Gender Anarchy

Yesterday was International Down With Cis Day, a good time for reflection on one’s relationship with the kyriarchy. A while ago I brought some discourse into an AFAB NB person’s casa that resulted in a burned bridge, but also left me unsatisfied. All around, a bad time, and my fault. Wrong place and time to wax socratic.

What I wanted was an answer to a doubt. A position one holds in life is strongest when one has considered and accounted for ways in which that position can be attacked – especially from within.

Transfeminine people have long been smeared with the idea their gender expression is just a sexual fetish – “autogynephilia” theory and such. This doubt is external in terms of systemic medical discrimination and internal in that it turns a transwoman’s natural sexual feelings into a source for wondering “am I just a pervert?” and delaying treatment for dysphoria.

To my thinking the transmasculine version of this doubt is this: In a world that is drenched in misogyny, “woman” is an insult. If you are AFAB but feel insulted or uncomfortable when people treat you as a woman, how can you tell if that’s actually gender dysphoria, nonbinary or agender feels, or if it’s just a natural result of living with misogyny?

On a DWC discussion with somebody, we came to an answer that pretty well satisfies me. This question has been kicking around the back of my head for about five years now and I’m glad to be more or less done with it. The answer lies in gender anarchy.

Basically, you shouldn’t be required to have a set reason for your gender expression. Consequently, any reason is valid, and that includes a reaction to misogynistic abuse. So what if you only disidentify with womanhood because the world is a misogynist hellhole? It’s like being asexual because of sexual abuse rather than a biological imperative: still valid.

The line of thinking that led to the question in the first place had a baked-in assumption that there are correct and incorrect reasons to be trans. What foolishness. Gender anarchy now!

In Honor of Down with Cis Day

I like to have some fun art or good foolery on here for International Down with Cis Day, but I am lost in the woods of Camp Nanowrimo.  It’s a shame, because lately the cis have been at it again.  They deserve a good downing.

A few weeks ago I saw a young trans lady in my place of work.  I feel safe in assuming her preferred pronouns as her entire presentation was femme, hair and makeup laser precise.  She came up to the counter with her mother to buy some goods.  I make chit-chatty conversation and before I know it, her mother had misgendered her three times.

Come the fuck on, cis mom.  The girl was super sweet and maybe overly friendly through it all, like she wasn’t used to customer service people being nice to her or something.  To your mom, I say this:  Your child isn’t being validated by you and that makes her highly vulnerable to abusers and exploiters.  Support your trans babies, or get run over.  The Down with Cis bus is on the move.

And more recently, on the Transgender Day of Visibility, this big tall guy came in with an androgynous teen or young adult child of his.  They were cleanly buzzed on sides and back, wearing nothing at all feminine, and got female-gendered by dad a few times.  Well, who knows?  Maybe he doesn’t know from this trans stuff, maybe the child isn’t even trans.  Or maybe, he misgendered them to a total stranger for no fucking reason on a transgender awareness day.  Fuck that shit.

Anyhow, down with cis, goddammit.


Happy Down with Cis Day!

It’s the second annual International Down with Cis Day, and I wanted to make cool art for it, but all I got for you is this rough draft. It’s the thought that counts!

original art by great american satan

This is an image in a cartouche style. The base is a front view of that infamous cryptid the “Down with Cis Bus.” Above that we see a ambiguously gendered person in girly accessories and a hockey mask, fists crossed, and a banner reading, “Go for the face all you want… You can’t stop the brutalization.” In front of that, we see the letters DWC.

I’ve Seen the Light Yet Again…

April brings an important holiday or two. You know to
Pay extra attention at the beginning, work on your
Rational thought and skepticism. Also, it brings us
International Down with Cis Day. But you know what?
Listen. I’ve advocated for DwC Day before, wrongly.

For all this time I’ve believed that it was impossible,
Oppressing a privileged group from minority status.
Older now, I realize this is a mistake. Reverse racism
Lives, and heterophobia and cisphobia are real things.
Surely if I can see the light, you can to. #ALM, amen.

