We own several groups on Telegram and that means we encounter all kinds of people. We also have to deal with various social issues due to the varied opinions of all our members. One thing that we do not budge on is shaming, it is not allowed in any way, shape, or form. No kink or body shaming, and this includes terms that can be used in a derogatory way. Recently a member was telling a story using what I will call the “t word”. Another member private messaged me and let me know what had happened. I immediately removed the post in the chat group and contacted the person privately. I told them that the word was offensive to some and should not be used in chat. His response was he did not see it as that because of being around people who used it to describe themselves. He did apologize for using the word, not realizing it because of it being accepted in some circles.
I understand that some words are more accepted when only used by a certain group of people. But when in a group or public setting, those words can be seen by more than just that small circle. Words have more power than some realize. To understand that power, you have to look at where the word and it’s usage came from. The “t word” was first used around 1983 used to describe a transvestite, transgender, or transsexual person. It was kind of an umbrella term used for many within the trans spectrum. For some it was a celebrated term, a term they could use to finally identify with themselves. For so many others it was a disparaging and contemptuous term used against a person that dehumanizes them. The “t word” is now banned on many platforms and is considered hate speech.
There was a movement to try and reclaim the “t word” and regain the power it once held for so many people. For many it gave them the power of having an identity and a reason to celebrate themselves. Then there are others who think it encourages use of the term by those who are not informed about the word being derogatory. They do not know that the word can actually devalue and dehumanize the person it is directed at.
I do hope that when we have instances like in the chat group, that it can be handled in a way so the person can be educated on why what they said or did was offensive. The more we can educate people, the more positivity we will have in the world. We all know we could use a lot more that’s for sure. While some people have no problem with the “t word”, there are still many that do. I suggest not trying to find out and just not use the word period. Find a way to support and uplift our community members!