r/AmITheAsshole? Asexuality Edition #2
Lots of you asked us for more Asexual AITA, so here we are once again! Today we read and share our perspectives on 8 different Reddit stories that all pertain to asexuality.
- Story 1 (Now deleted, but available to read via the WayBack Machine)
- Story 2
- Story 3
- Story 4
- Story 5
- Story 6
- Story 7
- Story 8
Courtney: Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Ace Couple podcast. My name is Courtney, I am here with Royce, and together we are The Ace Couple. And we are diving back into the deep, dark depths of Reddit again today for r/AmItheAsshole: Asexuality Edition, Part 2.
Courtney: Now, I feel like we had an interesting time the first time we did a Reddit episode, and lots of people really liked the Am I the Asshole episode, so we definitely wanted to do another. Then we tried to do an episode where we perused r/AreTheStraightsOkay, and that was kind of fun, but it was also hard to do in podcast form because so many of those were just, like, memes or had visual references.
Royce: I also thought that there was less nuance and more of just people sucking.
Courtney: Yeah, lots of that. There was also very much, like, not a lot of additional commentary we could put in for all of the posts, because some of them it’s like, well, the post made its point and yep, that’s a point! But I like AmITheAsshole Because it is people presenting themselves for judgment to the internet. So we are going to be the voice of asexual judgment. [laughs] I still don’t have my gavel though! That’s a shame. But let’s go ahead and get started. I’m going to read the first one, and then Royce, I think you have a few, and then we’re just going to flip flop back and forth until we filled up all a whole gosh dang podcast episode.
Courtney: This first post has actually since been deleted, but courtesy of the Wayback Machine, we are able to see everything just fine. Before it did get deleted it got a ton of attention. As of August 28th, it was at 18.7 thousand up votes. So definitely not a small post, but it is entitled: Am I the asshole for – quote – “slut shaming” my sister after I found a condom under my bed? [Reading] “Some info about me, I’m a 23 year old female and I’m sex-repulsed asexual. However, if someone loves sex I’m never ever rude to them or think bad about them. If they have a healthy sex life and they are happy, I’m happy for them too. So into the problem–”
Courtney: First of all, like, poor thing always has to qualify that. Every time you say you’re a sex repulsed asexual you have to say, like, “It’s okay if you’re not.” There’s just– there’s just something about saying you’re a sex repulsed asexual that a lot of people think that they’re going to be judging everyone else for having sex, and that is just very rarely been the case.
Royce: Where does that come from? Because I feel like you could apply the same thing to–
Courtney: Vegans? [laughs]
Royce: Yeah, I was– I was trying to figure out how to word it. I was going to say anything that involves a moral choice, which your orientation is not a part of that. It’s just that was the closest thing I could think of. If you– if you refuse something that someone else enjoys for any reason, where is the pathology that immediately takes that as a personal attack?
Courtney: That’s actually, I think you might be onto something. Because yeah, being a sex repulsed asexual is not a moral choice, and we know that, but I think a lot of people’s understanding of asexuality comes from a place of, “Well, the only people who are opposed to sex are like the Puritans, the Evangelicals–
Royce: The famously judgy religious groups?
Courtney: Yes. And even though we have talked to death about how those folks also don’t like aces most of the time, I think people do kind of take that very defensive stance where they think a sex repulsed or a sex averse asexual is making a moral choice, something that’s more akin to an abstinence or celibacy. And not only just making that choice for themselves, but also somehow trying to impose it on others, or this like made up fear that they’re going to be judging you if you’re not the same way. Because we’ve definitely seen that with veganism as well. Like, I’m not talking about the people who are actually such hardcore, like, aggressive vegans, where they’re like harassing indigenous populations for their, like, traditional hunting practices. Like, I’m not talking about those folks. I’m talking about, just like your average vegan that you’d meet in your day-to-day life. If someone, like, offers you a piece of meat, or a slice of cheese, or a slice of cake, or something, and you go like, “Oh, no thanks, I’m vegan.” Then it’s like, “Well, now you’re making me feel bad for eating this!” It’s like, I didn’t–
Royce: I didn’t do that.
Courtney: I did not do that. It’s–
Royce: That’s all you.
Courtney: If you feel bad for eating that, that– that’s you. [laughs]
Royce: Yeah, I think that’s something I’m just not really wired to understand. Because it seems to imply that, well, if you are choosing to live your life that way, you feel that that is the best way, that it is superior to other ways to live your life, and therefore I – not following that – am inferior or something like that. And that’s– that’s not what’s happening at all. It’s– I made a personal choice to not eat meat and that’s it!
Courtney: And I’m explaining why I am not eating the meat you are offering to me. Yeah.
Royce: But anyway, back to asexuality.
Courtney: [continues reading] “My sister (26 female) came to visit me and her fiancé– with her fiance four days ago. They got engaged two weeks ago and I’m so, so happy for them. My sister knows that I’m asexual and how I feel about sex in general. I asked her as nicely as I could if they do anything sexual in my house that I don’t want to see or hear anything, or if they could wait until I leave for school or work or the gym. She agreed and I thought that was it. However, the first night they were here, I woke up to the weird sound and it took me a moment to realize what it was. They were having sex in the next room very loudly, they didn’t even close mine or their doors. I just put my headphones in and listened to some music. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well at all and it affected my school and job performance the next morning.
Courtney: [keeps reading] “There were a few more incidents after that when they had sex in the shower and then again at night. Next morning I asked her as politely as I could if they can keep it down and wait till I leave the house. She smirked, apologized and said it won’t happen again and not to worry. Anyway, I was cleaning my room this morning and saw some trash under my bed so I just took it out, and when I saw what it was I almost threw up. It was a [emphasis] used condom. I screamed and threw it on the floor and just stood there in shock. My sister came into the room to see what was going on, and when she saw it, she looked surprised and then fucking laughed about it, and said, “oops, sorry.”