It’s Down With Cis Day!

i log into the tumblr
i oppress the cis
officialcisally  (lotta dead links in this post, i edit from 2024, leaving them be)

It’s International Down With Cis Day, suggested by tumblr user queernightmare to commemorate the birth of a meme.  On this day last year, a creepy transphobe with the handle “foreverhonest” posted a patently false story of being assaulted by trans people.  Behold the majesty:

Here’s a thing that happened to one of my friends. I was there.

Basically, we were walking down the sidewalk, talking about something meaningless. I think it had to do with a movie. Then this bus screeches up, stops next to us, and a bunch of people with “Down with Cis” shirts climbed out and started beating him up. I was punched and kicked a bit too, but I managed to avoid brutalization by going for their faces. After figuring out what’s happening, I started attacking them back, getting them off of him. He was quite injured but I called 911 and he made a full recovery at the hospital. I was fine, with only a cut on my arm that they patched up.

It had to be a joke, right?  If so, it went over the heads of people looking for reasons to hate trans folks.  Tumblr user chandra-nalaar compiled “some highlights from all the people who believed the ‘down with cis’ post.”  Follow that link at your own peril.  Well, clearly FH didn’t expect anyone to believe that, right?  Their post history (not linking to it) shows they are in fact an open transphobe, so what did they mean to achieve if it was a joke?  The clear aim is to spread transphobia.  Perhaps the laughably obvious lies from someone going by “foreverhonest” were meant to establish plausible deniability.

It doesn’t matter because it quickly became a meme.  Before that cisgender man, no one had ever uttered the grammatically bizarre phrase “Down With Cis.”  Now, it has been reclaimed by trans people and their allies, adding to the legend.  Some write improbable stories of their own patterned after his, others use the phrase and variations as a cheeky rallying cry of the oppressed or just to indulge in cathartic silliness. (warning for flashing animated gif on last link)

Lida Frank art of three puppies with cute accessories over a rainbow heart, text added reads

Why all the hubbub, bub?  You may find yourself wondering, might not even be familiar with the terms in play.  Let me see if I can break it down to the basics:

    • Some people are transgender.  Possibly oversimplifying, this means the gender they were labelled with at birth doesn’t feel right for them.
    • Acknowledging this means we need a word for the non-transgender people, preferably avoiding words like “normal” which might make members of minority genders feel further ostracized. Science provides us with the prefix cis-, which is used in biology and other fields as the opposite of trans-. Thus, most people reading this are cisgender.
    • Transgender people suffer from a truly appalling amount of discrimination and poor treatment, perhaps the bitterest from people who are progressive on other issues and should know better. The term for anti-transgender prejudice and systemic abuse is transphobia.
    • Some cisgender people believe it is possible for transgender people to oppress them back. They call that cisphobia.
    • Cisphobia is not real. A transgender person could literally say “I hate all cisgender people” and it would not constitute oppression. Why? Because a small minority of humans reviled by a huge amount of ignorant humans cannot in any meaningful way “oppress the oppressors.” Their scorn lacks the weight of an entire culture backing it, so it can’t cause harm in the same way.
    • Just like christian fundamentalists in the US who think any laws short of xtian theocracy are somehow oppressing them, transphobes (often those same xtians) can become really committed to the idea they are threatened by violent trans oppressors.
    • Hence the fictional gang of violent transgender people, inflicting violence on those they magically sensed were cisgender, at the start of this perverse tale.
    • Every transgender person alive today has experienced a lifetime of transphobia and can experience incidents of it almost every day. Even those few who “pass” as cisgender completely can still have terrible feelings dredged up by the cisnormativity that completely saturates most cultures around the world.
    • In this toxic transphobic world, cursing out your oppressor, just disrespecting the hell out of them in your own spaces, can be a needful emotional release for transgender people.
    • Down With Cis – a phrase coined by a transphobe and put into the mouths of an imaginary violent transgender mob – is a delightfully short and punchy slogan for achieving that catharsis. Unlike the earlier “die cis scum,” DWC isn’t even violent. It went from being a tool of transphobic oppression to a meme for transgender empowerment.

And so, without giving any thanks to the creep that unintentionally started all of this, let us celebrate International Down With Cis Day.  If you’re transgender, nonbinary, genderfluid, whatever, grab a t-shirt and get on the bus.  If you’re cisgender and leave a rainbow cake on your stoop at midnight while singing hosannas to Laverne Cox, the bus will pass you by.  The rest of you?  Down with cis!