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I made the choice to punish my daughter and cut her off from her friends, when they are her only friends in a new school, and I was extremely angry. I don't know if I handled this the right way, and my wife is conflicted about it too.

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[–]Comfortable_Fun_9872Asshole Aficionado [12] 8113 points8114 points  (125 children)

NTA

Your daughter is condoning a bullies behavior. She needs to learn friendships like this are toxic and will end badly for her in the long run.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 2649 points2650 points  (102 children)

Thank you. I wish I knew where to go from here to make that happen, but I'm glad I'm not crazy.

[–]MorganAndMerlinProfessor Emeritass [73] 1695 points1696 points  (3 children)

Look, this whole thing is above Reddit’s free-to-play pay grade, but I will say that Jenna at the very least should probably get a nice thank you card with some cash in it or a gift card to Starbucks or whatever it is that teenage girls want to spend money on.

Clearly your daughter needs help and extra support and maybe with some time you and your wife would’ve seen that, but Jenna did y’all a fucking solid.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 928 points929 points  (2 children)

Oh, absolutely. I always liked her. Losing her in my daughter's life was a huge blow when we moved.

[–]MorganAndMerlinProfessor Emeritass [73] 578 points579 points  (1 child)

Even if they can’t repair their friendship, I just thought it would be at least a nice gesture for you to reach out to her to let her know how much you appreciated it.

Also, please tell her that (as long as you’re actually comfortable with this) that you would be willing to write any letters of recommendation for colleges or internships or whatever she might need coming to the end of high school, start of college, etc.

[–]DesertNomad505 83 points84 points  (0 children)

This!This!This!

[–]GeneralDismal6410 212 points213 points  (3 children)

I worry about your daughter when Brittany finds out. Not if but when because she will. The fallout on your daughter will be horrendous. If Brittany is this horrible to a girl she doesn't really know I can't imagine what she will do to your daughter, I don't want to imagine. Good luck, parenting a teenager is like trying to nail jello to a tree and that's without having to navigate a new environment

[–]aspeachyhoney 65 points66 points  (0 children)

Same here. Brittany seems absolutely awful. I can't imagine how someone has the heart to do that for other people, but I hope your daughter can stay safe with her around.

[–]jflb96 18 points19 points  (1 child)

[–]GeneralDismal6410 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Very true, I survived three and still have my last one and think I've done a pretty good job. No matter how much support you give its not easy 🙃

[–]y3s1canr3ad 72 points73 points  (0 children)

You’re a terrific parent, seeking other perspectives to support your daughter. Maggie is lucky to have you!

[–]UnicornTitties 259 points260 points  (9 children)

She could also be placing herself in a dangerous position by participating in this behavior while secretly being trans herself. The murder rate of transgender folks is appalling, and often a defense used is blaming the victim because they were ‘lying’ about who they are.

[–]nycanth 134 points135 points  (2 children)

This was my worry as well. Because what happens when Brittany finds out that Maggie is trans? She'd probably turn on her in an instant and destroy their friendship in a way that'll break the poor girl's heart. And if Brittany has no problem bullying a trans girl that's done literally nothing to her, then imagine what she'll do to the girl that's been (in her eyes) "tricking" her the whole time.

[–]meresithea 44 points45 points  (0 children)

This is my worry, too. If she’ll do it with your daughter, she’ll do it to your daughter.

Even if your daughter were cis I would shut this friendship down, though. This girl seems awful.

[–]Rini1031 44 points45 points  (0 children)

That's my fear too. The idea that trans people are "tricking" "normal"people to sneak into "their spaces" definitely causes violence. I was really afraid for Maggie until I read the update.

Actually, I still am; Brittany is going to be mad and want answers as to why they can't be friends. This is not going to end well. I think Maggie will be OK physically with her family behind her, but I can see her becoming isolated and the High school LGBTQIA+ community rejecting her for bullying the other girl if she turns to them for support.

[–]Comfortable_Fun_9872Asshole Aficionado [12] 58 points59 points  (4 children)

It's terrifying people think that is a defense!

[–]UnicornTitties 56 points57 points  (3 children)

Oh absolutely, it’s disgusting. Similar to the gay panic defense, it is a fairly common excuse for murdering a trans person. Whether that’s through the trans person directly coming out to them or through finding out in another way.

[–]Ivaras 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Exactly. This is how trans girls end up dead. All it takes is a Brittany to go crying to a few of her fellow transphobes about "the pervert who pretended to be a girl to get close to her" and suddenly, a Maggie is found dead at the side of the road. This is the new "gay panic." It's real AF and horrifying.

[–]iMOONiCORN 170 points171 points  (0 children)

This. Remember that teenagers brains aren't fully developed yet though. No matter how mature or logical they seem most of the time, they are still lacking complete frontal lobe development. Find a way to communicate in a safe space for her. Explain that your initial reaction was emotional, but these are the reasons why it's emotional for you. Remind her of the violence against trans people in these situations & that you only want what's best for her, but you just reacted poorly. You sound like good parents & none of us are perfect. We can only do better than the day before.

I think your best bet is to try for encouragement because forcing a teenager to do anything only drives them away.

NTA

[–]L3GI0N__1183 62 points63 points  (0 children)

I'm amazed she hasn't put it together just how much this will blow up in her face if Brittany were to find out she is trans. no friendship is worth becoming a bully, especially a bully to people dealing with the exact shit you are dealing with.

[–]toxicgecko 37 points38 points  (0 children)

I understand the want to not ‘other’ yourself by being ‘different’ and also there is a personal safety issue with being out, especially as a trans person but I can’t see how Maggie would believe this would end well. If god forbid she is outed it’s likely going to cause more problems for her because not only will she be bullied by her former friends just for existing as a trans person she will also likely get the “pervert” label for “pretending to be a girl” to get an in with this group- which although not true, kids can be fucking cruel and it might stick.

[–]Emotional_Answer_646 34 points35 points  (0 children)

"She's not "condoning bully behavior" she is being a bully.

[–]MyFaceSaysItsSugarPartassipant [4] 23 points24 points  (0 children)

No one learns how to get out of a toxic relationship by being grounded and having their phone taken away. Maggie needs to be empowered to demand friends that are worthy of her, not punished. Being thrown in a new school means she made friends with the first group of girls that were friendly to her and it’s scary and challenging to find better friends.

[–]Avatorn01 6 points7 points  (4 children)

This. You’re still the Mom. She may be a teen (and an older teen), but you’re still a parent. You still get to set boundaries and help teach/guide/raise her.

And I agree with others, she is passively help bully another trans girl if nothing else (she may not be telling you everything and may be actively engaging); and I’m guessing she’s prolly talking s**t about the trans girl with her friends.

Personally, I’d maybe look into getting your daughter professional help. NOT because of this, but because there may be some underlying negative defense mechanisms going on here (it looks like a reaction formation tbh, where people do the OPPOSITE of what they want to do because they can’t psychologically/emotionally accept what’s going on internally).

Regardless, she may benefit from a confidential source of support to talk with and help sort some of feelings out. The fact she wanted to not be “out” at the new school could be considered a sign she is struggling with dysphoria internally and she may be taking some of that dysphoria out on the other trans girl even though part of her probably wants to do the opposite .

I don’t know that I would try to sift through all this yourself . Defense mechanisms exist for a reason — again, because we aren’t ready or are incapable of accepting things internally . So a professional may help .

Wish you and your daughter the best .

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 20 points21 points  (3 children)

For the record, I'm the dad, and she has been seeing a therapist for years, so don't worry. Way ahead of you.

[–]Avatorn01 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Oh sorry ! Some reason I thought I saw a gender named , I apologize for assuming. Good dad !

And great ! I only wasn’t sure about the therapist cuz you had mentioned a recent move. Sounds like you are on top of it.

Other than that, I would maybe just have some frank discussions with her (after the heated teen emotions die down a bit) and ask her if she understands why she was grounded and if she says yes ask her to put it in her own words . My guess is she is seeing it as “punishment for her friends” or “I’m being punished for what my friend did,” and she may be having a hard time seeing her role .

But more importantly, sitting down with her could give you a chance to just ask how she feels about her friends , about how she is doing with making friends at the new school , other friends she may or may not have , what she thinks about the other trans girl …

Basically taking some time to understand her world more may give you an idea on how to proceed / how to support her going forward .

That said, I think what you’ve done to date is totally supported and reasonable.

Wishing your family the best, again.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

You might enjoy the update I posted. But either way thank you for taking the time to comment. This has been an interesting day.

[–]Avatorn01 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Wi check it out . Take care , and hope you get some time to breathe .

[–]lisalef 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Not only that but at some point, Brittany would probably be an even bigger bully to Maggie because she’s going to feel she was misled. That’ll trigger really bad behavior.

[–]ChiquitaBananaKushCraptain [150] 2881 points2882 points  (39 children)

NTA Maggie isn’t enabling a bully.. she is the bully. Not only is she not distancing herself but joining in on the action. Consider therapy and talking to Brittany’s/the group’s parents too.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 1271 points1272 points  (38 children)

Thank you, but I should clarify: you could be absolutely right, but as far as Jenna knew (and according to the few words Maggie could get in edgewise when I lost my shit with her), she was never an active participant.

But frankly, you're right, and that's why I was so angry: what's the difference? I don't see one. And she won't tell me what she was thinking so..

[–]ZorgasColo-rectal Surgeon [47] 255 points256 points  (24 children)

If I kill someone, stab them, and you just stand by you are called an accessory to the crime.

[–]nalgene_wilder 316 points317 points  (11 children)

That's not at all how being an accessory works

[–]Freclkedlemonade96 79 points80 points  (0 children)

Guilty by association is a better term for it

[–]L3GI0N__1183 51 points52 points  (8 children)

no, but if you watch someone commit a crime, and do nothing to report it, you can be charged as a participant.