Courtney: [keeps reading] “I was so mortified and I could feel how I was about to cry, which is stupid, I know. I asked her if they did that on my bed. Why didn’t they clean up after themselves? She looked at me like I was a crazy person and just told me to stop overreacting and that people in a real relationship have sex all the time. How I should stop making being asexual/gay into my personality and that I need to grow up, and that [emphasis] normal men and women are meant to have sex with each other. And so on. This triggered me a lot, since a lot of people have rejected me in the past because of my sexuality, which they have 100% right to do.” Oh my gosh, I can tell this person is so afraid to, like, post this story without all of these additional qualifiers, because I’ve been there, done that. I think a lot of us aces have. And I feel bad for them.
Courtney: [keeps reading] “Anyway, this is where I could be the asshole. I told her that this is my house and these are my rules, and if they can’t respect that then they can fuck off.” Literally, it sounds like– [reading] “And also that if two grown-ass people can’t go one week without sex it’s very pathetic and sad and they need to learn how to control themselves better. She got really upset and started to cry. Her fiance was in a store so she called him and they left. They messaged me and said that I was an asshole and I slut shamed my sister for being in love and that I need therapy for my problems. Tldr: found a used condom under my bed, sister laughed about it, and started to tell me how I’m overreacting and other BS. Told her to get out of my apartment and said that she and her fiancé are pathetic.” I mean, do we even need to say it?
Royce: I mean, I think we have to, that’s the point of the podcast, but it’s pretty obvious.
Courtney: Not the asshole! [laughs]
Royce: Yeah, I mean, very clear boundaries were established, those boundaries were violated multiple times – the condom under the bed thing, that seems intentional.
Courtney: It does seem intentional!
Royce: That seemed like retribution for the second ask for them to be quiet.
Royce: And actually, I don’t know, because I’m more careful, I’m more aware of my surroundings than most people, how do you accidentally leave the door open? And maybe that is something some people forget, but I couldn’t imagine having sex in someone else’s house with the door open.
Courtney: I couldn’t imagine even just sleeping in someone else’s house totally platonically with the door open.
Royce: Yeah, but the intentionally having sex in someone else’s bed after they asked you to keep it down… that seems very intentional.
Courtney: There is no reason to have sex in someone else’s bed without their permission ahead of time. I feel like that in itself should always, like, regardless of being ace. Like, right? Shouldn’t that be common courtesy? Like–
Royce: It should. I would extend that actually to just staying at someone’s house, too.
Courtney: Yeah, I mean, I could get that. Like, if you don’t live there and you’re just visiting overnight… Eh… I– I just can’t understand what mindset you need to be and to do that anyway. Like I– I could never imagine. But then again I’m a sex repulsed asexual, so. [laughs] I’m sure there’s some kind of desire there that I just will never be able to relate to but yeah. Just–
Royce: A week isn’t that long, and if you are physically incapable of not having sex for a week, don’t go visit people, for that long.
Courtney: Well, it’s also just the noise alone, even if there isn’t an element of sex repulsion, even if you’re amongst other people who are like really sex positive. Like, she woke up to the sound of them having sex next door. Like no matter what you’re doing, if you’re doing something so loudly in the middle of the night that you’re waking someone else up in the house that is rude regardless. Like, you can’t even– you can’t blast music in the middle of the night in someone else’s house. Like, why would you do that?
Royce: It’s even worse in an apartment because this person’s neighbors probably heard.
Courtney: Mmm. Yeah. Everything about this is awful and I don’t think we even need to get into all the comments about how [mockingly] “real people” and “real normal” relationships”–
Royce: Oh, it got really–. It got really ace-phobic toward the end. Sounds like the whole family.
Courtney: Yes. Are you ready for the update?
Courtney: First of all, the commenters were great, so the OP was like, “You guys are amazing. Thank you so much for your comments.” [reading] “I took a shower and cleaned all rooms from top to bottom and fortunately didn’t find any more surprises. My sister and her fiancé left and I got a text from their friend that they come and get their things in a few hours. I still don’t know what the fuck happened or why it happened to me. But I’m starting to realize how horribly she’s been treating me after I came out to her. It’s kind of sad that I didn’t see all the red flags before, but oh, well… Anyway, I texted her and asked what the fuck happened and if they did it on purpose. Is she trying to convert me to be straight? Is this some kind of fetish? Or did her fiancé force her to do it? I also sent her fiance a text asking for an explanation but he blocked me right away. My sister said that I gave them a very bad bed, that was too small and uncomfortable for them. And I have such a nice bed and that technically it was her bed so she can do whatever she wants with it (which is true, it was her bed, when I moved out she gave it to me and bought herself a new one). I’m a broke ass student so I would take all the free furniture I could get lol.
Courtney: [continues reading] “She said that she was sorry, but they did want to convert me and cure me and show me that sex is a normal and healthy thing. And it was also to teach me a lesson? I apparently have made comments and fun of “normal people” for having sex and openly slut shamed her friends and other people for doing natural things. I think she is referring to a time when I called her friend an asshole for cheating on her boyfriend, and something I said about a movie character being sexist and disgusting for seeing women as sex objects. Also for calling her fiance’s older brother, a thirty-five-year-old male, a pervert after he tried to hit on me. My sister said that there’s nothing wrong with having sexual attraction to others and that I need to get over myself. Also that they use so many condoms that sometimes they just lose one. Anyway, she is still typing and I don’t know if I have the energy to deal with her anymore.”
Royce: So, it sounds like the sister doesn’t know what slut-shaming means.
