Using words like "faggot," "dyke," and "tranny" to define oneself and other members of the LGBT community has long been a contentious topic.
While some maintain that the words should be avoided at all costs because of how stigmatizing and demoralizing they can be, others believe that the words lose their negative associations and become empowering when they are reclaimed by LGBT people.
In the first installment of our Change My Mind debate series, we challenge two members of the LGBT community to defend their views on the controversial issue.
Speaking against the use of words like "faggot," "dyke," and "tranny," is Mara Keisling, the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Keisling has received numerous awards from PFLAG, the Equality Forum, GayLaw, the Transgender Law Center, the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance and Out for Work, among others, and is a frequent speaker at events, colleges, and government agencies.
Speaking in favor of using the words is Randall Jenson, the Executive Director of SocialScope Productions, a Chicago non-profit focused on LGBTQ and gender documentaries. Jenson created the "50Faggots" series, which documents the lives of self-identified effeminate gay men in the U.S. and has been a featured speaker at the National ACLU Membership Conference in Washington D.C., on The Oprah Show, and awarded the "Youth Impact Award" by the National Youth Advocacy Coalition.
Join the debate below and see if Mara or Randall changed your mind.