Man Unsure If He Did The Right Thing Buying Trans Nephew A Pair Of Boxers — 'My Sister Doesn't Like His Identity & Discourages It'

The entire situation illuminates an important double standard.

man and younger boy putting on socks and shoes Dnytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

Parental support is pivotal for transgender and queer youth — there’s a plethora of research to pull from that supports the idea that an accepting home fosters happiness, wellness and stability. That support can be multifaceted; whether financial or emotional, support for trans youth can mean a world of difference.

One Reddit user’s post is a great example of what that support can manifest as, and how it can help foster a safe space for trans youth to blossom into their identities.


On the r/AITAH subreddit, a man described his relationship with his trans nephew, learning about his identity, sharing old clothes, and providing occasional financial support. When his conservative sister came to him furious after he shared money with his nephew for boxers, the man came to the Reddit forum to ask for readers’ opinions on whether or not he’s truly in the wrong.

A man’s sister is furious with him after he helped his trans nephew buy boxers.

“She thought this was too far and that it was a breach of her trust,” he explained. Being that he had been providing more "masculine clothes" to his nephew for years, the man wondered exactly what sparked his sister's discomfort.




RELATED: Mom Shares How The Advice To 'Never Be First To Let A Kid's Hug Go' Has Changed Her As A Parent

Many trans readers pointed to an important discussion in the comments to explain this mother's discontent.

Many conservative narratives are rooted in transphobic double standards about who is allowed (and celebrated) for practicing gender nonconformity through expression and identity, and who is not. While many cis-gender children are able to express their gender through clothing, oftentimes without judgment, trans children don’t always have that same welcoming environment.


Under the watchful eye of the public, trans and other gender non-conforming communities face intense scrutiny for performing any sort of gender expression that deviates from stereotypical standards of their assigned sex at birth.

For years before coming out, the man's nephew felt comfortable opening up to him about his gender expression.

“He’s fairly close to me and my wife,” the man said about his nephew early in the post. “He’s always asked to borrow my clothes, even when he was a young kid.”

At first, he explained how he and his wife used to laugh about it, suspecting that he was simply a tomboy with an interest in “vintage” clothes. Without explicitly knowing, the man pointed directly to this ingrained standard of cis-gender approval in our society. While gender-fluid or trans communities are attacked for their gender nonconformity, cis-passing or cis-gender folks are celebrated.

“A few years go by,” he detailed, “I don’t have a problem with him borrowing clothes, since I have a lot from when I was younger.”


RELATED: Woman Explains Why She Has To Obtain Gender-Affirming Care Even Though She's Not Trans — 'By Trying To Fix Me They Broke Me'

After realizing that his old clothes were the bulk of his wardrobe, the Reddit user offered to get his nephew a gift card to buy some new clothes of his own. “He immediately refused. Now, looking back it’s most likely due to how conservative my sister is,” he wrote.

And he was probably right. According to a 2020 article published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the fear of family rejection is directly correlated with higher rates of anxiety and mental health issues in transgender youth. Thankfully, the uncle "continued to let him borrow.”

Once his nephew came out, he continued to help grow his wardrobe of old 'hand-me-downs.'

Once his nephew turned eleven, he confided in his uncle of “some internal problems he had relating to his gender — and that he’d like to be called by a male name”.


“I wasn’t too surprised,” he admitted about the discussion, “but I was skeptical of whether or not I should encourage him,” knowing what the consequences could be for him at home.



RELATED: Millennial & Gen X Parents Are Forbidding Sleepovers Over Safety Concerns, But Some Say They're Teaching Their Kids A Dangerous Lesson

Just by sharing old clothes, this uncle cultivated a special relationship with his nephew — one that allowed him to express his gender in ways that could potentially elicit a punishment at home. “I figured that if not [supporting him] made him distressed then there was no harm in calling him ‘he’ and by a different name, even if it was hard for me to get right all of the time.”


In a tale told by many families, after a couple of years the Reddit user said that he quickly adopted his nephew’s new pronouns and name, and even developed a new routine, adding, “I now have a special pile of old clothes out for him so he can pick what he wants when he comes over.”

The user admitted that his sister is not accepting of his trans nephew’s identity.

Like many from the community, this nephew was able to use his uncle as a trusted person in his gender journey, opening up to ask about other parts of his transition. One day, the man recounted his nephew asking him how to shave his face, saying, "since his dad isn't in the picture... and he isn't close with his stepfather, I thought why not show him."

This support has likely been a lifeline for the young man. As Benjamin Davis, a psychotherapist who focuses on the needs of transgender and non-binary individuals, explained to Today, "I do think that with young people, that we really need to protect them, we really need to kind of help them navigate the outside world, which is unfortunately right now, quite hostile for trans folks.”

RELATED: Mom Explains Why She Allowed Her 17-Year-Old Son To Have Top Surgery — ‘Cody’s Heart Is So Full’


Recently, the man gave his trans nephew money for boxers, leaving his mother furious. “The other day, he asked for boxers,” he wrote. “Technically, I didn’t buy them, but gave him 10 quid and told him to pick some up.”

Being that his sister has never directly confronted him over his nephew’s "masculine clothing" style, he was shocked when she came to him saying he’d “gone too far" and broken her trust.

The entire situation highlights a much larger double standard of gender nonconformity.

“There’s a good chance Mom wouldn’t have any issues with her kid wearing the same underwear if he wasn’t trans,” one commenter pointed out. “Trans people are treated according to double standards — where ‘gender nonconformity’ that’s normal for cis-kids is wrong for trans kids.”


Hundreds of replies aligned with this user, not only condemning the sister, but praising the user for supporting and loving his nephew, with one user saying, “You’re golden. Your nephew will be forever grateful to you for your support and love. Continue to be his safe place.”

Others pointed to a stereotype of older generations' discomfort with "sensitive topics," so perhaps the mom's disapproval of her son's identity is in tandem with a discussion of undergarments that led to a breaking point.

Clearly, many don’t agree with the man's sister that he’s the problem; in fact, it’s almost the furthest thing from the truth.

This user's story is representative of many unfortunate realities for the trans community — unwelcoming homes, disapproval of their gender expression, and unwarranted aggression are all too common.


Fostering community, ensuring you have a welcoming home, and simply advocating for trans rights can make all the difference for a loved one's gender identity journey.

RELATED: Dad Shares His Son's Funny Comeback When Another Kid Says Boys Can't Wear Nail Polish

Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango. They focus on everything, ranging from pop culture analysis to human interest. Connect with them on Instagram or TikTok.