Glad that you joined and I sincerely hope that it will be a good experience for you.
There is a parallel regarding gay people. Folks who are roughly 40’s on up have a strong negative reaction to the word Queer. For them, they only know the word as a derogatory term. However, younger folks have adopted the term and use it as a positive description. So, when you see LGBTQ, the Q refers to those who are either Queer or Questioning. It also pops up in Genderqueer.
In your case, I understand exactly what you mean. I would also find it very difficult to use the term It for the same reasons. To me, when having a discussion like this, two things need to happen.
The first is that your position needs to be explained and understood. This is very important so it doesn’t seem like a knee-jerk reaction. From what you said, it sounds like you have accomplished this.
The second point is that care must be taken to keep any sort of angst out of the conversation. If not, the reaction may be more about the angst than about the actual issue.
Anyway, sometimes things just need the settle a bit before the next round of discussions. Like tea, it is good for things to steep for a while…