People really need to get over the fallacious idea that offense is one of the worst thing one can do to someone. And even more than that: that something being offensive can never be useful. I’m sorry but some people should and need to be offended; because sometimes… hell, most of the times in fact, there is no way to achieve progress without offending some people along the line.
If, for instance, my kissing my girlfriend offends the religious right (no matter the flavour), then I’m sorry but they need to keep being offended until they’re not. Because feelings aren’t always right nor valid, sometimes feelings are wrong and above all you can’t prioritise offended feelings over humans and their rights to live in freedom and in peace.
I know that people on here will say that, obviously, they agree with the idea that homophobes should keep being offended and that it’s not what they mean when they shut down conversations over offenses and ask for “safe spaces”; but the thing is… this attitude is part of the problem, because it creates an atmosphere where suddenly every feelings become valid arguments in themselves and as such deserve to be given a platform over actual reasoned conversation, and it creates a society of echo-chambers of self validation where nobody ever see their ideas be challenged - including the people who’s ideas are bad ideas.
To give a concrete example: when I see American universities banning speakers such as Maryam Namazie or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for the sole reason that some people might have their religious feelings offended, I don’t even know what to tell them anymore. Suddenly the violent opression and struggles of aheists and ex-muslims in the Islamic world should be silenced because… some westerners might have their religious feelings hurt? It has to stop, people need to stop privileging feelings and ideological purity over human rights.
And moreover; fascists of all flavours are using this platform that the well-intentioned left has created, to claim spaces that they should never have been given; it’s what happens when suddenly people’s feelings of fear, anger and offense become as valid as arguments as plain facts. When politicians, activists, people… take those feelings as face value and have forgotten to talk, to converse, to ask “why” and “are those feelings founded”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t adress people’s concerned feelings - obviously you should and debunk them if needed - BUT I do not think using those feelings as arguments in themself a la Marine Le Pen is helpful, to put it mildly.
If someone’s offended feelings result in the oppression of someone else’s speech, of someone else’s sexual freedom, of someone else’s right to exist… etc… Then those feelings should keep being offended and challenged with more speech, more arguments and more conversation, it is in fact crucial that they are.