Courtney: And also sounds like this is one of the weirder attempts at conversion therapy that I’ve read. Oh, I hate it. Ow…
Royce: Also, when you give someone a gift that object stops being yours at that point and belongs to the other person.
Courtney: Yeah, hands down. No matter what we’re talking about. Absolutely.
Royce: But yeah, conversion via proximity?
Courtney: Exposure. Exposure therapy. I hate it. I hate it. OP not the asshole, you’re a beautiful wonderful person, and you need to go no contact with the sister.
Royce: Okay, the one I have here, “Am I the asshole for blowing up at my ex-friend when he asked why I chose to be asexual?”
Courtney: Good start.
Royce: [reading] “I was friends with this person, – we’re going to call them Archie, 14 year old boy. He was a total douche to me and while I didn’t realize at the time, was incredibly toxic and a significant part of how shit my mental health is. After coming out as asexual to my school, I got a lot of hate for it and he was one of the main people that mocked me for it. He said I was only asexual because no one liked me, and that it was an excuse for not being able to get a girlfriend. (He’d never dated anyone before either.) I said some harsh things in response, but felt like it was justified as he just invalidated me and an entire sexual orientation. After a few weeks, everyone started being a lot more chill about it and I stopped getting mocked so much. He was still weird about it and I kept my distance.”
Royce: [keeps reading] “Then a couple days ago, he sat next to me in class and started asking me some weird questions about my asexuality which I assumed to be attempts to make me uncomfortable. After a while he asks why I chose to be asexual and I got really pissed off and blew up at him, saying some pretty harsh stuff towards him about his appearance. Again, I felt justified in doing so. However, I still feel really bad for what I said. I only assumed he was trying to make me uncomfortable, it could have easily been that he was just curious. Only a few days before had on eof” – I can’t tell if that’s a typo or something I’m not familiar with – “my friends said that he actually seemed to be trying to be nicer to me, although I just assumed it was sarcasm and blanked him.”
Courtney: What were the comments about his appearance?
Royce: There aren’t any explicit details.
Courtney: I feel like that’s a low blow in any situation, I don’t like that.
Royce: It wasn’t the– the proper way to handle that, no. I get feeling like someone who has already, like, caused you harm is attempting to cause more and just getting angry and lashing out.
Royce: It makes sense but not the proper way to respond.
Courtney: No, like appearance and desirability and– Like, I don’t know what this kid’s deal is. Like– what were the comments? Like, is he fat and the comments were being a little fat-phobic? Does he have any kind of facial difference or disability? Like we don’t have those details, but I feel like in any situation, even if you just personally say– Like, even if you’re just like, “Well, yeah, well, you’re ugly.” Like– that, I don’t like that. So, a little teeny tiny bit you’re the asshole, but he definitely started it and is almost certainly worse.
Royce: Okay, yeah. I was just looking through the comments to see if there was any clarification. There wasn’t. OP engaged with a couple of the commenters. But it was a lot of people saying not the asshole, friend could have googled it as well instead of– well, one, harassing OP in the first place.
Royce: Then coming up to ask them after the fact without apologizing, it seems like, as well.
Courtney: Right. Like what OP’s said, it sounded like it definitely felt less from a place of curiosity and a desire to learn, and more of a way to put them on the spot and dig in a little bit.
Royce: There was the unfortunate common thing at the bottom of someone saying, “Well, no one who’s asexual actually needs to come out. It’s not like you face any issues like gay people do,” even though this was a whole post about how–
Courtney: the entire school was–
Royce: harassing them, yeah.
Royce: And particularly– I mean, I assume this person is the same age as their friend. So whoever this was getting into it with a 14 year old saying that they should have just kept it to themselves. But the rest of the Reddit thread piled on said person and someone came in with links to studies and things like that.
Courtney: All right. Give us those studies, absolutely. So yeah I’m not going to say 100% Not The Asshole, because for lack of knowing exactly what you said– Like, it’s just– it’s not okay to go for people’s appearance. I don’t like that. Considering the fact that these are 14 year olds, like, I’m not going to be like, “How dare you! That’s the worst thing you can possibly do.” Because I mean, we all learn and grow. But I think you– OP, here definitely 100% had valid reason to be angry and defensive. And dare I say, was even justified in clapping back at least in some form.
Courtney: [reading] “Am I the asshole for saying someone isn’t asexual just because they haven’t had sex?” No, I’mma need context for that. There is a time where you can say that, and it will be 100% true and warrant saying, and there are other contexts where you can say that you’re being ace-phobic. So let’s find out! [reading] “My, (I am a nineteen-year-old female), my friend (eighteen-year-old female) has wanted for months to hook up with a guy, but thinks no guy would be interested in her because she’s too quiet. So she stands around with me at the frat parties and wants to approach guys, but doesn’t have the confidence. She said this, and someone we know won’t stop trying to convince her that she’s asexual now, saying ‘If you haven’t had sex by now, you’re probably asexual. Many people are. Etc.’ This girl is determined to force my friend to be asexual and is shaming her for ‘pretending to want sex when– when instead of owning her identity’ and keeps calling her self-hating.
Courtney: [Keeps reading] My friend is straight and definitely does want to hook up with guys and isn’t confused about it. I said she’s not asexual just because she hasn’t succeeded in hooking up yet. And they said ’who are you to tell LGBTQ people what their identity is. The world is full of asexual people who refuse to acknowledge it.” Okay. Yeah, that was a justifiable example where you can say that. Eighteen still seems so young! Like, why would someone say if you haven’t had sex by the time you’re 18 clearly you've got to be ace. Like this person’s also probably a young adult, old teenager saying this, but are you advocating for more minors having sex? Yeah. No. I mean there’s a time and a place to suggest to someone that asexuality is an option and a possibility, but you can never tell someone this is what you are under any circumstances. And just not having sex, but wanting to have sex, is very much not– not one of those times.