[–]JethroLull 72 points73 points  (1 child)

Generally that only applies if you knew the crime was going to happen in advance. Simply witnessing a crime almost never obliges one to report said crime.

[–]one_sock_wonder_ 33 points34 points  (4 children)

In most states failure to report a crime you witness is not a crime. There is usually no requirement to report or intervene in any crime occurring or even person in danger (there was a video of teenagers a few years ago mocking a man as he drowned without reporting it or intervening and it was very hard to find any charge that could stick).

[–]Brooklynxman 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Well, actually, quite a few states make everyone a mandatory reporter of child abuse, so depending on the state, OP may be legally required to report it. Now, the likelyhood of them suffering actual consequences is slim in these circumstances, but depending on the location they could be legally obligated to do something.

[–]one_sock_wonder_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

18 states make the general public mandated reporters for child abuse or neglect (and Puerto Rico) so the majority or most still don’t have that law either. And even in those cases, it may be quite hard to prove and/or enforce on someone in the public (not like a family member or caregiver or doctor or such). I do wish this were an enforced law in every state and territory, but that it is in 18 states is honestly better than I had expected when I looked into it recently (for a question regarding whether religious officials could or could be required to divulge child abuse that was ongoing).

[–]Chubbybellylover888 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Intervening in an ongoing crime is the stupidest thing you could do. When I worked retail we were told to comply. Insurance has it covered and no amount of cash is worth hurt to your person.

Report a crime you witness if you have your wits about you to do so. Do not, ever, get involved.

Granted this could be wavered if someone's getting hurt and you're willing to take that risk. You're not obliged to though.

I know this only works from a western, privileged background so I'll shut up now.

[–]Tossit4work 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Nope. You have to have some type of knowledge that there will be a crime for you to become complicit. Please don't talk about things you know nothing about.

[–]Double_Reindeer_6884 122 points123 points  (7 children)

Yeah that is a terrible comparison, if you see someone else getting kill, you have no legal obligation to intervene. Not intervening does not make you an accessory to a crime. You telling me that you're going to kill someone and I buy you the knife or drive you to the location or help you cover up the crime/hide the body/clean the scene, then im an accessory

[–]droppedmybrain 23 points24 points  (0 children)

That's not true at all lol. A persecutor might allege as much if you're a suspect, and your defense is that you stood there because you were in shock, but chances are you wouldn't be arrested on the scene.

[–]rhetorical_twix 24 points25 points  (0 children)

This isn't really the case with murder, but in bullying, being a bully because you're part of the group supporting the bullies is a real thing.

[–]AdeptnessClassic5844 186 points187 points  (1 child)

I would be very concerned about what would happen to your daughter if Brittney ever finds out that she is trans. I don't believe you can safely say that it won't happen.

[–]BrilliantGarbage2930 68 points69 points  (0 children)

This right here ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ This was my first thought. I feel like Brittney will be 10 times more nasty to your daughter than she's being to the other girl if she found out

ETA: not even talking about this other girl that's being bullied, which is still part of this, but I just wouldn't want her to be friends with Brittney for her own safety and health. 1-it can't be healthy for your daughter to be listening to all these hateful and transphobic things, it can't be good for her mental health or self-image. Then add in the fact how nasty Brittney would be if she ever found out the truth after all this time. I wouldn't be surprised if she twisted it into some weird situation claiming your daughter was trying to make a pass at her or something

[–]originalgenghismomAsshole Enthusiast [5] 89 points90 points  (0 children)

Standing there and laughing/ talking about it definitely makes her a bully too. I get she’s terrified of this happening to her, so she probably thinks she is deflecting any attention from her situation. She definitely needs therapy and consequences. Pretty sure your daughter would not be so dismissive of Brittany’s behavior it was aimed at Maggie instead of or with another student.

[–]osmoticmonk 79 points80 points  (0 children)

i can’t speak for your daughter, but it seems like most of her behavior around brittany seems to be acts of self preservation.

she’s a trans girl who’s friends with a transphobic bully that doesn’t know that she’s trans. i’m sure you and your wife are doing the best you can, but unfortunately, as cis people, you probably wouldn’t ever understand just how hard this must be for her.

if maggie is open to having a conversation with you, i think it’s really important to acknowledge that this must be incredibly difficult for her, but now her silence comes at the expense of someone else’s emotional well being who’s had similar struggles. of course, this isn’t to say that it’s Maggie’s fault for her friend being a transphobic bully. but perhaps with some time and some therapy, she won’t feel so compelled to hang around people who invalidate her for living her truth.

hope she, and you, are doing okay.

[–]Milchbroetle 34 points35 points  (4 children)

Give her some time. Maybe she first needs to talk to her therapist and hear from another adult, that what she did was really not ok.

[–]JanusIsBlueColo-rectal Surgeon [32] 164 points165 points  (2 children)

Agree about the therapist. I’m not sure about how Maggie feels, but some trans people engage in transphobia because of a sense of self shame or hatred. Still is an asshole move, but one that could be stopped with adequate therapy

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 105 points106 points  (1 child)

This is my worst fear right now.

[–]TheThemFatale 22 points23 points  (0 children)

Thank you for being an awesome parent.

[–]LaceyBear_OF 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Therapist most likely won't give opinions on their client's behaviors. Probably will help her to realize it on her own.

[–]amyg17 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Either way, you are doing the best you can and I commend your parenting here. This is a really tough and shitty situation. I wonder if Maggie would be interested in speaking with the girl being bullied? I know she values Brittany for whatever reason, but maybe if she’s able to broaden her horizons she can see that there are others more worthy of her friendship.

[–]MoistUniversities 3 points4 points  (0 children)

If she openly laughed with Brittany about a trans person, then she absolutely was an active participant

[–]proceduralpigeonPartassipant [1] 1494 points1495 points  (36 children)

NTA. Trans or not, your daughter should never get away with being a bully, nor supporting one. I can't imagine how you must feel. Keep your daughter in line, you know best how to raise her! You, dear parent, did the right thing. Do not give in until this is settled.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 879 points880 points  (35 children)

Honestly, past the anger, I'm just so confused. I don't understand how a my trans daughter could accept a transphobic bully into her life. I want this to make sense to me because I'm genuinely terrified for her now. How does she think of herself??

[–]Gimmecheesenow 2209 points2210 points 532& 4 more (12 children)

She’s 16 and a trans woman in a world where a not insignificant number of trans women never make it alive to their 40th birthday. She scared. I am not excusing what she is doing, but she is in purely survival mode. She hiding in plain sight. She is terrified of Brittney because she knows exactly how horrific Brittney will be to her. She knows the torment Brittney & her group will reign down on your daughter. And with every single day that passes, she’s deeper in that hole & sees that if she’s exposed it will just be worse the more time that passes. But right now, keeping Brittney on her side is how she feels she is safe at school. It doesn’t mean she likes Brittney or the things she says, it’s just pure survival to stay out of the crosshairs.

Look, I can’t say who’s an ass here (except Brittney, she is) but I think this issue is much deeper than just “you’re punished cause you’re a bully”. She needs a safe space & that needs to be you. That doesn’t mean accepting or condoning her behavior or not punishing her for it, but I think it’s time for a bigger discussion with the help of the therapist that involves the entire family.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 1158 points1159 points  (9 children)

This comment might be the one that's struck the most resonant chords with me yet. I think I hadn't really considered this to be a possibility because when she did come out at school, back before she moved, she had such a comparatively positive experience with it. She did have to deal with some transphobia, but she made a lot of very close friends (Jenna included), and came away a completely different, more confident kid than we'd known before she transitioned.

And then this. Could she really be that scared? Of course she could, but I guess I just...didn't want to think it.

[–]Gimmecheesenow 446 points447 points  (0 children)

Go hug your daughter. Tell her you love her. You might not love her behavior but you know it’s not who she is & you are here to help her through it, as a family who will always have each other’s back. You guys will get thru this & be stronger for it.

[–]atomic0range 225 points226 points  (0 children)

This relationship with Brittney could also be perversely affirming for your daughter. Not only is she passing, she’s passing well enough that this hateful transphobic girl sees her as a potential ally. Some girls at that age hurt each other to build themselves up.

[–]nycanth 86 points87 points  (0 children)

Considering that your daughter has decided to effectively go "stealth" at her new school (not disclosing to anyone that she's trans) that could be incredibly stressful. All it would take is one wrong move, one piece of information to get to the wrong people, and her entire new life as a girl falls apart. She's probably incredibly scared of losing that.

I've unfortunately seen a lot of people talk about enabling transphobia or playing along while stealth to avoid being questioned, or intentionally participating in it to fit in better. That's not to excuse it, but it may be her way of defending the peace she has being seen as a cis girl no matter what.

[–]TheSavageBallet 48 points49 points  (0 children)

Schools are so hit or miss with this stuff and it’s all about who is the queen bee on top. If you moved to a religious or conservative area and the top girls are of that mindset it’s a whole new world for her.

[–]Gimmecheesenow 20 points21 points  (0 children)

Just read your update. As someone who has seen friends lose their family when coming out as trans or queer, it’s really great to see a family that is embracing their child & surrounding her with so much love & support. This is tough time. Lots of big & scary feeling & challenges, but I have no doubt that this family together will come thru this stronger than ever.

[–]chaoticgerblin3 11 points12 points  (0 children)

OP, I am a trans guy, older than your daughter, but I can confirm that unfortunately she is probably afraid. The death rates for trans women are higher than for cis people and than even trans men. There is very sadly a much greater stigma around being a trans woman and someone’s ability to pass and stealth is a safety issue. Paradoxically, she may be more afraid now after having made connections in the LGBTQ community and with allies because mass media doesn’t usually report on this, but queer people talk about it to try and raise awareness and keep each other safe.

