CHEVIOT, Ohio — Cheviot City Council member Brian Smyth is facing backlash after using a transphobic slur twice on social media. WCPO is censoring the slur so as to not perpetuate hateful speech.
Smyth used the term in a written post when discussing the Delhi Skirt Game after critics said the theme was insensitive.
“I said game on, it’s never been about the ********,” Smyth said to WCPO 9News this week.
After he posted the slur, someone showed up at a council meeting to explain their concern. Following that, Smyth posted a video online saying, “We’ve already had the LGBT community come after us. Not the ******** come after us. There is no transexual that has come after me.”
Professors say transexual is an outdated term, and the correct term is transgender.
The Delhi Skirt Game organizers stressed they have no affiliation with Smyth. They said they support needy families and kids in Delhi Township.
Smyth said he does not think the term is a slur.
“I’ve never known it to be a slur. After this is brought to my attention, and it’s been a little bit of an issue, I went on social media. I went on the Google. Definitions given by the Google is definitely left-leaning, but do not connotate it as some kind of slur or some kind of problem,” said Smyth. “There’s a lot of groups on social media that use that term, ****** men, ****** girls.”
Tristan Vaught, a University of Cincinnati professor and cofounder of Transform Cincy, dedicates their career to studying the topic and said often communities utilize terms that individuals outside the community should not.
“A lot of us aren't offended by it," Vaught said. "We just have to be alarmed that someone using that, their mentality and where they are coming from, is a place of harm."
Vaught said the slur leaves people on high alert.
“That term I’ve heard before when I’ve been out, and you know that it is going to be a group of individuals who is about ready to harass you, spit on you, beat you, many things," Vaught said. "We’ve had our trans sisters killed after hearing that word. So, it is something that does alarm people."
Smyth said yelling the term at a bar "might be a little threatening," but said, "then again, you could yell something, anything, at anybody in a bar and pretty much be put on alert.”
In response to the comments, Cheviot Mayor Samuel Keller said his administration is separate from the legislative branch.
"I have no control over council, their actions nor their words. If you would like answers about how council is run or what policies or procedures they have, you will need to reach out to the president of council, Kerry Smyth, as he is in charge of the legislative branch of Cheviot government.”