Royce: Didn’t the asshole in this situation say themselves that you can’t tell a queer person what their identity is?
Courtney: Yeah! The– The hypocrisy! Yeah. And just like even presenting the idea of asexuality would be so different in other circumstances. Like, if this person at these college parties was being pressured to find someone to hook up with, which is a thing that does happen to some aces and make some very uncomfortable, then if the person here in question had expressed discomfort or a lack of interest in that then that could be a totally justifiable time to be like, “Hey, have you considered asexuality? Have you researched this thing?” But no, not the asshole. But just for the record, the– the time where it would have been based on the title alone where someone could have been the asshole for saying that, I have absolutely known of instances where there is an ace person who has not had sex but they’re still very confident and comfortable in their asexuality, but you’ll still get the like, “Well, how do you know you’re not ace if you haven’t had sex?” Kind of like don’t knock it till you tried it. Which doesn’t work for sex.
Courtney: You can’t say that to someone. Don’t! But I’ve definitely seen actual ace virgins be told like, “Well, just because you haven’t had sex yet, that doesn’t mean that you’re asexual.” So that– that would have been the other instance. That was not what we saw here.
Royce: “Am I the asshole for sending my toxic ex-boyfriend a letter almost a year after we broke up?”
Courtney: Oh, I don’t know, but I’m fascinated. Tell me more.
Royce: [Reading] “I’m a teenage guy and almost a year ago I went out with this other dude who was one of my close friends. We both liked each other and wanted to give dating a shot. But after we got together, he changed drastically; he went from kind to a huge jerk, and treated me like I was lesser; he tried to control who I was friends with, and always wanted to know what I was doing; he kept making sexual advances even though I had told him that I’m asexual and not interested in sex. It got so bad that he flat out told me that ‘if you weren’t ready to be physical with me, you shouldn’t have gotten with me in the first place.’ He also told me that he jerked off to thinking about me all the time and once he even showed me a boner that he had and said that it was because of me.”
Royce: [Continues reading] “He all-around treated me like an object and I hated it, so obviously I broke up with him. After we broke up he got even worse and started gaslighting me, guilt tripping me, saying that everything was my fault and that I was psychotic and a horrible person. At the time I believed him. I believed that I was to blame for not setting my boundaries better but through a lot of therapy I’ve realized that no, I had done nothing wrong - he had treated me horribly and sexually harassed me every day we were together (and even for a bit after we broke up). I haven’t been able to move past it because of how it has affected how I trust people. I’m scared that everyone who is kind will eventually turn out like my ex-boyfriend did. I really wanted closure so that I could move past him and live my life - god knows he doesn’t give a shit about me, I’m the only one being affected by this. I actually moved across states and I don’t even see him at all anymore, but it still affects me.
Royce: [Continues reading] “So today I sent him an extensive, 4-page letter detailing how much he had hurt me and how effed up all of his behavior was when we were together, and I went as far as to say that I hoped that the letter could help his future partners so that no one else has to suffer like I did. I want him to know how his actions have changed me (and not for the better) and I WANT him to feel bad. I want him to feel like crap for what he did, and I want him to change. But now that it’s been sent, I feel kind of bad? I don’t know how to feel or what to do, but I want to feel like myself again, and I want him to pay. Am I the asshole?”
Courtney: Hmm, that’s an interesting one. I’m working out my thoughts. I feel like I could be persuaded either way on this. But regardless of whether or not that is an asshole thing to do, the other guy is definitely the bigger asshole based on the text we’re given. Nothing’s going to surpass that kind of abuse. You know, OP said something about coming into these understandings through a lot of therapy. I am, like, so intensely curious about what OP’s therapist thoughts were on writing this letter. Like, that– That’s the real question I want answered. That’s the additional info I need.
Royce: Yeah, I just had a thought. At least when you see depictions of people going through, like, an opposite situation, like someone going through a 12-step program or something there’s always that reach out to everyone who harmed you, sort of thing.
Courtney: Make amends.
Royce: Right. Well, what if in a situation like this, if you were the one who was harmed in a situation and you’re getting over that trauma, you did the opposite of that and just blast it out, like, towards all the shitty people in my life here’s how shitty you were.
Courtney: I mean that sounds like the start of a horror film. [laughs] Revenge– Revenge plot.
Royce: Reddit thinks that everyone sucks here, but scrolling through some comments–
Courtney: Is it pretty mixed?
Royce: It’s more mixed than I would expect. And a lot of people are saying guy probably doesn’t even care and you might be doing a disservice to yourself of– You might be having the opposite of your intended effect by showing how much power he had in that situation. Another suggested that writing out the letter may have been good for you, but–
Courtney: Without sending it.
Royce: Maybe it should have been a burn letter.
Courtney: I wondered that myself. And I guess, at the end of the day, it is kind of what is the intention here. Because I think the feeling of saying, “I want him to pay,” I think that feeling is justifiable in situations of abuse. But like, realistically, what– How bad could a letter be? Like, you aren’t physically hurting him. You aren’t trying to like– You aren’t writing his employer trying to get him fired. Like, he either will see that and won’t feel bad, or he will see it and he will feel bad. So it’s not going to be too bad. But if the primary intention is I want to hurt him, then there is a bit of vindictiveness there that, whether or not you want to make the argument it’s justified, I wonder just was it worthwhile for OP’s mental health. Like, would this being a burn letter be exactly the same effect, or better even.
Royce: Right. And OP does go on in the comments to suggest that if they do get a reply, they’re just going to trash it. They’re not going to open it. So I feel like unless there was really something to that for them about dropping that in the mail and knowing it was sent, it probably would have been better off just left alone and, you know, keep that tie completely severed instead of potentially reopening it.
