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.

Five Examples of LGBTQ Equality – It’s equal rights, not special rights!

Allowing same gender couples to marry does not infringe in any way on heterosexual marriage.

In my last blog, “Why So Much Hate,” I wrote about the hateful comments I receive on social media after blogging about topics such as Islamophobia, LGBTQ equality and Racism. In the LGBT area, I am shocked about some of the people commenting about LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) people clamoring for “special rights.”

Last month when I published a blog about an LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Training toolkit that will be launching in North Carolina in February, one woman commented that “this crap should not be allowed in our schools or at work” and that she is fed up with “gays wanting special rights.” When I tried to engage her in a conversation about areas where LGBT people are not treated equally, he accused me of harassing her and reported me to Facebook!

I am hoping that those who continue to shout “special rights” read this with an open mind to sincerely understand the difference between equal rights and special rights.

Marriage: Equal Rights – people can marry the person they love, whether they are same gender, opposite gender or gender fluid. Special Rights – if we made marriage only available to same gender couples and no longer allowed heterosexuals to get married. I would love to have someone explain to me why allowing a same-gender couple to get married infringes on their rights.

Workplace Protections: Equal Rights – all people should be able to work if they are qualified and capable of doing their job, and not get fired simply because they are gay. Special Rights – if we passed a law that stated if a gay person and a straight person applied for a job, preference must be given to the gay person. If you are so afraid that a gay person is going to steal your job, work harder and update your skills.

Shouldn’t all kids … straight, gay and trans …. be able to get a quality education without being bullied?

Safety in our Schools: Equal Rights – All children, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender fluid should be allowed to get a quality education without being bullied or having their issues not addressed by school administration. Special Rights – Establishing top-notch special schools exclusively for LGBTQ children only with the best teachers, facilities and equipment, and providing scholarships to top colleges only for LGBTQ students.

Safety on the Streets: Equal Rights – A gay couple should be able to walk down the street holding hands without being heckled or physically accosted. Special Rights – Passing a law that only same gender displays of public affection (PDA) are allowed and that heterosexuals are forbidden to hold hands or kiss in public.

Transgender people should have the right to use the restroom of their gender identity in peace.

Bathroom accessibility for transgender people. Equal Rights – all people should be permitted to use a public restroom that matches their gender identity and presentation. Special Rights – when a transgender person wants to use a restroom, everyone must immediately leave and wait until the trans person is finished.

I hope my readers get the drift here. LGBTQ people pay their taxes just like everyone else, and deserve equal treatment and respect under the law. We are just asking for equality without taking anything away from anybody else.

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Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]