Reddit Mom Is Ready to Divorce Unsupportive Husband To Protect Her Nonbinary Child
CW: This post contains mention of suicide and an unsupportive parent of a LGBTQIA+ teen.
The transition from junior high to high school is challenging in many ways—for both kids and parents—but for one Reddit mom, it's become even more harrowing because of her husband. In the Parenting subreddit, the original poster (OP), writing under the handle r/YomaLou in a now deleted post, shared that her child, who's in eighth grade and making plans for high school, has always attended a Catholic school where they've been "horrifically bullied" and "told on numerous occasions by the kids at this school to 'go kill herself.'" But the obvious solution—transferring her child to public school—is against her spouse's wishes.
Note from Parents.com: We don't know what pronouns the teen uses in this story. Many nonbinary folks use gender neutral pronouns while some use multiple pronouns such as she/they. We are keeping what was written by the OP because our hope is that those pronouns were used intentionally, and we can't confirm that the teen does not use she/her pronouns.
"My daughter identifies as nonbinary and likely gay," wrote the OP. "Not being accepted has been awful for her. So many nights I've held her while she cries that all she wants is a friend. It absorbs my life."
Although both the mom and her child want to switch to a public school, and the teen told the OP "she would kill herself if forced to go to an all girls Catholic high school," the OP's husband "is not backing down."
"He says he'd rather die than send her to a public school that is more closely aligned with leftist thought," explained the OP. "He told me tonight if she goes to the public school he will use all his energy to fight the school, he'd go to the news, all the meetings everything to oppose critical race theory and gender neutral bathrooms."
Sadly, the reality is that LGBTQIA+ students are the ones who are hurt and die by suicide in these situations. The rates for self-inflicted harm is much higher for students who do not identify as cisgender and/or straight. LGBTQIA+ kids need support not unaccepting and abusive parents.
The OP is now contemplating divorce. "I hate to break up my family, but I feel with all my heart that my daughter will not thrive if forced to an all girls Catholic high school, but now she'll be an outcast at the public school too as he intends to call so much attention to these issues that she might struggle there as well," she noted.
She then turned it over to commenters, writing, "Is there anything I can do?"
The Reddit parenting community quickly jumped in with plenty of solutions and opinions.
r/D2020ysf acknowledged the emergency nature of the situation, writing, "First and most important, do not send your daughter to school tomorrow. Tomorrow, you need to get a mental health professional lined up. Your daughter is saying she will kill herself if sent to an all girls school, that means she is thinking about killing herself now. Right now, your daughter had told you she is suicidal. F*** your husband and those backwards actions and feelings."
And r/abran_muffin pointed out, "Something tells me the issue here is that your husband thinks if he forces your child to go to a school filled with girls (which your child has said they are not) then he can force your child to be a girl. This isn't about school. This is about your child's safety and identity. Whatever decision you make, your child will remember. It will shape the rest of their life."
Another, writing under r/perilouszoot, summed the situation perfectly, observing, "I think you already know what you need to do, and I understand being scared because it will very likely be a huge battle. Your husband's choosing politics over his child is what is ending your marriage. Your child deserves a safe place, and a parent who puts their needs first. Your child is desperate for you to choose them, and put them first. Listen. Your child did not choose to be LGBTQIA, but your husband IS choosing to be a small-minded bigot. Not only should you divorce him, you should seek full custody to protect your child."
r/KieraJacque stated plainly, "F*** your husband, he cares more about his own political beliefs than the life of his child. He has no business being a parent. Signed a queer adult with a conservative father."
Later in the thread, the OP admitted that she's afraid of her husband and afraid to leave. "I don't know where to go," she wrote. "I no longer have connections with family or friends. I get a monthly allowance that would not support four kids. And he's called the police on me in the past saying things that are not true, they might side with him and take my children away in which case they'd be way worse off. The danger you know is better than the one you don't. If I could just hop up and go, I would. It's just not that easy. And I'm not leaving my kids behind."
Ultimately, she seemed to more prepared to figure out a path out of her marriage for the sake of her child, noting, "Gosh I hate to do this. Divorce is so hard on kids. But maybe in my case, it'll actually make life easier for them."
As heartbreaking and difficult as ending any marriage can be—let alone when the situation is as inflamed as it is here—it seems the OP sees the writing on the wall. Here's hoping she gets the support she needs to protect herself and her children.