Courtney: Yeah. And I definitely– I understand the line about hoping the ex doesn’t do this to someone in the future, because like, I’ve been there, done that, like– I don’t want anyone else to– to fall victim to this. But in my experience any efforts to try to quell that, like, don’t pay out and if anything backfire on you. So it may be misguided, but I don’t know if it’s an assholeish thing to do. It seems like the key word here is closure. I feel like OP is seeking some kind of closure. And hoping that by sending this letter, that is what they will get. And that’s a tough one because if having sent the letter he just, like, feels good, and he feels like he did what he had to do, then I think I’ve got to kind of be for it. But by nature of the fact that he’s now here on Reddit having second thoughts and wondering if he’s the asshole, I feel like it didn’t accomplish what he wanted it to. And I think closure is this big mythical thing that a lot of people aspire to after relationships end or after, you know, abuse has transpired. And I just, I don’t think it’s a real thing.
Royce: Or it’s at least not as neat and tidy as people want it to be.
Courtney: It’s not in the way they show in movies. Because if this were a movie and, like a year after the fact, it wasn’t a letter but, like, they crossed paths on a street and OP has done therapy and done the healing and is in a better place, and like, there’s a big dramatic monologue of, “I’m going to tell you exactly what you did to me!” And like everyone would be applauding that character, everyone would be applauding that character, but that’s not how closure works in real life. You can’t just say your piece and then everything’s done. I think, for most people in most situations at the very least.
Courtney: [reading] “Would I be the asshole for telling my friend her school’s homophobia bothers me? I’ve found I tend to be an asshole, but let’s see if my behavior continues.” – [laughs] I wonder if this is a repeat poster – “So I have a religious friend who is currently attending a religious university (will not say which one, please don’t ask). This university has had problems with homophobia, which really bothers asexual lesbian me. Now, my friend knows about my identity and is perfectly okay with it. As an atheist, I’m okay with her religion and attending a religious school. It just pisses me off that she chose one with such issues. I really want to tell my friend how I feel. Every time she says how things are going, I feel like I’m lying when I congratulate her. But I also feel like my opinion makes me a selfish ass.
Courtney: [keeps reading] “Now, to be clear: I do not want my friend to change her religion or school. I just want her to be aware that this is affecting me and possibly other LGBTQ friends she has. And I feel like I’ve known her long enough that a civil discussion can be had. I just also feel like, again, I’m being selfish. I’m tired of lying and making my friend think I’m okay with this. I just don’t want to continue down a path of asshole shenanigans. So tell me, Reddit, would I be the asshole?” I know she said she wouldn’t say, but I really want to know what university it is and what problems she’s talking about. Because, like, a lot of universities have problems, but some more than others.
Royce: That’s what I was about to say. Also that would shed some light on, you know, how many options are available in the area that they’re in. Also how does their friend usually act? Like are they a supportive person? Because there’s only so much weight you can take from institutions and input on to the people who are attending them. Because part of it is– it’s a little late now, but what was the decision process to go to this school, you know? Because yeah, if you look back through lots of institutions throughout American history, there’s probably bigotry of some kind there – whether it’s misogyny, or racism, or discrimination against queer people – that’s, that’s just– If something has been around for a while, you’re going to find some of those skeletons.
Courtney: Yeah, and I can see if this is a religious one, if this is a very, like, conservative religious, like, private university…
Royce: Like, maybe that institution has actually funded homophobic legislation?
Courtney: Yes. And like if you’re going to college– This is a weird moral area, because of course, like, you’re paying a lot of money to go to that school.
Royce: Which if this is a case where they’re taking some of that tuition money and using it to fund legislation that harms you.
Courtney: Well, it’s also like– Think about, right now, the number of people who are making a stance of, like, it is no longer moral or okay to buy anything from, like, Harry Potter merchandise. You know, the Hogwarts Legacy game is coming out and so many trans or other queer folks, and allies, are saying, like, if you are an ally, you will not buy this game. The game’s– I don’t know, I haven’t looked up the price of the game, but what is it going to be like, $50 maybe?
Courtney: Like, I feel like there’s an argument to be made where if you are going to say, “You are supporting queer bigotry by buying a $50 game.” You could also say, “You are supporting queer bigotry by spending tens of thousands of dollars on tuition.”
Royce: Yeah, I mostly agree with you. I think it depends on the college situation, their finances, whether they got at scholarship. Like, are they actually giving money to this institution. But also like, you know, an education is future job opportunities that’s different than entertainment. So, what are the other schools like in the area? Were there other options that they could have gone to? Kind of a thing.
Courtney: Yeah. And the thing is, I do believe OP when they say, “I don’t want my friend to change schools and I’m okay with her religion because she is okay with my queerness.” I believe that. So, I’m almost inclined to say– Because the ultimate question is, would I be the asshole if I told her my feelings? And I feel like if you are actually very good friends and this is someone who is an ally to you as an asexual lesbian, I feel like you should be able to have that conversation. It might be a difficult one and you might need to have a lot of qualifiers beforehands, like, “I’m not asking you to do anything about this. I just need you to know that I have these feelings.” Then they might be able to just feel more comfortable about the situation all around, if they get it off their chest, you know?
Courtney: So I would say you wouldn’t be the asshole in this situation, based on everything we’ve seen and the fact that we don’t have all the details about, you know, the school, the financial situation, what exactly said issues are. But I don’t– The Reddit deemed this person to be the asshole and said you would be the asshole if you did this. And the top comment is, [reading] “You’re the asshole. You would be burdening your friend with information she can do absolutely nothing about. What can she do? You’ve already said what you don’t expect, but what do you expect? Essentially you want to vent at your friend for what your friend is doing and then your friend can do nothing with that except feel like crap. Making you both miserable. I guess misery does love company.” I don’t think I agree with that!
