A Middle School Bully Came Out as Trans, But Can Their Past Be Forgotten?

A former middle school student elicited more than 34,000 reactions and over 2,700 comments on social media for her story about a transgender woman who had bullied her in the past and was seeking forgiveness.

OP was “viciously bullied” in middle school by an individual who, twelve years later, came out as a transgender woman. According to OP, this individual named Z* used to spread rumors and call her names, making her school life “a living hell.”

Recently, Z got in touch over social media, insisting they meet, and the two former classmates went out for coffee together.

OP’s bully came clean and admitted that she was mean in middle school and apologized for everything, saying it was because she was struggling with her gender identity. OP thanked her for apologizing.

However, when asked if she was forgiven, OP could not give an answer. OP explained that the apology did not change what had happened years ago. According to OP, she was an “impressionable young girl” and that it had greatly impacted her life and “self-esteem.”

Z became offended and said that OP should forgive her. Things got heated, and OP blurted, “You will always be the boy that bullied me. An apology won’t change that.”

The former bully accused OP of being petty, transphobic, vindictive, and ignorant before storming out.

This situation left OP wondering if she was wrong for what she said.

Reactions From Social Media

OP’s case has sparked debate on whether or not someone in her situation is justified in making such comments. Many people who weighed in on OP’s case noted that Z was likely seeking forgiveness for their own benefit rather than out of genuine remorse.

One person noted how angry Z got when OP wasn’t immediately forgiving her. “That’s how you know someone really isn’t sorry.”

“She wanted to apologize for her sake, not yours,” said another.

For one commenter, they like to ask the person apologizing why they are sorry. Apparently, if they respond “quickly enough” with a thoughtful explanation about her and her feelings, she knows it’s a sincere apology.

However, if the person pauses or struggles to formulate an explanation that “isn’t all about themselves” and their own feelings, then they are just trying to make themselves feel better.

Should We Forget Trans People’s Past?

Others raised the point that a transgender person’s past should not be forgotten just because of their transition, as memories and experiences are still part of who they are.

“If they bullied you as a boy in the past, the male-to-female transition wouldn’t affect that,” one person said. “You don’t have memories of Z as a female bullying you. Therefore no matter what the present or future has to do with them, they will always be that boy in your mind.”

“OP is not an a***ole for what she said because the memories are of a boy bullying her,” another said. “She could’ve said, ‘you’ll always be the person who bullied me,’ but Z was presenting as male when the bullying happened, and those are OP’s memories.”

“A lot of trans people seem to think that you HAVE to forget about who they were and anything they did before their transition,” one person added. “And mentioning it is the same as violence, bigotry, and transphobia.”

“I don’t know; the only people who try to hide their past that much tend to have f***** up things in their closets.”

This article I Told the Transgender Bully That She Would Always Be the “Boy Who Bullied Me was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. This article was inspired by Reddit and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of TPR Teaching.

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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bucking elephant
bucking elephant
5 months ago

Did the same thing to a transgender woman who was fat shaming me. Looked right at her and said that she must have been a prick as a guy since she was a total c@nt as a woman. Still don’t feel bad.

5 months ago

If someone bullied me enough that it changed my life’s path for the worse, I don’t know that I could forgive them–at least I wouldn’t be able to answer them right away. The person who was the bully in this story was very quick to react to the girl being unable to forgive them right away, then resorts to the thought that they are being transphobic, vindictive and ignorant. That to me shows how narcissistic the trans person really is, that they are so hung up on their own issues and feeling that because they are trans now and happy in their alleged ‘true self’ that it should make everything okay. I know that I am oversimplifying that, but it comes across that way to me. They don’t seem to care much about the person they bullied or their feelings, and there is nothing in the story to show that they considered how their actions made that person feel. I have been bullied badly in my past, and my life stinks now largely because of how i deal with it, and if I were confronted or contacted by one of them I think I would be pretty callous to anything they had to say. If they were truly sorry, I could consider it, but it would depend on what it was they did, and what they had to say about it. I definitely would need some time to reflect before being able to forgive them or not.