Bitch. Cripple. Dyke.* Only some people can get away with using these words—and only sometimes, and in certain circumstances.

The rules are simple: If you’ve had such a word hurled at you as a term of abuse, you may then reclaim the word and use it as a self-identifier, or—among other self-indentifiers—as a term of admiration.

Any other circumstances, any, make your use of the term an insult and a fighting word.

Clear? Good.

* There are, of course, many similar words that insult whole classes of people. But it’s not a good idea to speak on behalf of a group to which one doesn’t belong. You know the words I mean. Out in the real world, when you hear (or see) someone use one, call the user on it. You’ll be making the world a better place. And, yes, I’ve said all this before but it bears repeating.