Courtney: It’s the whole, like, “burdening your friend with information she can do nothing about.” Like people have said that, or similar things, to me before. But I guess it has been in situations where I’ve been speaking a little more generally, just like something I’ve advocated for in the past is, like, finding slave free chocolate, for example. Because a lot of chocolate is harvested with slave labor of, often, children and to me – now that I know that fact – I can’t just go buy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at the store and enjoy that. And I know some people are able to switch that off in their mind and they can still just do that. But for me, if I’m eating, like, a chocolate bar off-the-shelf, I’m like, “This was made with child slave labor,” and I can’t enjoy it anymore. And I don’t want to enjoy it anymore. So I have never once told a friend that you shouldn’t eat that chocolate bar, but I have turned down, like, things like chocolate bars. And that’s kind of the same thing where people would be like, “Well, what do you want me to do about it? Like, I’m not gonna be able to end slavery, so I want to eat the chocolate bar.” It’s like, I don’t know! In those situations if you have a moral issue, even if someone can’t do something about it, I don’t like the precedent that you just shouldn’t talk about it, that you should just shut up.
Royce: Well, we broached this topic earlier on. It’s the same thing as with– saying that you don’t eat meat, right? You weren’t saying, “Hey, you, friend, stop eating chocolate.” You were saying, “I’m making this choice. I’m not going to eat that.”
Courtney: Yeah. And I guess, like, this person is kind of making it a big broad scale too. Like, what do you want your friend to do about their school’s homophobia issues? Like they aren’t going to be able to change their school. But I don’t think this is about the school. I think this is about their relationship and what they talked about and how they talk about, and respecting each other’s feelings.
Royce: Yeah. It’s about– Right now, OP has something that is meaningful to them that they feel can’t be spoken, and so you’re sort of losing closeness with your friends and want to get that back in a way so you’re both on the same page. But also the– To both situations, to the school and to the chocolate thing, not talking about something is a surefire way that nothing is ever going to change.
Royce: Right? If enough people did start talking about actually consuming or regulating fair trade chocolate, you could push it. Either economically – even though capitalism isn’t always a great vector for things like that – but federally, you know, get enough politicians to actually care. But same thing with the school. Like, there are probably a number of queer people at that religious school, and if some of them banded together, maybe they could change something. Queer or queer friendly, I should say.
Courtney: Yeah. And I mean, some of these other comments– There’s a gentle “You’re the asshole” here saying, “I’m genderfluid and panace. I attend a religious university and I know a lot of people who are also LGBT that attended it. In my case, it’s because the tuition here is literally a third of what I would pay to go to college in my hometown. The college you attend has nothing to do with your personal views.” And that goes to our, kind of like, we don’t know all the details about why this choice was made or what the school is doing. But I still don’t think that matters. Because I still don’t think this is a question of should this person be attending this school.
Royce: I see how it’s still kind of in there. I mean, I know that OP says that they don’t want their friend to change schools, but there’s a little bit of that buried in there. Like, the reason that this is an issue is because they are attending the school, right?
Courtney: Yeah, yeah. I suppose that could be true. And it could also, like, I don’t know what the issues are either. Are these old issues? Are these actively ongoing things? Are there any, like, student organizations that are trying to make positive change from within the university? I guess I don’t know anything about religious universities, because I hear ‘religious university’ and I just assume ‘expensive as all hell’. But that’s just because, like, religious high schools are expensive. Like, private religious schools are very expensive, but…
Royce: Yeah, that’s one thing I never checked when I was entering college.
Courtney: You tellin’ me you didn’t want to go to a Christian School? Get out of here!
Royce: But that’s what I was wondering, the financial situation, you know. Was this a situation either because of tuition prices or through some sort of scholarship. Was this financially, you know, far and above the best option. Or were there other reasonable options in the area. I also don’t know – depending on what part of the country you’re in – is the religious institution the only one that’s nearby enough that you wouldn’t need to move and live in dorms, or in an apartment, or have, you know, extra housing costs or something like that. Like there could be reasons why this school was the only choice. Yeah, I would agree– I would say not the asshole, but be very careful–
Courtney: With the approach.
Royce: –with the approach in that conversation. Okay a commenter under this next one says, “This looks like a future AITA Hall of Fame post.
Courtney: Oh, wow! High praise, high praise!
Royce: [reading] “Am I the asshole for finally talking back to someone who talks to me like I’m dirt?” It begins with, “Obligatory I’m on mobile, sorry for formatting. Hey Reddit, for this post, I need to preface it by saying I’ll be talking about magics and Witchcraft.”
Royce: [continues reading] “Please bear in mind that these are things both me and the other party believe in. So I (20 year old female) am a practitioner of Witchcraft and Magic. And I can see spirits and whatnot. I also have this ability to look into the spiritual world and watch people ‘I am close to’ and see what they’re doing. I had this friend–
Courtney: [whispering] What…?
Royce: [continues reading] “I had this friend, let’s call her Annie (23 year old female), who reintroduced me to it a year ago and we became close soon after. I would go to her for questions and the like since she’s been practicing for 2 years. Now, she’s always treated me horribly but I always brushed it off as teasing and I shared some of my secrets with her. She promised it would stay between us but then she ghosted me. Two months of nothing but backhanded comments in a gc we were both in, she would say secrets I told her in confidence and all I did was stay silent because I didn’t wanna cause any trouble since it is a gc. I tried contacting her privately but she ignores me. Annie then tells the gc she was getting stalked then told me that whatever is happening to her wasn’t because of anything I did. I told her I didn’t do shit so she said she was just stopping me from having a power trip. It felt like she was ‘putting me in my place’ as someone below her.
