Capri: I think that I understand what you're saying. I suppose that even being understanding can sound condescending. In the long run it seems that all you can do is treat people like people and not categorize them.
As for joy, I did a Christmas card one year that just said "Joy cannot be contained." I also encourage people not to settle for "happy," when they can shoot for joy. Happy sounds kinda wimpy in comparison to joy. Joy is power-full.