Tuesday, August 5, 2014

C is for Cisgender

Our C word for today is cisgender.  Cisgender is the opposite of transgender.  A cisgender person does not have gender dysphoria, their identity and body match (some people prefer the term non-trans, feeling it is easier to understand for laymen).  Cis is the Latin prefix meaning “on this side of” as opposed to trans meaning “across from” or “on the other side of”. 

The transgender activist Julia Serano adds the term cissexual as being someone who’s body and identity have always been aligned.  She then defines cisgender as anyone who does not identify as transgender (many transgender people prefer to simple identify as men and women after their transition).

The prefix cis has recently been used to further define and identify the discrimination transgender people experience.  For example, cisgender privilege is the privileges that come with being cisgender (easier to be hired, not afraid to use public restrooms etc.)  Cissexual assumption is the assumption cisgender people have that everyone experiences their gender identity like they do.  Cissexism is a new word for transphobia.  Cisnormativity is like heteronormativity, it is an overlaying social assumption that everyone is cisgendered or that it is normal.

What does cisgender have to do with intersex?  Many intersex people do not change their sex from the one they were raised as, but many do.  Is it impossible for intersex people to be cisgender because it is impossible in society to live completely as in intersex person with no male or female legal checkbox?  By definition are all intersex people forced to be a little transgender?  These are questions I ask myself from time to time  

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