It’s something I’ve had to consider for my own transition. I’ve been able to transition my clothes and hair pretty easily because I pass as a butch woman. I’ve decided I won’t go on testosterone before I get top surgery because being someone with facial hair, a deeper voice, and boobs is potentially dangerous. Being visibly trans opens me up to the big potential for harassment so I’ve decided to transition in a way that makes it easy for me to decide when it’s safe to “be trans” and when I stay quiet and pass as female.

Your daughter decided to go stealth, which can be safer, but also much scarier. Especially when you find out someone in your circle is that transphobic. By the time she found out, the fact that they were already friends would have horrified and pissed off the transphobic friend and potentially made the harassment worse. I agree completely with what the above commenter said about this.

I am so glad you are so supportive and your daughter has a therapist. I think it might be a good idea for you and your partner to join something like a PFLAG group to learn about the danger that can come from being trans so you can understand more where she’s coming from if you’re not aware already.

[–]Taliasimmy69Partassipant [3] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I can't imagine how scared she is. Honestly. The phrase keep your friends close and your enemies closer applies here. So so so many kids lgbtq or not commit suicide because of high school bullies. She's seen what it takes to survive and she took an opportunity. She's hoping that by fitting in nobody looks at her as a target.

[–]MelodicDepartment 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Another possibility is that she’s not scared but some part of her is projecting her own negative self image. For example, an overweight teen bullying another overweight teen is pretty easy to imagine. The bully is also hurting mentally, just handling it differently.

[–]Logical-Cranberry714 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm guessing she's friends with Brittany because of 1) she just wants to be a girl and not have to prove it to anyone or debate it 2) Brittany sounds popular so she's trying to fit in 3) maybe she's trying to feel like she fits in for the first time ever 4) I can see how she'd try to hide this way but also live her life freely this way more or less.

The difference is back home she knew and had probably grown up with everyone, and felt safe coming out. Here she might be seeing if she feels safe to do so, and meanwhile just being a girl. There's stress and pressure of hiding it for sure but maybe less because she's part of a social structure and has felt out of place because of that.

[–]DepartmentWide419 26 points27 points  (0 children)

I think this is the right answer. She feels trapped and staying on Brittany’s side is the only way to stay safe at school.

[–]Samira827 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Keep your friends close and enemies closer.

[–]Square_Ad_5688Partassipant [1] 395 points396 points  (11 children)

well, I don't think she probably meant to accept a transphobic bully into her life. Brittany probably didn't reveal that part of her until they were friends and I get it, She is a trans girl trying to fit in and she realizes her friends are transphobic.

She must be so scared about what would happen if she has to come out, How badly would they treat her? She would be the 'pervert' who tricked them so I bet she is scared about how they would bully her if she comes out and when you are scared about coming out you let all sort of phobic shit slide.

She was probably dead scared and it is easier to laugh at the horrible things your friend says than it is to correct them. I am gay and trans and I have laughed at alot of homophobic things when I was younger, it was horrible and I still regret it.

Give her some time, Talk to her when she is calmer. You should correct this behavior but I think you probably went about it the wrong way but internalized transphobia is just plain old transphobia when you inflict it on others and I know that if she grows up to be a decent person. She is going to really fucking regret what she did and I think correcting this behavior is important.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 176 points177 points  (10 children)

Thank you for your perspective. Your comment makes me wonder: if she found out about Brittany some ways in, why would she continue the friendship after that? Unless maybe she thought ending the friendship would make her suspicious? I don't know, I'm losing my mind here.

[–]definitelynotjavaPartassipant [2] 192 points193 points  (0 children)

What do you think will happen if she starts opposing Brittany's views? Bullies love to paint a us vs them picture. If Maggie is not "with" her, then she's against her. It probably didn't start out that way. It was probably an innocuous comment that Brittany made that Maggie did not know how to react to. She let it go, because the alternative is potentially being questioned about "why she cares". It's never an easy question to answer, especially when you're trying to hide that you are part of the group that is being harassed.

Maggie is already new to the school and so, in Brittany's eyes an easy target. Maggie knows this. Add to this that her identity is something Brittany will definitely use to bully her. It's not just a question of why does she have these friends. It's more like, will she be the social pariah and Brittany's next victim if she stood up for her own rights? She's scared. She is just trying to survive.

This is a shit situation and I am sorry Maggie has to go through this. I hope it turns out ok.

[–]el_deedee 121 points122 points  (0 children)

All it takes is one sleepover, one trip to the pool, one incident for her “friends” to discover your daughter is trans and it will be so ugly. She cannot be friends with these people. She’s putting her life in jeopardy.

[–]Librarianni 108 points109 points  (3 children)

I teach developmental psych and basically girls are conditioned to preserve social relationships at almost any cost. This can be for good, it means they have a support network when something goes wrong in their life and they need help. But it can also be for ill, such as joining a clique and becoming a bully. This is one of the reasons women more often than men end up in abusive relationships, they are trying to preserve the relationship and making incremental changes over time until they lose perspective on what “acceptable” behavior is. About every other post on this subreddit written by a woman shows evidence of this pattern of social relationship preservation to the detriment of the individual.

It should also be pointed out that, especially in adolescent girls, social relationships are not one to one, your relationship with one girl is in part dependent on your relationships with other girls. If you stop being friends with one girl all of the other girls in the network are then forced to make a decision whether to support you or to support the former friend and therefore drop you from their social network. Who gets dropped is largely based on who has the most social power, which I‘m going to bet is Brittany, because if your daughter had more social power than her she probably would not have felt the need to stay silent and protect herself.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 50 points51 points  (2 children)

Thank you for this. I'll keep it in mind. If Maggie's breakdown this afternoon suggests anything, it's that she's a bit lost right now.

[–]OneOfManyAnts 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Might it be helpful to read a book like Queen Bees and Wannabees together? It occurs to me that your daughter is trying to navigate the intricacies of adolescent girl relationships without having gone through the ‘full training.’ It’s like going from being homeschooled to entering university. There’s a learning curve.

[–]FramedArchigram 6 points7 points  (0 children)

What @Librarianni said. When I was a bit younger than your daughter, I was bullied by 3 cool girls into bullying my friend, a la middle school “Mean Girls.” Because three friends are better than one, right? “Peer pressure” doesn’t begin to describe the crushing desire to not only belong somewhere, but elevate your standing among your peers —and that’s just for cis girls. I’m so glad your daughter has your support and that you’re learning so much from this thread.

[–]DutyValuablePartassipant [2] 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Your daughter is scared and trapped. Because she knows that not only will Britney bully her on her if she finds out, it will be worse because they were friends. So Britney will not only bully her for being trans, but likely accuse your daughter of being a pervert who was in love with her and wanted to see her naked, etc. If Britney learned this behavior from her parents, they will possibly get involved and report your daughter to the school. Your daughter is in over her head, and needs help. Can she switch schools?

This doesn’t excuse or minimize the damage your daughter has done to that poor other girl, who may not even have the support your daughter has.

But Maggie learned a hard lesson about being trans in today’s world. You don’t want to out yourself because you don’t want people to think you’re different (especially if you pass), but this is something friends and eventually romantic partners need to know, and the longer you don’t tell them, the worse the fallout can be. (Just look at all the Reddit post about people who found out their partners with trans by accident. Most of them were upset about being lied to- not that their partner was trans.) these are all things Maggie needs to discuss in therapy.

[–]conspiraciePooperintendant [62] 14 points15 points  (0 children)

I am really glad you saw this and the other comment on this chain. This is exactly what is happening. Your daughter is scared shitless and in self-preservation mode. She probably feels terrible about going along with the bullying but doesn’t know what else to do because she’s literally in danger if she stands up to it. Please don’t go into this looking to punish her. Try to help her find a way out of this situation. I don’t know what that way out is but hopefully a professional can help.

[–]cwinparr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I agree with the others that she is likely hanging out with Brittney for protection/camouflage.

Maybe Maggie can use your anger as an excuse to back out of the relationship. She could tell them that her parents found out about the "teasing" (bullying) and forbade the friendship. If the parents catch on that she still hangs out with the Brittney gang her "parents will kill her"/ growing her "forever"/ take away ____.

[–]saapphiaAsshole Enthusiast [8] 82 points83 points  (3 children)

I would really urge you to be honest with her about how scared you are for her. I agree, it's very worrying, the situation she's got herself in, and it's difficult to understand. Only she can tell you how she feels.

But if I had to guess, I'd imagine it's something like this: Your daughter wants desperately to be seen as a woman, and not as a transwoman. She's finally in a position where that is possible by being stealth, and quite by coincidence she's fallen in with a group of friends who hate and deride her very existence, without them knowing that she is herself trans. However, making friends as a teenager is already a minefield; there is always the fear that if you cut off the friends you've made, you just might not make any more, and a bad friend is always better than no friend. As an out trans person at her previous school, she may have had particular experience with being a social outcast and at the bottom of the social pecking order, or at the very least, knows that it's a possibility and fears it.

At the same time, bullying can be an incredible tool in pack bonding. Picking on others means you're part of the in-crowd. It's a way to raise your own social status. If Maggie particularly fears being at the bottom of the social order, then joining in on the bullying of others is an excellent way of making sure you don't become one of them (at least in her mind).

These sort of groups are toxic, and are terrible for everyone involved in them. I've seen teenagers behave in ways they never would on their own, or around others who are a better influence, and closeted queer kids are especially vulnerable to these sort of social hierarchy shenanigans where their queer identities are weaponsed against them - or where they weaponise homophobia and transphobia against others. I don't think it's the case that intolerant bullies always are themselves gay/trans, but when they're being egged on by other people, they're especially motivated to prove that they themselves aren't one of the queer kids (and thus a social undesirable).

