‘My trans son is furious I won’t take down photo of him as a baby – he says it’s cruel’

By Staff

For someone transitioning gender, it can be painful to see reminders of their old life – particularly their ‘dead name’. One parent has asked for advice on how to deal with her son and a very special photo

A mum has asked for guidance after her son, who is trans, demanded she take down a photo of him with his parents when he still identified as a girl. Sharing the complicated situation on social media, the 42-year-old explained that she and her husband Tom have a son together, Ben, who is 19.

She wrote: “Ben was born as a girl and realised by 16 that he wanted to transition and go from female to male. Me and Tom weren’t initially supportive, and I took longer to come around, and only did so after Tom passed away in an accident, and I realised how distant my relationship with Ben was.”

The mum revealed that when Ben was born, Tom got a tattoo of their then-daughter’s name on his arm. She continued: “We have a lovely picture together of me, Tom, and Ben (at a few months old) at the beach where Tom’s tattoo is visible.

“Ben doesn’t like me to keep pictures up of him past when he was a kid or older and still female presenting, so I only have pictures out in the house of him as a toddler or an adult now. The only picture that I have not agreed to take down is the one of us at the beach. I really like that one and Ben’s only issue is the tattoo but for me it’s one of my happiest memories and I don’t want to take it down. Ben is very upset about me keeping that picture up and says I’m being cruel as it reminds him of his deadname.”

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Clarifying a couple of questions, she added that Tom, Ben’s dad, passed away when he was still female presenting so the only photo she has of the three of them that Ben previously liked was the beach photo.

She finished: “Ben is a lot younger [in the photo] and wearing a gender-neutral outfit. Also, the photo is up in the hallway portion just outside my bedroom, which is not anywhere near Ben’s room and will not be seen by houseguests unless they come in my room.”

People reading the Reddit post were sympathetic to the difficult situation and encouraged her and Ben to have therapy together. One person wrote: “Honestly it sounds like Ben needs some major therapy if he can’t even have pictures of the past including his dead dad. If Ben still lives at home you need to figure out how to live together.”

Another user penned: “Probably controversial, but you’re not the a**hole. This is a picture of your family at one of its happiest moments. Your husband is deceased, and that picture reminds you of happier times. You have rid the house of all other pictures of your son, except this one. Time for Ben to compromise.”

One user shared that they are transgender and what his take on the situation was. He wrote: “I’m going to say not the a**hole but in a more gentle way. I’m trans (female to male) and I know how painful it can be to see things like that. Especially if Ben is trying to be stealthy in his day-to-day life. If he doesn’t want anyone new that he meets (that he isn’t intimate with/dating) to know he’s trans, something like that photo can ruin everything.

“That said, I’m still going with not the a**hole. If the photo is as off to the side as you say it is, it’s fine that you have it up. It’s a photo you want to keep up to remember your husband and your family together. My only suggestion, if you truly want to keep the peace, is to maybe have the photo digitally altered so the tattoo is removed. I’m not saying it’s something you have to or should do. It’s just a suggestion if it’s possible.”

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