During Sunday’s episode of 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days, Christian set off on his flight to London.
He was on his way to meet Cleo for the first time. But something changed a short time before his departure.
More of Christian’s family learned of his plans. Some asked him intrusive questions. Others reacted with outright, explicit bigotry.
Christian told his friends that he’s prepared to cut off transphobic relatives. But he also seems to be getting cold feet towards Cleo herself.
During Season 6, Episode 5 of 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days, Christian was still back home in Minnesota. In his home state, but not in his house.
He stopped by to eat with Tom and Janna, two friends of his. Christian and Tom have a long friendship and a lot in common.
Christian was nursing a bit of a hangover at the time. When asked, he mentioned that Cleo does drink — but she’s not a party animal like he is.
Tom and Janna have known about Christian’s romance with Cleo for months, though not for the entire span of it.
In fact, Tom says that Christian and Cleo have now outlasted most of his in-person relationships. That sounds promising.
Christian told his friends over brunch that he had opened up to a few family members about his plans to meet Cleo. Those folks told other relatives, and now everyone knows. Families, right?
Christian has a brother (with whom he lives) and two sisters. And he has older relatives.
It sounds like it is the older generations who had a negative reaction to this relationship. The issue? That Cleo is trans.
Many people who are not themselves marginalized know what it’s like to face backlash from bigoted relatives over whom they date.
It’s not like when a gay or bi person is dating someone of the same gender. That person is, themselves, marginalized.
It’s different when a white person has a Black partner. When an able-bodied person has a disabled partner. When a cisgender man like Christian dates a transgender woman like Cleo.
From what Christian is saying, it doesn’t sound like his family is worried about Cleo being autistic. Instead, the response has ranged from “questioning” to explicit transphobia.
There is, to be clear, a “whole spectrum” of how his relatives have responded. Some, Christian admitted, were “antagonistic.”
He didn’t go into a lot of examples. But some of what he heard was so directly transphobic that it doesn’t bear repeating.
And somewhere along the spectrum, there’s been some hand-wringing about how society will treat him as a cis straight man dating a trans woman. Well, how bigots within society will, anyway.
Christian admitted to his friends that he’s not inexorably tied to these people. He can break off his relationship with some relatives.
Honestly? Good for him! No one needs bigots of any type in their lives.
But Christian knows that his relatives aren’t separate entities from each other. Saying this and doing it are different things.
Speaking to the camera, Tom and Janna admitted that they know that Christian is pretty close with his family.
Cutting ties with a bigoted aunt or uncle isn’t always feasible. It’s a family — they’re all related.
So even if he wants to, cutting ties may be harder for him to do than he’s currently imagining.
Over in London, Cleo was moving in to a rental apartment. Why? Because she has a roommate.
She and Christian wanted to get to know each other on-on-one.
Cleo did bring some clothes, some other essentials. Oh, and her adorable kitties.
Even though Christian was not there yet, Cleo admitted that she could feel him holding her at arm’s length.
Before, he was talking so much about showering her with affection. Now, it sounds like he has cold feet about stuff like PDA.
It wasn’t a mystery to Cleo. She knew that this was his response to transphobic relatives. He was angry with them, but he clearly internalized some of their worries about him facing social consequences for being with her.
Christian was, at least, aware that some of his older relatives’ transphobic “concerns” had influenced him.
He admitted that he was just overthinking things. Clearly.
But he also planned to treat meeting Cleo in person as if they were meeting for the first time. So, apparently, he’s not going to kiss her at the airport.
Tom drove Christian to the airport to see him off.
To the camera, he admitted that Christian’s newfound hesitation will probably hurt Cleo’s feelings.
Yeah. No one can help having bigots for relatives. But letting their words influence you? That’s a mistake.