The internet has come to the defense of a Redditor who claimed in a now-viral post that his father’s family has told people that he’s “homophobic” because he won’t visit his stepbrother, Phil, who is gay.
Posting to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” forum on Tuesday under the username u/ElBartoToday, the Redditor explained that Phil was his high school bully before the two were stepbrothers. So far, the post has received more than 9,100 votes and over 900 comments.
At the beginning of his post, u/ElBartoToday, 22, explained that his parents divorced when he was in high school. His mother cheated on his father and left the family to be with her boyfriend. His father, meanwhile, started dating Frida, the mother of his alleged bully, Phil.
“I begged him not to be with her, I really, really begged him not to but didn’t listen,” u/ElBartoToday explained. “The worst part was having to go with him to their house. My sister is the only one who realized how distraught I was.”
Not wanting to live in the same home as Phil, u/ElBartoToday decided to live with his mom until he could move in with his older sister, Skye. He added that “high school life only got worse after [he] left [his] dad …”
u/ElBartoToday is now in college but will be graduating soon. He decided to send early graduation invites to both his mother and father but did not invite his stepparents. His mother accepted the invitation, but his father demanded that he also invite Frida and Phil.
“I said no and told me that it to prove to him that I’m not homophobic. That caught me off guard but I didn’t back down,” the Redditor wrote.
“Yesterday I talked to my sister about it and she told me that because Phil’s gay, they’ve been telling everyone that I don’t come over and see him because I’m homophobic,” he continued.
According to u/ElBartoToday, Skye said that she vehemently defends him and will continue to do so. However, she encouraged him to reconcile with Phil because it “hurts her” that “people [they] know probably think the worst of [u/ElBartoToday].”
“I got pissed off and told her in a really rude way not to bother since I don’t care if anybody thinks I’m homophobic,” said u/ElBartoToday.
According to the nonprofit organization HelpGuide, it’s not unusual for children and teens to have a difficult time adjusting to and forming relationships with stepsiblings and stepparents.
The organization said that children between the ages of 10 and 14 “may have the most difficult time adjusting to a stepfamily.” Additionally, kids in this age group “may not demonstrate their feelings openly, but may be even more sensitive than young children when it comes to needing love, support, discipline, and attention.”
HelpGuide also explained that teenagers 15 and older “may have less involvement in stepfamily life,” and “prefer to separate from the family as they form their own identities.”
Given that u/ElBartoToday was around this age when his parents divorced, it’s perhaps not unusual that he drifted from both of his new families.
But also considering that Phil and u/ElBartoToday had a bad relationship before becoming family, commenters were quick to defend u/ElBartoToday’s decision not to visit Phil. They also pointed out that the family was wrong to paint the Redditor as being homophobic.
“NTA [not the a**hole]—Phil is still bullying you, he’s just changed his tactics,” said u/excess_moisture. More than 19,000 people up-voted the comment in agreement.
“NTA—Phil knows d**m well why he’s not invited, and he’s trying to deflect blame. You just need to be very clear with everyone that you don’t care if Phil’s gay, but you do care that he bullied you,” commented u/cjack68
“I don’t know who they are badmouthing you too [sic] but this is one of the few cases where I’d go nuclear—Phil was a bully. Has he ever apologized? Has his mother? If it’s to family, contact them directly. If it’s friends, post it on their bloody [Facebook] pages. I don’t understand how [as] a dad you make his child live with a bully and repeatedly choose the bully,” wrote u/Proud_World_6241.
Redditor u/cschmidtusa added: “NTA. … Your dad created the homophobic narrative because it makes you look like the villain, and makes him look like a great guy. Your dad and stepmom created this to make them look better.”
In response to one commenter who asked if he was homophobic, u/ElBartoToday responded: “I’m bisexual, I’ve dated men. I definitely don’t hate gay people—it’d be like hating half of myself and would make for some severely awkward dates.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/ElBartoToday for comment.