Jonah, a 19-year-old from Boston who is transgender, was playing Cards Against Humanity one night with friends when they came upon the card "passable transvestites."
Instead of just putting the card into a "not OK" pile, Jonah decided to remove the card in a more permanent way, and felt enticed by burning it. He then posted the images online to share his offense.
"A lot of my friends are LGBT, emphasis on the T," Jonah told Fusion. "Somebody played that card, and somebody else was like, 'That's not OK.' I decided I didn't want it in my deck."
In posts on Instagram and Tumblr on June 8, Jonah captioned the picture "DEATH TO TRANSPHOBIA."
The Tumblr post exploded online, amassing tens of thousands of notes. (It was at more than 50,000 at press time.)
"CAH cards are a lot of terrible things — racist, sexist, anti-semitic, etc.," wrote Jonah, who said he is Jewish himself, in a follow-up post. But "laughing at cross-dressers (especially while using an outdated/slur word) is inherently transphobic as well."
Shortly after the post blew up, Max Temkin, the co-creator of Cards Against Humanity, responded to Jonah's post on his own blog, and admitted that the teen was right to feel offended.
"I regret writing this card," Temkin wrote. "It was a mean, cheap joke. We took it out of the game a while ago."
Temkin told Fusion that he and his friends who created the wildly popular game sporadically pull cards when they're no longer as laughable as they were to a bunch of college seniors brainstorming in a basement five years ago.
"It's embarrassing to me that there was a time in my life that that was funny," Temkin said.
Despite Temkin's admission, Jonah has been left defending his choice to burn that particular card, in a game rife with offensive phrases like "Poorly-timed Holocaust jokes" and "The Virginia Tech Massacre."
The teen, who also films YouTube vlogs about being transgender, even went so far as to write that he regrets making the post:
When I first posted this, I did not realize that it was problematic. I was fine to say "I can't find this specific card funny, it is too close to being about me, I wanted it out of my game and since I like fire I decided to burn it." I did not comprehend that I was essentially saying "Well I personally have never experienced racism, so it doesn't really matter to me and I can still laugh at it, and it's okay because I'm not racist." And I see now that that is what I was doing. I was only looking at the issues which affected me personally, and I was allowing myself to find everything else funny because I wasn't the person to whom it's directed. I truly regret making this post, not because I've gotten a bit of shit for it but because I am appalled at myself that I didn't see what I was doing.
But in addition to the vitriol over his card choice, Jonah is also getting support from Tumblr users for speaking out against the card.
"I just want to say thank you for your support of LGBT (emphasis on the T) rights," one wrote.
"I found this card when playing last night, no one understood why I had an issue with it. I'm glad others noticed," said another.
Pictures of Jonah have been removed from this article at his request.
Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Zarrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.