Seven “Trigger Words” against the LGBTQ+ Community

Using “trigger words” with LGBTQ+ people is like hurling a grenade at them.

What is a trigger word? A trigger word, also known as a power word, is a word or phrase that evokes a certain emotion in the reader.

Trigger words can be either positive or negative. Examples of positive trigger words are:
• Free: everyone loves free stuff
• Amazing: especially if someone uses it in reference to you
• Everyone: makes you want to join the crowd.

And trigger words can also be negative, such as never, cruel, dangerous, prohibited …

Recently after performing my “Totally Gay” figure skating program (link to the 2 minute video) at a competition, an irate woman came up to me to tell me that she was offended with me shoving my agenda down her throat. Yep, she did it, used one of the stereotypical negative trigger words that are offensive to the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Plus) community.

Here is my list of seven negative anti-LGBTQ trigger words and phrases:

1) The one used by this irate woman … referring to my celebrating being a gay man as “my agenda.” Just being myself in not an agenda.

2) Referring to my being queer as “my lifestyle.” This is not my lifestyle, it is who I am. A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is an inherit characteristic of a person like race and ethnicity. If you want to discuss lifestyle, then maybe watch old reruns of “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”  I thank Susie Silver of The Diversity Movement for providing this analogy.

3) Using the label “sexual preference” instead of sexual orientation. Sexual preference is often used by the far right to make the point that someone prefers to be gay or chooses to be gay. The medical and psychological scientific fields are practically unanimous in their findings that sexual orientation in an inherit characteristic; as Lady Gaga sang, “I was born this way.”

4) Using the language “normal man” / “normal woman” or “real man” / “real woman” to refer to someone who is not transgender, e.g cisgender. Nothing can be more insulting to transpeople than implying they are not real women nor men. Transwomen and transmen are real women and men legally and in all senses of the word.

5) Accusing queer people of demanding “special rights.” We never have asked for special rights; we want equal rights. As a tax paying American citizen, I deserve the same rights as straight cisgender Americans; the right to marry, the right to employment nondiscrimination, etc. Do read my sarcastic blog about what LGBTQ special rights would really entail.

The updated “Progress Flag” recognizes the transgender people and people of color in the LGBTQ+ community.

6) Referring to LGBTQ+ people as sick or abnormal. The great diversity of the human family is something special that should be celebrated, and the wide range of sexual orientations and gender identities are a part of the normality of the diverse human race.

7) Equating gay with pedophilia. That same irate woman even asserted that the colors on the new progress flag (updated version of the pride flag that recognizes transpeople and LGBTQ+ people of color) celebrated pedophilia. This came from a horrific and disgusting false news story this past June on Fox News.

Please be careful to avoid these trigger words and phrases, and also please be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community by speaking out when you hear others use them.

The LGBTQ+ Guide to Online Safety

I thank Michael Cooper from Online Safety Masters / vpnMentor for providing this guest blog and link to the more detailed online resource. This is an important topic since many LGBTQ+ people are cyber-bullied.

Navigating heterosexual and cisgender society can be challenging for LGBTQ+ members, who often turn to the internet for solidarity. The internet provides a sense of community among LGBTQ+ people, regardless of their physical proximity. It connects individuals to information and people of the LGBT+ community, providing spaces for acceptance, community, and support. The internet can be life-saving for LGBTQ+ youth, as the suicide rate is higher than that of their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Support groups and online language can help discern trans identities and help bridge the gap between the LGBTQ+ and heterosexual communities.

The survey conducted by vpnMentor found that 73% of LGBTQ+ people have been personally attacked or harassed online, with 50% experiencing sexual harassment online. The study also revealed that asexual people feel the least safe online, while gay men are the safest. Transgender women feel the least safe online, and cisgender men are the safest. Transgender women are the most likely to be outed against their will online, while cisgender men are least likely.

The survey also revealed that self-identified gay people felt safest online, but some believe it’s because they are overly cautious about their internet activity. Some self-identified gay people have felt safest online, but this extra mental effort keeps them safe online, but it does come at a price. The hope is that one day, none of this will be relevant, and all people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, will feel free to express themselves online in any way they see fit, without fear.

73% of LGBTQ+ people reported being personally attacked or harassed online. I (Stan Kimer) have been personally attacked online several times myself.

Cyberbullying is a near universal experience, with 73% of LGBTQ+ people reporting being personally attacked or harassed online. These incidents often revolve around attempts to alter or criticize a person’s sexual or gender identity. The abuse isn’t always just verbal, and sometimes, it can even lead to physical violence. Asexual people describe feeling threatened by their non-asexual counterparts who refuse to accept asexuality as a valid orientation. Some people accuse asexuals of having a latent or “not yet developed” sexual interest, but many respondents downplayed their harassment and excused this behavior as “just the usual.”

In conclusion, the survey highlights the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, including cyberbullying, harassment, and harassment. By understanding and coping with these challenges, individuals can find solace and support in the online community.

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Here is an additional excellent resource from the allconnect Resource Center:  Cyberbullying: How to identify and handle online harassment