grandson was gay. T Turovska/iStock

According to CollegeBoard data, students and parents borrowed $95.9 billion dollars in the 2020-2021 school year.

More than half of borrowers with outstanding loans owed less than $20,000 as of March 2021, with 45 percent of the outstanding loan debt held by 10 percent of borrowers who owe more than $80,000.

About 23 percent of borrowers were 50 years or older, making up $1.59 trillion of the outstanding federal loan balance as of March 2021.


In the post titled "AITA for refusing to pay from my gay son's tuition after he came out to his family?" the 40-year-old woman said her 19-year-old son came out to her and her husband when he was 14.

"My husband and I are both atheists and support the LGBTQ+ community and were both proud of our son for coming out," the post read. "However, my husband's mother is a devout Catholic and is extremely intolerant of gay people."

The OP said her children were told from a young age that their wealthy grandmother would pay for their college under one condition: they attend a private Christian or Catholic school.

"She believes this will keep them from partying, having premarital sex, etc.," the post read. "I don't agree with this and have argued my children getting the best education possible regardless of the school's religious affiliation should be her top priority, but she refuses to change her mind."

The OP said her son is about to start his second year at a Christian college that is located one state away and that the year has already been paid for. Since her son graduated with many college credits, he is slated to graduate college in three years rather than four.

Recently, the OP's son came home to celebrate his grandmother's birthday. During the party, he told one of his cousins that he was "talking to a boy" at his school. Although he thought the secret was safe, his cousin told his parents who told another family member until his aunt and uncle outed him to his grandmother.

In response, the grandmother called the OP to inform her that she will no longer be making payments toward his tuition and to relay the message to him that she will no longer be speaking to him.

'Prioritizing a Remodel'

"I have told him many times not to come out to his grandma, cousins, aunt or uncle until he was through with college," the post read. "I hate that he can't be himself, but my husband and I cannot afford his college."

The OP said she plans on going no contact with her mother-in-law after her other two children, 15 and 13 years old, have their tuition paid for.

"My son is okay with me waiting to do so for the sake of his siblings," the post read. "He will unfortunately have to take out student loans and eat the cost of his final year. My son is obviously devastated he both will not have his final year of college paid for next year and that his cousin is not someone he can trust."

But now, the OP's son is asking her to cover his future tuition since they have savings.

"We have $25k saved up currently that we plan on using for much needed kitchen renovations," the post read. "Our oven barely works, our dishwasher doesn't work at all, and the kitchen itself is worn down and outdated. My son is calling me an a**hole for prioritizing to a 'remodel' over his education."

The OP said she has explained that the kitchen is "falling apart" and that the cost even if they postponed the renovation, they would still be short on the costs of his private school.

"I feel like he is an adult and he needs to be the one to deal with the consequences, not us," the post read. "AITA for not using our family's savings to cover his remaining tuition?"

Redditor Reactions

More than 3,500 users commented on the post, with some defending the OP and others criticizing her decision.

"YTA. Not because you can't afford it and letting your adult son figure it out...but for saying it was his fault he lost his money," one user commented, receiving more than 20,000 upvotes. "You are more angry at your child than at the little tattle-tale who vomited homophobia at the first chance they got."

"NTA. In truth, the problem is your bigoted MIL, not you or your son," another user commented. "However, you just cannot give your son what you cannot afford. He will simply have to take out a student loan, but maybe he could transfer his credits to a state college which would probably be less expensive."

"Your title is highkey bs—he didn't come out to his family. He came out to one person that he thought he could trust, and that person outed him to everyone else," another commented. "Overall, though, I have to say NAH—it's understandable that you don't want to dump your savings, and it's understandable that he's upset about losing his college."

"As a lesbian, this one's on your son & personally I would maybe help him navigate finding the best scholarships, loans, whatever," another commented. "Or help him look into transferring somewhere else for his last year he can more afford. It sucks but...he did this to himself"

"NTA. Mostly," another user commented. "I don't think paying for your kid's higher education is an obligation. It's nice if parents are wealthy enough to do so, but he's an adult now...Someone was willing to foot his bill. That changed. Now he needs to pay for it himself. It happens."

"Kindly...YTA. You have a homosexual son and a homophobe was paying his tuition," one user commented. "How can you not think that the situation would explode eventually? How can you not plan ahead, knowing the day would come where she learn the truth and close her check book ?"

"NTA your son got 2 years of college free so he'll only have to finance a single year," another commented. "Go ahead and do your renovations, he knew the terms of the agreement and he chose to talk about his relationship instead of keeping quiet. A years worth of loans won't kill him."

Newsweek reached out to u/throwaway-37463782 for comment.

Other Viral Posts

In another viral Reddit post, a woman was supported for defending her parents when they decided to disown her brother for coming out as gay.

One woman shocked commenters when she revealed she is planning on marrying a gay man because they are best friends. In another post, a man was cheered for refusing to help his estranged family with money.