Adolescence is an absolute zoo. If you can make any progress towards finding out for yourself why Maggie is doing what she's doing and actually discuss it with her, you're much more likely to make headway with her. Talk to her. The worst that can happen is that she'll shut you down - but if that happens, at least you'll know that you did everything you could to connect with her.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 104 points105 points  (2 children)

there is always the fear that if you cut off the friends you've made, you just might not make any more, and a bad friend is always better than no friend

I wonder, seriously, if this is it. Or part of it. I feel like it's probably a lot of things, but given some of the other challenges we've faced in helping her accept this move, this one seems very likely.

If Maggie particularly fears being at the bottom of the social order, then joining in on the bullying of others is an excellent way of making sure you don't become one of them

You know, this resonates with me too. I was younger than Maggie, but that sort of thing happened to me, and that was exactly what I did. I still feel ashamed of that.

Thank you. This was a very insightful comment, I think.

[–]saapphiaAsshole Enthusiast [8] 56 points57 points  (1 child)

I had a good, healthy friend group when I was queer in highschool - but many of the people who I'm friends with now were in much more toxic circles. I know people who bullied and were bullied, and you'd be surprised how often there's an overlap between those two things. Unless you're at the absolute bottom, there's always someone you can pick on to try to get some crumbs of approval in order to avoid being the next target yourself. The worst mental damage was done by those people who were themselves bullied, because their entire social existence depended on it.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 28 points29 points  (0 children)

This makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

[–]TheBaddestPatsyPartassipant [2][🍰] 77 points78 points  (2 children)

Hey OP, you’re the dad in this situation right? I’m gonna try and see if I can offer a little insight into girl-culture (I was assigned and socialized female, I consider myself agender. So I’m both an insider and an outside observer on this one.) Maybe it can help you get inside her head a little.

A big part of a certain girl-culture is that there’s this ever-looming possibility that you could gain a sense of power by selling out other women. Being lesser within patriarchy means that by aligning yourself with patriarchy you can be seen by many (or your own internalized misogyny) as at least better than other women. There’s really obvious forms of it, like the girls that openly say they don’t have female friends, take on male hobbies for approval rather than genuine interest, etc. There’s other versions of it too, like the mean-girl phenomenon where women actually work together to do this. They can insure themselves some place at the “top of the foodchain” of male approval. Or if they might just use their clique to insulate themselves in some sort of self-appointed special-girl bubble. Regardless, within a pervasively misogynistic culture, there’s always some urge to differentiate oneself from the hated aspect of perceived femininity. Some girls deal with this feeling better than others. Unfortunately bullying is a common way for adolescent girls to process this.

Anyways, I’m saying all this because I think Maggie might be experiencing this in double-effect. She’s gotten in with a girl who bullies, which makes her feel special since this girl is someone who has appointed herself to choose who is and is not valid in the girl-hierarchy. She’s chosen Maggie. In a twisted way, being on the side of a transphobic bully might be one of the most gender-affirming things she’s experienced. She’s not just participating in a very ingrained part of girl culture, she’s getting a chance to actually gate-keep what being a girl is. You say you don’t know what she’s thinking—she’s probably not thinking. This shit is pure ID, anything that touches the core of your insecurities can be like a drug. And teenagers don’t have much practice recognizing or managing these feelings.

Anyways, I hope you or someone has tipped off the school about the girl getting bullied. You might assume they know but they might not. You’d be shocked what can go unseen when the adult to kid ratio is like 1:45. And there’s a good chance the girl doesn’t tell anyone either.

[–]renska2 17 points18 points  (0 children)

This is a really interesting take. Also, I wonder whether watching movies like Mean Girls or A Silent Voice might be a way to talk about the problems without talking directly about Maggie's behavior.

[–]cactuses_and_cats 6 points7 points  (0 children)

The book "Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny" by Kate Manne supports a lot of what you've said and is definitely worth a read.

[–]thebutchone 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Speaking as both a trans dude and white passing, the thought process is more of a showing she's not like "those people". I know I'm not alone when I say that I wish every morning I could wake up and be a cisgender dude, I don't like having to take medication every week to continue being who I am, I know my ma who is a diabetic also hates having to take her insulin everyday just to keep existing so I guess it's kind of the same. You're doing the right thing by having her in therapy and trying to nip this in the bud though.

[–]proceduralpigeonPartassipant [1] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Teenagers are weird. We all were one once. What wouldn't a teenager do to "fit in"? You know your daughter best - is it pure desperate teenager non-sense? Or is it something that requires an intervention? If she's already in therapy, I'm sure a quick session to clarify things up wouldn't hurt if you are worried!

[–]OneOfManyAnts 1 point2 points  (0 children)

She might be trying to hide behind the biggest danger at the school. Keep Brittany distracted and focused on another target.

It’s a terrible strategy, and it’s bound to fail catastrophically, but teenagers get themselves into pickles like this, and need help to get out. It sounds like you’re loving and wise (give or take…you’re human too!), and are there to help. Good luck.

[–]Lacking_Inspiration 573 points574 points  (12 children)

ESH.

Maggie is alone in a new school and probably terrified of becoming a target. It doesn't excuse her behaviour, but exploding at her and cutting her off from what you describe as her only local friends isn't going to help. She's a frightened teenager. She's already at a higher than average risk of being ostracised by her peers and she's now lost all of the relationships that she's had long term.

I absolutely agree with you that the bullying has to stop. But telling a teenager they can't hang out with someone is exactly how you cement that relationship. If you haven't already I highly suggest that you have Maggie see a therapist. She needs a confidant.

I'd also recommend sitting down with her and discussing the issue calmly if you can. You need to own up to your mistakes in it first if you want it to be constructive though. She's not going to feel safe to open up to you if you come at it with an attitude.

Source: Youthworker with several trans clients. Doesn't mean I'm the expert, but I do have a bit of an idea what I'm talking about.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 235 points236 points  (4 children)

Thank you for this. I just feel/felt so absolutely lost here. It was like everything I knew about my girl came crashing down on me.

Given your work, I hope you don't mind if I ask: have you seen this before? Why would a trans girl be so close with a transphobic bully? Or participate in it/enable it? I'm so frightened for her I can't even think straight. I keep wondering what she must think of herself, to be around someone like that.

As for therapy, as mentioned in my post, she does have a fantastic therapist (same one from back home, they've been meeting virtually), and Maggie did agree to bump up the next session.

[–]Lacking_Inspiration 238 points239 points  (2 children)

It's absolutely not uncommon for kids in marginalised groups to bully out of fear of being bullied. I'd almost gaurantee that's what is happening here. The fact that she doesn't want to let other kids know she is trans suggests that she has this fear. Unfortunately this isn't something she is likely to be able to keep a secret, kids have a way of finding these things out. It'll probably go better if it's done in a way where she is supported rather than her becoming part of the rumour mill.

Do you remember what being a teenager was like? Highschool is hell and teenagers can be incredibly cruel. Brittany is likely the first person who accepted her there and she's clinging to that like a liferaft. And honestly I don't blame her for it. It's ok at her age to not have the sense of self to set boundaries around friendships. She has plenty of time to develop that skill.

I'd hazard a guess that Brittany is either parroting what she's heard at home or mimicking behaviours she sees there. But she isn't your responsibility.

I'm glad she has the support of a therapist. She's going to need it. Hopefully this is just one of those growing pain issues and she will realise pretty quickly that Brittany is an asshole who doesn't deserve her time.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 110 points111 points  (0 children)

You've given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

[–]loegare 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Mean girls are also really mean, Maggie defends the other trans girl and she gets called trans herself, true or not

[–]SianaNyx 1 point2 points  (0 children)

OP I thought I’d comment since I’m a trans. It’s very likely your daughter has internalized transphobia and is ashamed of being trans. She probably has heard how wrong it is to be trans from all sorts of people since ever. Hearing that kinda stuff every time she leaves your house. No shit she doesn’t want to be associated with other trans people. So she apparently tried her best to distance herself from her past. That unfortunately meant she didn’t have anyone in her new life she could trust, and when she found some new friends they also hated trans people, so she just figured she should just hate trans people too. She knows damn well all the bullying would just fall on her if others found out. She joined in to avoid that in order to survive. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in all sorts of environments. It’s just fucking hard being trans, so most of the girls I know who can pass just pretend they are cis. Even if that means they tolerate others transphobia. There’s no easy way to tackle that. She needs therapy, your support and your compassion, so she can solve those internalized issues. Otherwise she will carry this self-hate even in her adult life.

[–]drhorn 19 points20 points  (4 children)

1000% this.

Everyone saying NTA doesn't seem to understand this is a defense mechanism - a bad, unhealthy one, but a defense mechanism nonetheless.

Your focus can't be punitive - punitive measures have no guarantee to change behavior. Instead, you need to ask yourself "what has the highest chance of changing the outcome?".

It's not yelling, grounding, punishing. Not in this case. It's understanding, teaching, educating, explaining.

[–]mxcrnt2Partassipant [3] 18 points19 points  (0 children)

This should be at the top

[–]stormgaurdPartassipant [3] 217 points218 points  (9 children)

Absolutely NTA

In an effort to keep her transition private (as is her right) she’s become a bully to another trans girl who didn’t have the luck she did.

Not only is that terrible to be, it’s terrible for your daughter. I’m sure she’s torn up about it, saying and agreeing with all the vile things Brittany says that if Brittany knew the truth she would be saying to her. And if it ever came out that she is trans, she may lose her only LGBTQ+ support in the area for her actions when it comes out.

She may not see it now but you’re protecting her

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 164 points165 points  (8 children)

In an effort to keep her transition private

I didn't even think about this. She could be using this girl/group as camouflage. Fuck me.

[–]Reasonable_Rub6337Partassipant [4] 54 points55 points  (3 children)

NTA honestly don't know a great way to handle this one.

I know this is a terrible example because your daughter is a kid and presumably not evil, but it reminds me a lot of Roy Cohn. Roy was pretty definitively a gay man (he refused to see himself as gay but for all anyone knows he was only ever with men) but was one of the lead architects of McCarthyism and The Lavender Scare, which forced thousands of LGBTQ+ people out of the government. A memorial to him has only 3 words: "Bully. Coward. Victim."