Royce: [keeps reading] “Then she dms me and tells me I’m no longer a witch and my spirit friend was dead because of something her friend did (it didn’t work and it couldn’t even if she wanted to because one simply does not cut off spirituality from someone else.) She wouldn’t listen to me when I was trying to explain it didn’t work and why I couldn’t watch her anymore (because we weren’t close anymore) and so I lied and told her it worked so she’d leave me alone.
Royce: So when she said that she was the only one who could curse someone and I replied with a simple ‘Nah,’ she started blowing up. I then started talking to her in a condescending manner, the same way she talked to me. I mocked her the same way she did.
Royce: [keeps reading] “She then sent our dms (where I lied) to the gc with a ‘Whoops’ and then proceeded to just keep bombarding me, telling me I’m a fake psychic, a fake witch, a fake asexual, a narcissist, and a fake good person. Told people I was fake because I wanted to abuse and sexualise people. From her perspective, she said I acted different when I’m with her vs when I’m with other people so to her, treating me like this was justified. I don’t know how she came up to that conclusion. I don’t know if I’m the asshole in the situation since my other friend (who I vented to and doesn’t have any affiliation with Annie) told me I should’ve just stayed quiet so she doesn’t get any more power. So Reddit, am I the asshole?”
Courtney: I don’t know, but I want a movie of it… Oh boy. Where do we start with this? I feel like I’m missing a lot of information, even though I feel like that was a lot of information.
Royce: It was a big one, yeah.
Courtney: I don’t know where the ‘fake asexual’ came from and that’s not cool, so I’m just going to say that witch is an asshole. As for the author I don’t know!
Royce: Yeah, orientation was never clarified until that moment.
Courtney: I have to assume that they do identify as asexual, because why else would someone say fake asexual, you know?
Royce: Yeah, I assumed that was the case. It just wasn’t clarified earlier on in the post.
Courtney: What are the other comments?
Royce: There aren’t many!? “Not the asshole, cut that toxic person out of your life.” “This looks like a future Am I The Asshole Hall of Fame post.” “Sounds like she had a lot more coming. You still got those messages? Start spreading them.” That’s it.
Courtney: Yeah, I think given the information we’re just presented, I’m going to have to say not the asshole. There was a moment in there where it was like, “I’m able to watch them,” I was like, is this– is this going to be an invasion of privacy kind of a thing? But it doesn’t– It didn’t go that direction at all.
Royce: There is harassment, there was a bit of – I don’t even know what to call – just taking private chat messages and throwing them into a group.
Courtney: Yeah, I kind of hate that just as a concept. Sounds like you got yourself into a bad group of folks.
Royce: Very poor coven.
Courtney: There've got to be better covens out there, right?
Royce: I’d imagine so!
Courtney: Go– go get you a better coven. One that won’t randomly call you a fake asexual among other insults.
Royce: Amongst other insults.
Courtney: Well, I don’t remember them all. Like, I remember, like, narcissist was thrown in there, which is always like– uh… got to be really careful on that one because it can get real ableist real fast. And also is one of those words that some people just don’t use correctly a lot of the time, but they know if they throw that word out it’s going to elicit a very strong reaction. I don’t remember what literally any of the other ones were because those are the two my brain kind of hung up on, but it was a list of them. [reading] “Am I the asshole for saying I won’t quit my career and throw away my future for my mom if she gets really sick? I was just in an argument with my mom about this and she basically said I’m a bad person and cried about how she raised me wrong. It started by me basically being disgusted when I touched her chewing gum and developed into an argument about how I’m going to take care of her in the future if she gets really sick, if I’m so disgusted by her now. Even though I am not and I’m in general easily grossed out by anything, especially saliva, but she always thinks I and everyone else has something against her specifically.
Courtney: [keeps reading] “So I told her that I am going to find someone to take care of her because I most likely won’t have time, I’ll be a young adult with my own responsibilities and I won’t throw away my future for her if I can find somebody, plus it isn’t like I’m an only sibling and dad isn’t perfectly healthy compared to her. She’s already in her 50s and has arthritis (which very much affects her, like a lot), psoriasis and very weak immune system. I’m a teen, which means she could get sick anytime while I am basically at the start of actually living and being independant. She was obviously offended and told me how I’m selfish because she gave birth and took care of me but I won’t do it in return. Okay, is that not what you were supposed to do? Why put that burden on me? Why give birth to me if you expect me to give up on something that makes me happy for you? Not to mention I am very ambitious and she knows that very well.
Courtney: [keeps reading] “Oh yeah, and I’m leaving my country as soon as possible. It’s literally economically collapsing and there isn’t much opportunities here left for me. So I don’t know how she expects me to fly out of a whole different country and leave everything and everyone there for her. (This also isn’t a hypothetical situation. I’ve been saving since forever for a new start.) I get that there’s a lot of kids who did this for their parents and that’s all nice, but not every child is the same. And my mom? I’m sorry, but she isn’t such an angel that I would throw away college and future job opportunities for her. She can be very mentally and verbally abusive. Homophobic at that. Just a few weeks ago, she told me that something must have went terribly wrong during pregnancy for me to come out as bi and asexual. Who the fuck says that to their child who they are supposed to love unconditionally?