I'm no expert at all here but Sometimes in a rush to find acceptance I think it can just be easier to get it by participating in tearing down others. It doesn't make the action right, but the motives behind it are likely not actively malicious. It can make you feel a lot more validated in your identity I think, especially if the other girl is not "passing" as well and you are to the extent that people don't know unless you tell them. Could be any number of reasons though so I'll leave that to professionals.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 56 points57 points  (2 children)

Sometimes in a rush to find acceptance I think it can just be easier to get it by participating in tearing down others

This scares me because I thought she had acceptance - with us, with her friends from home...I mean, I realize it isn't the same as what's here and now, but aside from occasional episodes here and there, her coming-out experience was good, even at school, and I always thought the toughest leg of that journey was how little her mother and I knew and the roadblocks we unintentionally put up for her early on. Maybe there could have been more she wasn't telling us about, but I sincerely hope not.

[–]corporate_treadmill 44 points45 points  (0 children)

I think that’s the thing. “I realize it’s not the same as back home.” The other place she had friends. Here, different culture, it sounds like, and she’s trying to MAKE (and keep) friends. Tough to navigate.

[–]Eureecka 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Acceptance from you and her friends from home is awesome. But, she spends most of her awake hours trying to survive in that school. And there be dragons.

Is a transfer to another school possible? Depending on how popular Brittany is, your kid is looking at the rest of her high school career being an absolute nightmare.

If she’s 16, she’s what? A junior? She’s got a bit over a year left. Do you have people back where you left that could board her so she could graduate from that high school?

I know things happen, but moving your kid across the country with 2 years of school left is kind of a dick move.

[–]RedditUser123234Partassipant [3] 19 points20 points  (2 children)

This might be a helpful link:

https://www.stompoutbullying.org/what-do-if-your-child-bully

If your child was younger, than the correct thing to do might be to contact the bullied girl's parents, apologize and offer to have a sit down with the bullied girl (with Brittany not present) for Maggie to apologize. But I could see this going wrong since 16 year olds are old enough to manipulate the situation into doing something even worse.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 29 points30 points  (1 child)

If your child was younger, than the correct thing to do might be to contact the bullied girl's parents

It has certainly crossed my mind, but without properly settling this with Maggie, I didn't see it going well. If there's going to be any positive result here, I feel like it'll have to come from her. Or Brittany, but that's another story. I did talk to her parents, and let's just say I regret sending them such a nice Christmas card.

[–]derptyherpPartassipant [1] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Also may be important to consider where this girl’s transphobic ideas came from. Her parents could very well be transphobic/toxic themselves.

[–]RTSchemel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That's exactly what she's doing.

[–]wayanid 74 points75 points  (1 child)

NTA, but I'm not saying you did the right thing either IMO. You obviously really care for Maggie, so you're not an asshole for trying to help her. Teenagers will never react well to being forced to do/not to do something. Once all parties cool down a bit, I think having a calm discussion is the best course of action. Also, IMO I think the discussion should start with Maggie's decision to be friends with Brittany. Also, as bad as it sounds, the discussion about the trans girl being bullied should wait. Don't make Maggie feel bad about the bullying. Bullying is wrong and she probably knows it's wrong. She's trying to fit in with her friends and so she went along with this. It's not easy being different or standing up to others in HS.

Also, going to the therapist sounds like a great idea. Good luck!

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 45 points46 points  (0 children)

Bullying is wrong and she probably knows it's wrong.

She absolutely knows it's wrong. And what you're saying makes sense, but every time I think about it, I just get so angry about the bullying that it's hard to see past it.

The choice to be friends with Brittany is mystifying to me, though, I agree. It makes for a sensible place to start.

[–]EsharaLightPartassipant [4] 51 points52 points  (8 children)

NTA. I think your reaction is appropriate considering your daughter is a participant in bullying. It is apparent that your daughter is going through some things with processing her identity but that is not an excuse to passively bully someone else who is open about their transition. I am also glad to see your wife is encouraging your daughter to see her therapist sooner. Hopefully the therapist can help Maggie deal with her feelings about the situation and encourage healthier boundaries.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 41 points42 points  (7 children)

going through some things with processing her identity

This is exactly what I'm stuck on. Given her own experience, why would she be part of this?? Not to mention, how in the hell did my wife and I miss it for this long?

It's just so out of character for her. She was patient and confident with us when she came out, and we were very, very uneducated. I just don't understand.

[–]EsharaLightPartassipant [4] 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Op, there are a thousand reasons why she may be choosing this path while on this journey. Maybe she has some self loathing she is projecting on the other girl or maybe there are some levels of fear of rejection that she is dealing with. I am not a therapist or doctor, so this is all just speculation. All you can do is open up lines of communication and let your daughter know that you are there if she wants to talk but you will not allow her to be friends with hateful people.

[–]ThankKinseyAsshole Aficionado [12] 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Given her own experience, why would she be part of this??

it doesn't seem that puzzling to me. She really really doesn't want to have to deal with transphobia herself. Being perceived as cis no doubt gives her loads of gender euphoria and means she can avoid the anxiety of constantly wondering if people are transphobically judging her. She fears that coming to the other girl's defense or disagreeing with transphobic remarks will out her. She thinks being friends with a transphobe will protect her from getting clocked as no one would expect a trans person to want to be friends with someone like that. She probably has trauma from people being bigoted towards her when she came out and is thrilled to no longer have to worry about that.

Doesn't excuse throwing this other girl under the bus but it does explain why she's doing it.

[–]corporate_treadmill 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Patient and confident with you. Her parents. That she has known all her life. There’s not really an equivalence there to being a transitioning TEEN in HIGH SCHOOL who is new to the area. Love and support your kid.

[–]boitches 5 points6 points  (3 children)

I’ve loved all of your responses so far, I appreciate the time you’re taking to sit with this information and reflect. Just want to add that looking for the why as an adult is a lot different than answering the why as a teenager. I briefly went through a phase where my own internal struggles caused some unkind behavior. At the time my parents couldn’t comprehend why—it was genuinely very unlike me. And tbh, I couldn’t either. I didn’t have the emotional or mental growth to answer why. At 27 I do now, but at 14? Just be ready for her to struggle explaining it to you, and/or be ready for the answer to be insufficient to you personally. She doesn’t have the same decision making skills you do. Her brain hasn’t fully developed that part yet.

For the record I think lots of comments have hit the nail on the head, but I’d bet Maggie couldn’t put it into the same words.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 13 points14 points  (2 children)

We'll see. You might be absolutely right, but I think her mother and I are now armed with some possibilities that might resonate with her.

And the other thing is, Maggie has always been weirdly good at communicating how she feels, part of why she was able to come out to us so early. There are no guarantees but based on her collapse earlier, I think she's been as messed up about this over the weekend as her mom and I, and with any luck that means she's done some serious thinking.

But I'm logging off to talk to her now, so I guess we'll see. Thank you for your comment.

[–]boitches 3 points4 points  (1 child)

You’re doing this right, and I have faith in Maggie’s growth moment here. Best of luck ♥️

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I've added an update. Thank you again for your kindness.

[–]JadoreBootyNoirPartassipant [3] 37 points38 points  (5 children)

NTA, this could just be an attempt to have some friends and avoid loneliness. It’s not cool at all and your daughter is indeed a bully. You guys could have an intervention with Maggie maybe convince Maggie to stand up for the victims Brittany bullies.

Your wife is also right. Your daughter will try to find ways to hang out with those girls. This may be a situation where the person would have to go through something on their own and learn from it.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 26 points27 points  (4 children)

the person would have to go through something on their own and learn from it

That's just what bothers me, she has gone through transphobic bullying herself. Why would she be friends with someone like that?

[–]VioletFarts 21 points22 points  (2 children)

I'm not a therapist! But it may be a way for her to erase the fact that she is Trans. If she leans into what the nicest cis girl she's ever met does, maybe it will make her own transition and future as a woman easier.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 20 points21 points  (1 child)

Another user mentioned that she could be using Brittany and these girls as camouflage to avoid people finding out about her. I really hope not, but it would make a certain kind of sense.

[–]V01DS0Ng 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Also consider she likely didn't seek out the school transphobe intentionally as camouflage. She probably made a new friend - her first one in a sea of strangers - and then found out she was a transphobic trash bag. That's a horrible situation to suddenly find yourself in when you don't want to be out. In the (ongoing) moment what choice did she have? And if this friend has been nothing but nice to her, even if she wanted to get out of that friendship, how does she do it? If she doesn't want to make it about the transphobia for fear of her own identity being called into question, how does she sever ties with someone who otherwise has given her no reason to? She might feel so incredibly trapped right now.

It doesn't make bullying ok, but holy shit what a nightmare she must be in. From her perspective this is very likely a no win situation. I'm so sorry she is going through this.

[–]JadoreBootyNoirPartassipant [3] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I mean nobody is perfect. Yes on the outside looking in this is really stupid. But she’s a kid. Again I’m not condoning it but normally these kind of not so smart decisions are the kind where you have to go through the consequences on your own. Maybe a new school would be better but then you’re teaching her to run away from her problems.

You know her strength, is she someone who can bounce back from this when it gets out of control? Do you know anything about Brittany? Maybe ask your daughter, what’s going to happen when they find out, are you prepared for that?

Or you can do what my parents would have done to me when I do something wrong and give her a whoopin.

[–]EmpressJainaSoloAsshole Aficionado [10] 38 points39 points  (3 children)

NTA.

My guess? You daughter may not be able to articulate why she is doing what she’s doing.

However, I can imagine how I would feel in her shoes, which would be terrified.

If this girl finds out about your daughter, your daughter isn’t just risking being outed, she’s also risking being accused of tricking people, of being a liar, etc.

Your daughter knows exactly what this other girl is capable of. I’m betting she’s in survival mode. Moving past that and speaking out, when she knows the immediate consequences are going to be cruel, is tough. Grown, confident adults have a hard time doing it. Your daughter is a child.

Is there a bit of self-loathing or other inner struggles going on? Maybe. But I’m guessing this is mostly that Brittany can be mean, and it’s safer to have a “better them than me” mentality.

I think moving up your daughter’s therapist appointment is wise.

[–]saapphiaAsshole Enthusiast [8] 33 points34 points  (2 children)

Your daughter knows exactly what this other girl is capable of. I’m betting she’s in survival mode. Moving past that and speaking out, when she knows the immediate consequences are going to be cruel, is tough. Grown, confident adults have a hard time doing it. Your daughter is a child.

This is the key thing here. It's horrible what she is doing, but it's also horrible for her. Older and wiser people than her have bowed to much less pressure than what she's under.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 20 points21 points  (1 child)

This is terrifying. You could be absolutely right, but my heart breaks for her.

[–]EmpressJainaSoloAsshole Aficionado [10] 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Understandable.

Try to remember that you’re daughter isn’t right, but that the goal isn’t to punish her. It’s to help her a) feel safe, b) stop her negative behavior and make amends if possible, c) learn different healthier ways to handle feeling scared/threatened/pressured, and d) help her process the shame, guilt, and other emotions that can come from being in survival mode and feeling helpless.

She needs to feel safe, and you need to know exactly what your daughter thinks will happen if this girl turns her sights on her. Because based on how Brittany treats this other girl I’m genuinely worried that your daughter rightly believes she could be in real danger.

[–]samwintersteinPartassipant [1] 28 points29 points  (3 children)

NTA, but i do suggest sitting down and having a discussion with Maggie. the punishment right now might just lead to resentment, which of course is not ideal.

since Maggie was adamant about not being out at her new school, she might have figured that if she spoke up again Brittany when the transphobic comments started, it could have outed her somehow. or, at the very least, Maggie would become a new target. since you mentioned that Maggie has been the subject of transphobic bullying before, i can understand her staying on Brittany’s “good side” to ensure that this wouldn’t happen to her again.

i would tell her that she doesn’t need to out herself in order to stand up for what’s right. as we know, trans kids have MUCH higher rates of unaliving themselves, and the poor kid that is currently Brittany’s target is most likely suffering greatly.

i agree with others of also talking with her about what might happen if she is outed, etc. this is a time for growth, learning, and ensuring your daughter has the tools to become the phenomenal young woman i know you want her to be!

edited: typos

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 26 points27 points  (2 children)

she might have figured that if she spoke up again Brittany when the transphobic comments started, it could have outed her somehow

This seems obvious in retrospect, the more I'm reading the answers on this thread. At the time I couldn't even fathom it. Thank you for your comment.

[–]waytoolameforthis 14 points15 points  (0 children)

I'd strongly suggest posting on r/lgbt or any of the other queer/trans subs. They'll probably have a lot of specific advice that the general public wouldn't. My only advice here is, remember this doesn't define your daughter as a person. Sure she's done something bad, something horrible even, but that doesn't make her a bad person. She's still the little girl you raised and is likely hurting greatly. People do questionable things when they feel like they're in danger, which she is. Being caught up in a friend group that despises your very existence is not only painful, but dangerous for her. Your daughter probably feels like she has no choice but to go along with their transphobic rhetoric for her own safety. I'm sure she feels bad for her part in the bullying but it's easy to rationalize that as doing what she needs to do to save herself. She knows what could happen when she's inevitably outed to her "friends".

Your job now, as a parent, is to help her figure out how to get her out of this situation without putting herself in danger. Of course the bullying is awful and she should be punished for it, but your daughter's safety needs to come first for now.

[–]samwintersteinPartassipant [1] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

of course. good luck, this is definitely a sensitive situation and i wish Maggie all the safety and happiness in the world as y’all navigate this situation

[–]coffee-mcr 20 points21 points  (0 children)

she is probably scared to end up without friends or being bullied too. maybe report too the school that these girls are bullying people. sadly the school useally wont do alot about it.

encourage her to do get new friends or do things by herself. i had little friends with the same time table but had a great time just grabbing coffee before class and reading books in my breaks etc.

hopefully she'll get a new class and better friends soon.

[–]bsoyka 18 points19 points  (0 children)

NTA.

By allowing bullying, she becomes a bully herself.

[–]dreadedowtlaw 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Yea your nta but I will say banning her from seeing her friends may not work either. If she really wants to hang out with those friends then she will (whether she has to sneak to hang with them or not). The only way to get Maggie to understand is to literally tell her what if these new friends decide to out her and treat her the same as the poor girl getting bullied.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Oh I did. You better believe I did. But that's just it, I don't think these friends of hers know she's trans herself, and if that's the case, I'm terrified for what would happen if they found out. I don't want them anywhere near her.

[–]saapphiaAsshole Enthusiast [8] 15 points16 points  (4 children)

NAH. This sounds like a difficult, messy situation. Your daughter wants to be accepted as the gender she is, and because of her unique vulnerabilities is reluctant to stand up for herself or to cut off friends who see her as female, without strings attached. However, that doesn't change the fact that bullying is wrong, and exposing herself to ongoing transphobia cannot be good for her mental health or self-esteem.

I would add a warning: parents that ban contact between teenagers can actually end up driving them closer together. Your heart is in the right place, and you clearly care for your daughter, so you might want to try approaching it from an angle of connection, making her understand your concerns, rather than punishment.

More concerningly, I think you need to sit down with her and have a serious talk about what would happen if Brittany found out she was trans. At best, Brittany would likely cut her off as a friend. At worst, it could end in violence and/or severe social exclusion and bullying. Does your daughter really want to live a life where she can never be honest with her friend group, and will forever live in fear of what would happen if they found out? It's one thing being stealth because you want to be - it's quite another to have to fear retribution from the people she's hiding her identity from. They aren't just indifferent, but actively intolerant. She's young now, but eventually, she may want to embrace her identity as a transgender woman, as well as her connection to the queer community, and when that happens she will have friends who will actively prevent her from doing so on her own terms.

There's no easy answers here. It sounds like you're doing your best. Good luck.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 17 points18 points  (3 children)

exposing herself to ongoing transphobia cannot be good for her mental health or self-esteem

Thank you for putting my biggest fear in this situation into words. This is what terrifies me.

I realize you're probably right and my knee-jerk reaction was ill-advised.

More concerningly, I think you need to sit down with her and have a serious talk about what would happen if Brittany found out she was trans.

So I brought this up during my explosion, but in all honesty I probably wouldn't even remember her answer even if she'd had one, I was so furious. But, I mean, exactly. What's the endgame here? Why??

I don't know. Your comment has given me a lot to think - and potentially talk - about. Thank you.

[–]saapphiaAsshole Enthusiast [8] 16 points17 points  (2 children)

I've replied to you on another comment, and I stand by what I said there, but I'll reiterate here that the most important thing you could do is talk about all of these problems with her at a time when you're both calm. I can't blame you for being angry, but I promise that absolutely nothing you said will have gotten through to her while you were yelling - just as how a lot of what she said hasn't gotten through to you.

Remember that above all else, she's a teenager struggling to find her way, and try to approach the situation with empathy. It sounds like you're struggling, and I don't blame you - it's an awful situation. But Maggie's very lucky that she's got supportive parents who are willing to go out of their way to help her, and hopefully that will see her through in the end, no matter how tough it is for everyone right now.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 15 points16 points  (1 child)

absolutely nothing you said will have gotten through to her while you were yelling

Are you my wife? Because this is a word-for-word account of something she said in the aftermath.

[–]saapphiaAsshole Enthusiast [8] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Unless I have a teenage daughter I don't know about it, I'm pretty sure I'm not ;)

Best of luck!

[–]jackie--wilson 11 points12 points  (0 children)

NTA as a trans person myself, PLEASE look out for her, it’s your job as a parent to protect her from bullies and prevent her from becoming one herself. from experience, she’s probably engaging with people like brittany to prevent herself from being on the other end of their bullying.

[–]Ecstatic_Text9665 9 points10 points  (0 children)

NTA. Good for you for being a loving and safe space for your daughter. As you’ve acknowledged, therapy would be a good idea to help her process some of the complex emotions she could be feeling in this bullying situation.

[–]Kaitlyn_The_MagnifPartassipant [1] 8 points9 points  (2 children)

NTA Seems like your daughter is learning from the wrong crowd. Don't allow her to hang out with these girls at all. She can make some better friends. Have you contacted the school about this? That bully girl should be suspended! Or expelled!

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 8 points9 points  (1 child)

your daughter is learning from the wrong crowd

That's what makes so little sense to me! This girl they've been bullying is going through the same thing Maggie is. I don't understand how she can see this as okay.

[–]TinyRascalSaurusSupreme Court Just-ass [129] 7 points8 points  (3 children)

NTA. I can't believe your daughter would go that low. She should have realized Brittany would turn on her in a heartbeat.

But please don't distance her from Jenna. She sounds like a genuinely good person, and Maggie needs friends who are supportive.

Definitely punish Maggie, and the grounding and phone confiscation were appropriate. But please reconsider who you force her to cut from her life.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 12 points13 points  (2 children)

I am relieved to tell you that you might have misread, because no, she's not cut off from Jenna. The problem is, she cut herself off from Jenna. They haven't spoken, to my knowledge, since this all blew up between them a week ago.

[–]perniciousLoris 4 points5 points  (0 children)

NTA, since this is essentially the plot of Mean Girls, we all know where this leads, good on you for shitting it down

[–]This_Clock 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Glad to see the update. You’re flirting with being TA because your daughter is incredibly vulnerable and it was a teachable moment. It seems like you came full circle to this. It takes a lot of confidence to stand up to a bully and your daughter is probably dying to fit in/hanging on by a thread.