Courtney: [keeps reading] “Obviously, I can’t say that to her because my parents are both convinced that just because they shower me with love and nice things all the bad things they say and affect me, don’t matter. It’s like a murderer came up to me and said, ‘Oh, I killed your friends. Don’t be sad though, here, have a million-dollar mansion and infinite hug button.’ So yeah, this isn’t a situation where my mom is a beautiful soul and I’m a spoiled child. Don’t get it twisted please. This keeps bothering me because she is naturally very guilt trippy and gaslighting. Idk if this is one of those moments or whether I’m actually a bad person.” Yeah, I don’t know. I’m curious what country OP is from, because there are definitely different cultures where it is more, I guess, expected that you take care of your parents when you get older. So there might be an additional, like, cultural connotation to this that we can’t get from an additional post. But I personally don’t think any teenager who has a parent say something must have gone horribly wrong during pregnancy for your sexuality to be the way it is, has any obligation to take care of that parent. So…
Royce: Yeah, I don’t think kids really owe their parents anything. Like, in an ideal situation you actually like your family and you’d be there for them and support them, and that’s one thing. But it’s kind of odd that it sounds like this child in particular is the one that is having this pushed onto them. Because it said– they said they had other siblings.
Courtney: Which also makes me wonder, because OP did not mention– Normally on these posts it’s like, here’s my age, here’s my gender kind of a thing. OP didn’t state that. And so it almost makes me wonder, like, could there be an element of sexism here? Where it’s like, your siblings are brothers and you’re the girl, so everyone’s kind of expecting you to be the caretaker when you get older, kind of a thing? That’s way reading between the lines, so I don’t know if that’s the case. But that would be one thing I’ve at least seen frequently enough, where it’s like one child seems to have more burden of expectation placed upon them than the others.
Royce: It could also be maybe they’re the youngest child and everyone else has already moved away and started life, and now all of a sudden there are all these health complications.
Courtney: Yeah. Or if they think asexual, you’re not actually going to have a family, so “Oh, look at your siblings, they all have families, they all had kids, but you, you’re going to take care of us!” Yeah, I don’t know. Just in general I can’t get over how awful it is to say, like, something terribly wrong must have happened during pregnancy for you to be a bi-ace. Oh, that’s awful! That mother is the asshole! Also, this started with chewing gum.
Royce: Yeah. What a way for this to escalate.
Courtney: Yeah, it really makes me wonder if mother is the kind of person in this story to just, like, take everything vastly personally and escalate it way more than it needs to.
Royce: So, one more here, I think this will be the last one.
Courtney: Ooh! Lay it on me.
Royce: [reading] “Am I the asshole for telling my mom that I’m not her daughter? I’m a seventeen-year-old trans man. I made it a point to not tell my mom–
Courtney: Not the asshole! [laughs] Not the asshole! Where’s my gavel? [laughs] Just on that title alone it’s like, where’s this going? But okay, I see.
Royce: [continues reading] “I made it a point to not tell my mom about it because I knew she wouldn’t support it. At the very least she would claim to support it but question everything about it and refuse to listen when I tried to explain things. I visit my mom’s house every other weekend, and it usually goes fine. Yesterday, though, I got into a screaming match with my younger sister and our mom. Keep in mind, these screaming matches are part of the reason I moved in with my dad in the first place. It was first over asexuality and the different identities on the ace spectrum, specifically demisexual. No matter how much I tried to explain it to them, they yelled at me saying that demisexuality is normal amongst all humans. Then it progressed into arguing about transgender people and why they – quote – ‘feel the need to mutilate their bodies’.
Courtney: [disapproving sounds]
Royce: [continues reading] “At some point my sister tried to out me to our mom but I just cut in and told her myself. She was shocked to say the least, and tried to make me out to be the bad guy for not trusting her enough to tell her early on. No matter how many times I reminded her that she told me that she would not call me her son if I turned out to be trans, she denied it and tried to play the victim. Eventually my dad arrived to pick me up (no, I don’t drive myself) and my mom asked me for a hug before I left. Right as I was about to hug her she said that I’ll always be her daughter and I stopped. She then said that I’m her – quote– ‘born daughter’ and tried to explain herself but I cut her off and yelled that I wasn’t her daughter and as long as she thinks I am then she’s not my mother. She left the room crying saying stuff like “I guess it doesn’t matter, just go.” My sister shamed me for making her cry saying she was trying to correct herself but I just left. Am I the asshole for telling my mom that I’m not her daughter and making her cry? We haven’t spoken since and I don’t think she wants me back in two weeks. I know I probably shouldn’t have yelled but I’ve had to deal with this my entire life and I finally just snapped.”
Courtney: Yeah, not the asshole. There’s an under-discussed demographic of parents and family members and quote “allies” out there who will definitely just resort to tears and feeling hurt, and– and try to pull the, like, “I’m trying.” Or in this case someone else was saying, “Oh, she tried to correct herself.” Like she knows, she knows, she’s trying, she’s working on it. But this doesn’t sound like an honest slip-up. It really doesn’t. This isn’t like you’ve been using your son’s correct pronouns and you accidentally slipped up and said ‘she’ after a couple of months, like this wasn’t like that. This was “You will always be my daughter.” Oh, you’ll always be my “born daughter”. Like, that’s not better, that’s not better! If you think that’s better than you really don’t get it. And if you really don’t get it and you’re genuinely trying, then you are just– like, I’m sorry, you’re not trying hard enough. There are so many resources out there where you can educate yourself. Plus like, this poor kid has it on both sides, the gender and the sexuality, you’re getting the dismissal of, “Oh demisexuality, that’s just like everybody, that’s just normal.” Like, no, it’s not and you aren’t getting it. And you’re at a certain point willfully not getting it.
Courtney: That my friends is going to be all for today’s episode. We do have a ton more ‘Am I The Asshole?’ posts pertaining in some way to asexuality that is just saved and ready to go. So, please let us know if you like these ‘Am I The Asshole?’ episodes, and if you do, then perhaps we will just do another one again in the future. But until then we will talk at you all again next week. Bye!