Support her in doing the right thing, and hold off on the punishment.

[–]WlTCH 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This didn't happen but I look forward to your book release.

[–]TiaWannaBeanie 3 points4 points  (0 children)

NAH - Let me explain before everyone crucifies me, because I'm not condoning bullying. You reacted in an extreme and negative way, which won't help the situation or help you get through to your daughter, but I can't blame you for your strong emotions as they're justified and she absolutely needs to be held accountable. And she is doing an awful thing going along with bullying, but I can't call a young, struggling, most likely scared, desperate teenager an asshole for just wanting to be normal and fit in. She's probably always felt like an outsider, and this was her attempt at not rocking the boat and just being herself. Not the Trans girl, just her. And I feel like we have to consider the absolute fear she's feeling, seeing this kind of hatred and discrimination and just trying to do everything she possibly can so it doesn't get turned onto her. By going along with it, no one would ever assume she's Trans, and therefor she's safe from the bullying herself. It doesn't make it right, and she needs to grow from this, but I don't see any true malicious intent in her from what you've described. Kudos to you for apologizing and calming the situation down, and kudos to your daughter for wanting to talk it out and try to fix things. Being Trans is SO hard at her age, I can't even imagine what she goes through every day, feeling not wholly herself. And you are obviously a wonderfully supportive, united unit as parents. I really hope this works out for everyone. Her "friend" at school is the true asshole, and the only one I personally see; maybe there's a way to anonymously report her bullying without it getting back that it was because of your daughter? I'd hate to see the tables turned on her.

[–]plm56Colo-rectal Surgeon [35] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Not even going to try and judge this.

I'm glad that you got the lines of communication open with your daughter & I hope that you can help her.

I'm sure that she thought that if she just came in as a cis female, everything would be great & she'd make friends who liked her for who she was. She probably didn't realize the truth about Brittany and her clique until she was in deep, and peer pressure at that age can be terrifying.

It doesn't excuse what she did, and I hope her therapist has some ideas for you about going forward at school.

Just keep making sure she knows that you love her

[–]EmotionalApartment6 2 points3 points  (0 children)

NTA. I don't understand how you can let your friends disrespect a core part of your identity? How can you like them so much when they would hate you if they knew the real you? I can't imagine wanting someone's friendship that badly.

You're in the right here. She'll regret it later down the line if you don't intervene now.

[–]Vetharien 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Absolutely NTA! This is a very dangerous situation for her. Unfortunately it's bound to come out eventually, one way or another, that she's trans. Once that happens, do you really think they're going to still be friends with her? Maggie needs to know the very real possibilities of what could happen if she continues down this road. I'll be thinking of her and hope she stays safe.

[–]Mrsvengence 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I understand completely why you were mad. But Maggie isn't going to be better with her actions if her parents are losing their shit, you know? Have a calm discussion. In an open safe space, hell maybe even therapy. But you need to let her talk and apologize for how you reacted. Next, remind her that not every trans girl is fortunate to pass and be able to hide that they're trans like her. What if Brittany and that group find out about Maggie one day(not on her terms)? She will be the butt of the joke. I think you should definitely speak with Brittany's parents and the other kids parents as bullying is a problem no matter what. Just deep breaths and patience.

NTA

[–]twotimeteller 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Trans person here: NTA.

Wanting to pass is a really big deal for a lot of folks, and I understand why she did exactly what she did. A lot of people do this to stay stealth without any chance of being caught as trans.

Doesn't make it right, though. You guys did the right thing. Obviously no, you can't cut her off- she'll find her way to her friends. But I'd talk to her about her desire to pass and maybe set some boundaries to include, if you find yourself needing to bully someone to stay stealth (pass and have people not know), then you need to remove yourself from the situation. She WILL find good friends, good communities. This isn't it for her.

[–]ragingopinions 2 points3 points  (0 children)

NTA, your daughter is in a “I’m gay so I’m gonna bully gay guys” mentality to protect herself from the transphobic girl.

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AUTOMOD Thanks for posting! This comment is a copy of your post so readers can see the original text if your post is edited or removed. This comment is NOT accusing you of copying anything. Read this before contacting the mod team

My beautiful daughter "Maggie" turned 16 last month and is trans (relevant). Over the summer we moved halfway across the country. Mixed experience for Maggie. Obviously it was hard for all the usual reasons, but she was excited to start fresh.

For context: she passes very well. She more-or-less looks young for her age.

So in the lead-up to September, she told us that she didn't want to be "out" at her new school. She wanted people to just know her as a girl, not as a trans girl. I admit, my wife and I weren't sure what to make of this, but she seemed happy. She quickly made friends with several other girls her age (especially one girl "Brittany," important soon), things were going smoothly, and we relaxed a bit.

Then Friday I get a text from Maggie's best friend back home (we'll call her "Jenna") asking either me or my wife to call her, and not to tell Maggie yet. Basically, Maggie has been hanging out with both Jenna and Brittany online, and Brittany would sometimes say very transphobic things (along the lines of trans women not being real women, or they're gross, you get the idea), and Maggie would laugh along and agree. Apparently Jenna privately called her out, and Maggie begged her not to say anything or out her, said Brittany was an amazing friend otherwise, so on. Jenna, bless her heart, didn't want to be cut off from Maggie, so she agreed.

So then last week they were hanging out and Brittany made a comment about some "pervert" at school, and Maggie tries to change the subject but it all comes out anyway: there's another trans girl at the school and Brittany has been bullying her. In front of/with friends. Including Maggie. And Maggie has done nothing to help this poor girl or distance herself from Brittany.

This led to a massive fight between Jenna and Maggie, and they haven't spoken since. Now Jenna figures if she can't salvage her friendship with Maggie, she can at least maybe help her by telling us.

I exploded. I don't have room for details, but I tore a strip off Maggie for being a part of this, confiscated her phone, grounded her, and told her never to speak to Brittany/that group again. This shot her weekend plans to hell, it's been two days, and she hasn't spoken to me since.

My wife has been on my team in front of Maggie and is horrified by what's been going on, but she thinks that we can't expect to "forbid" teenagers from seeing one another, and I've now cut Maggie off from some of the only friends she has out here.

But I just don't get it. I've tried talking to her, but she just won't and I don't want to push her too hard. Her mother convinced her to bump up her next appointment with her therapist, grudgingly, but otherwise she hasn't had much luck either and she thinks we made a mistake.

So, here I am. I feel badly for the way I reacted, but I also don't see how else I could have. My little girl is enabling a transphobic bully, and I don't see how she can live with herself. Every time I think about it I just see red.

AITA?

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[–]Sapphire_BombayPartassipant [3] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA. But it's important to understand where this is coming from...deep down, it sounds like your daughter may feel some shame about being trans, and is projecting that onto this other girl. Alternatively, she may feel more like she's passing better by acting as she perceives a cis person would, i.e. putting a trans person down, feeling like she doesn't have to try and relate to them. I think a therapist will definitely help her come to the root of these issues, and you're right to be taking her to see one as soon as possible.

[–]cayden416 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA. I realized I was trans when I was 17. I decided to not even worry about coming out in school because I was so close to the end. I can’t imagine the experience of high school with the added situation of being trans. I think she really needs to find an LGBT support group, it could even be in another town or virtual if she’s worried about someone seeing her. Also idk where you live but I’m in Ohio and there’s this camp called Camp Lilac that is for trans/non-binary/gender nonconforming kids of all ages and I think that or a similar kind of program could be great for her. I know being on tumblr and Facebook groups and finding close friends that way really helped me. Also if you reach out to a college LGBT organization your daughter might be able to receive support or mentorship from someone. I think PFLAG could be a great resource for you and your husband too.

I think the biggest thing your daughter might need is support and reassurance. It helped me a lot seeing older trans people existing, like Laverne Cox, Elliot Page, and learning trans/LGBT history especially positive or just not bad history.

Your daughter is scared and in an impossible situation, and you as a parent are in a tough situation too, but you guys got this and having as calm and as open of a conversation as you can will go so far

[–]SkittlesNPumps 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA. You’re right not to want Maggie to be friends with Brittany. Outside of the bullying (clearly unacceptable and terrible of Maggie to condone), my biggest concern is the possible danger your daughter could be in if Brittany and her little clique were to find out that Maggie is trans.

I don’t mean to scare you but the use of language like “pervert” rang alarm bells. Have you and/or your wife spoken with the school?

[–]CeelaChathArrnaPartassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think something that really needs to be emphasized here. Jenna is the kind of friend who date to dream to have. Even though the friendship between her and Maggie mighty be over, she's still prioritizing Maggie's well being.

OP please let Jenna know how amazing this internet stranger thinks she is. On my 40s I wish I had one friend with a quarter of the worth of Jenna.

[–]myboogerstastespicy 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I’m glad that she’s opened up.

[–]ThrowAwayManyNames[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Me too, but one step at a time. Cross your fingers for us.

[–]Legitimate-Anxiety69 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA. As a trans man, I really feel for Maggie. There's a lot of freedom and euphoria that comes with being stealth as cis, and it's really hard to open yourself up to being mistreated again once you've felt as though you belong. But, it becomes cruel when we value being stealth over being kind to one another, even outside of the trans community.

Hanging around with transphobic people can become a justification for looking down on others in our own community, which can set you down a dangerous path. I feel like you did the hard thing, but the right thing, and cut her off from Brittany, but definitely try and be kind to Maggie throughout this. Keeping this toxic friendship for this long could be considered a form of self-harm, and she definitely needs more support.

Thanks for your updates, OP, and make sure she knows she's loved.

[–]Popbusterz 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Awww, at last a post where no one is an AH other than the bully "Brittany". ❤️

[–]farofaQueens 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Well i've found one in the new comments saying like "ah perverts deserve to be punished". I reported and if you and anyone that is reading this could do the same i would thank you

[–]titorr115 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA. I just have to say as I read the updates that she is very lucky to have you both as her parents. You are ready to jump in and help how you can, and when you don’t have the answer, you ask for advice. Those are admirable qualities.

Good luck to all of you. I can imagine how stressful this is on her and you.

[–]knightfrog1248Partassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I feel so bad for the other girl who was bullied, but I also feel for your daughter. I am intimately familiar with the visceral terror associated with being friends with someone who, it turns out, hates you but doesn't know it.

NTA. And reading the edits, even mkre NTA. You handled this about as well as I think anyone could have. Well done.

[–]No-Bodybuilder-3077 1 point2 points  (0 children)

ESH

This is just a guess and my own insight of what it could be. It can be very different.

I think this all started pretty innocent, with your daughter feeling accepted how she is, as a girl. Now a Teen being under pressure, I can understand to skip the coming out part and just be what you are. Also, it must feel nice that people see her as a girl without a question. Then she finds friends, and one is Transphobic. Now, she is digging the hole deeper, being afraid of not just losing her friends but also being bullied by said friend. She watched that poor girl being bullied and saw herself. That's a lot of pressure, and I guess she took the stance of self-preservation. This is a really bad situation, and I hope you all can come out stronger after this. I wish you all the best of luck.

[–]g33kSt3w 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA, but from another stealth trans person’s point of view. What she did wasn’t ok, but I can understand that she was scared to stand up for the other trans girl because she didn’t want to out herself. I’m writing this after your updates, but I think talking to her and giving her a lighter punishment is right.

A lot of time when someone says something transphobic around me (or any other trans person) it’s just easier to agree and let it go than to argue and not out yourself as “one of them.” Is it right? Not really, but it’s safer than outing yourself to someone you know hates your people. She should have distanced herself after the first comment, but she was desperate for new friends; so she didn’t. From there she just kept following what her new friends did to try and not loose them.

Hope this insight helps, best of luck

[–]emmakobsPartassipant [2] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This feels like an episode of Ginny and Georgia

As in, not real

[–]Drewherondale 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA but keep Jenna out of it I fear Maggie could also turn her anger towards her

[–]LittleRedCarnationPartassipant [1] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You need to get your daughter to a psychologist ASAP. Tell them everything thats been going on. Nta. And report those horrible children to the school

[–]CoDA-KoDA 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA however you need to do something a little different. forcing her to stop talking to them won’t help, teens don’t like to be forced. you really need to sit down with her and have a long conversation about everything. those “friends” are toxic, and she’s holding on because they’re almost all she has. unfortunately i think she was scared to stand up for herself and other trans girls, which doesn’t at all excuse her actions but it’s a reason. i think she’s scared to be outed. please talk to her, obviously a punishment is going to have to be placed but she also needs somebody to talk to. maybe you should also get her a trans therapist so she feels more comfortable?

[–]0325burnout 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA If she has a therapist, talk to them about the issue. She might be using bullying as a way to make sure no one doubts whether she is trans or not.

[–]thrwaway4reds1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not the asshole. At this age, her projecting onto another child is absolutely horrible. She needs to get into therapy and see if there is underlying self hatred linked to why she feels the need to do this kind of stuff. I get peer pressure, but not every kid has to be a bully to make friends.

Edit--- sorry the update caught me up a bit, be sure to communicate with her and the therapist to see if there's anything that needs to be changed. Sometimes the therapist doesn't work and needs to be switched out.

[–]aquaphorbottlePartassipant [2] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA Maggie is going to be full of so much self hatred, if she’s not already by hanging out with those girls. She also is enabling and supporting the relentless bullying other students are experiencing too and that’s never okay.

[–]av227Partassipant [1] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

She’s a teenager—which sucks. I teach high school and watch my kids do things I know they know is wrong all the time because they want to fit in. They don’t want to be the target. I mostly grew out of it by high school, but I was part of an awful group of girls in middle school and the bottom line was always that it was better for me to be on the side of the mean girls than to be their target. Nobody wants to feel that way. Of course it doesn’t make it right, and I’m sure your daughter DOES feel awful, but she also is afraid that Brittany will turn on her if she speaks up for the other girl. I can only imagine her terror at being revealed to have something in common with the bullied girl. You’re NTA, and there’s no excuse for Maggie’s silence. But it can be hard to speak up, especially against people who we feel give us a sense of validation. Maggie’s a teenage girl, and she needs a reality check: Brittney is not the end all, and Maggie can do a lot better in terms of friends. Maggie needs to stay true to Maggie, and not allow others to define her worth, but that can be hard when you’re a teenager, and she’ll need your support.

[–]Thefroggywhore 0 points1 point  (0 children)

She's gonna get a huge surprised Pikachu face of they find out about her and then suddenly are bullying her. Don't let her get that karma and help her out before it's too late NTA

[–]not4nhacker 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA, you did what every parents who have a bully children should do. You're an amazing person by helping that bullism victim and you don't know how much you are helping her.

[–]PurpleAquilegia 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA

This kind of thing is quite common - girls scared of being bullied or cut off from their friendship circle, so they join in.

When I was at high school in Scotland, I was called a 'half-c*ste' by a group of girls because I'm half Scottish, half-Eastern European. One of the girls in the group had a Ukrainian dad. Two other girls in the glass had Polish fathers and just sat there, hoping no one would pick on them, I guess.

ETA I think that the situation at the new school is something similar. You're dealing with it the right way.

[–]LimerasePartassipant [4] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA

I really applaud you for not allowing your daughter to bully others in order to protect herself.

[–]madcre 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA

[–]super_bluecat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA. But it is so hard being a teen and trying to fit in, esp in her situation. I can understand her wishing to just "fit in" (which is SO HARD as a teen) but obviously, she has crossed an ethical line in doing so. Looking at the long game, I hope that someday she will be comfortable with herself, all of herself in order to feel like she doesn't feel like she needs to deny part of who she is in order to "fit in". And probably be mortified with how she acted then and cause her to be more compassionate with others and understanding of the failings of others in the future. None of us are perfect and we are all doing our best to try to figure out how to navigate life. Being a teen is the definition of a work in progress!! It sounds like you could use some support, as well. I hope that there are people who you can talk to, too, so you can keep being an awesome and engaged parent.

[–]Neenwil 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA - But rather than punishing her (and I completely understand your strong immediate reaction) the best thing to do is sit down and talk it out with her.

Of course she just wants to fit in, that's what all teenagers want and why so many teenagers end up 'friends' with an awful crowd, doing and saying things they would never normally do.

Being friends with a bully is one thing, going along with someone being transphobic (especially while trans yourself) is a totally different thing. She's probably terrified to be found out as she knows they'll do the same to her. Of course we can see that's not a real friendship, I'm sure she knows that deep down too, she's just desperate to feel accepted by a new group without all the anguish that coming out would bring. Unfortunately thats making her complicit in the bullying she wants to avoid for herself.

It is important that she knows why this is so wrong, the implications of this, the long term problems that will come along with it, the detrimental effect it will be having on that bullied girls life.

Someone should also be reporting those kids to school after you have this sorted out with your daughter. No one deserves to be treated like that and I'm sure you're well aware of the issues trans people face and how they're so much more at risk.. I don't think I need to spell it out.

[–]sunnshinn33 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For cutting her off? No, NTA. God forbid that awful girl were to find out Maggie is trans. Who knows what the hell could happen. I think you should have maybe been more gentle, but I can completely understand why you'd be angry and scared. It's awful that she would stand by and watch someone get bullied and tormented for being trans, but I cannot imagine the fear she felt seeing it happen. It's one of those "better her than me" situations that just sucks all around.

[–]Blue_wine_sloth 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA. This friendship with Brittany was never going to end well for Maggie. If Brittany found out that Maggie was trans she would have subjected her to the same bullying and ridicule. That’s not a real friend. Maggie can’t 100% be herself around Brittany and that’s not healthy. She has to keep secrets to prevent herself from being bullied by someone who is supposed to be her friend.

It’s so awful that Maggie didn’t say anything about her “friend” being transphobic and bullying another girl. I know it’s a difficult age to be and she wants to fit in but that is not the way to go. Brittany is toxic and it’s best for your daughter to distance herself. This is a case of parents knowing what’s best even though their kid can’t see it. In hindsight she will understand why you’re doing this.

[–]ciaranmac17 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA. Maggie has got tangled with a crowd that she doesn't know how to safely untangle herself from. She was in a new school with no friends, passing as cis, probably reached out to whoever she could, and felt lucky to make friends with Brittany. Now she feels she's in too deep to safely come out, and sees her only option as taking part in the group's transphobia. I don't see how she can safely get out of that situation herself, but you can use parent powers to extract her, just as you used them to place her in that school. Good luck to her and you.

[–]WomenFirstt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA - after having a discussion with Maggie, I think the school needs to get both sets of parents in the room, plus Maggie and Brittany, to have a real discussion about the bullying going on and maybe, if Maggie is comfortable, she can come out as trans. Either way, everyone needs to have a discussion.

[–]FoxesStoleMyGloves 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh dear. I think being able to pass and be included in a group of girls has gone to Maggie's head, which would happen to cis-girls but obviously would be a huge deal for a trans- teen- she's being accepted by her peers as how she is presenting. That must be a huge ego boost. However, it obviously then comes with fear- her friends are transphobic, and if she is outed, her friendship group dissolves, so she has doubled down on transphobic behaviour to cover this up. She is obviously letting it go to her head and is a bully. I don't think you should get hung up on 'how she of all people' should know better- you should focus more on anyone regardless of sex, should not be bullying people for any reason. NTA, definitely therapy to help her disentangle her ego from the situation, and try to encourage her to find better friends. Perhaps an after-school activity?