Some cis people really hate the word “cis”


I have never understood the aversion. Is it because I learned the term as part of Science Latin (all scientists get to learn a crude pidgin version of Latin that lacks all grammar rules and has a limited vocabulary, you know) where “cis” just means “on the same side”? It’s common parlance in structures in organic chemistry and regulatory logic in molecular biology. There’s nothing pejorative about it. When I learned it’s also used to describe someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth, yeah, sure, it made perfect sense. I’m a cis person. You can call me that and I won’t be offended at all. Some people are trans, they don’t identify as the sex on their birth certificate, and that’s fine, perfectly normal, “trans” is a nice short word to describe that.

Hmmm. Maybe that’s why some cis people are outraged at being accurately described, because the word also implies the normal categorical existence of trans people.

Anyway, how determined are these people to dodge the awfulness of being called “cis”? They’re trying to appropriate other words for their condition, to hilariously offensive results.

You’d think they’d figure out that abandoning the neutral, innocuous term “cis” to use a different word with an immense amount of baggage is a bad idea, but if they were smart they wouldn’t be TERFs.

Comments

  1. sockjockwarlock says

    Yeesh, the weird words they’ve come up to distinguish themselves. Wokescolds, regressive left etc. Now, the TERFs wants to be called ‘natives’ to distance themselves from the trans community?
    This whole thing feels like a weird combo of being in cult, where they’ve come with their own words & language; and utter insecurity about themselves.

  2. cartomancer says

    I have a very mild aversion to it, because my training in proper Latin tells me that should be a hard c sound, like all c sounds in Latin, so we should really be pronouncing it “kiss” rather than “siss”. And, as lumipuna alludes to above, the first referent that springs to my mind is the province of Cisalpine Gaul (Gallia cisalpina), or “Gaul this side of the Alps”.

    But if it pisses off these kinds of people then that says a lot in its favour, so I’m more than down with it.

  3. says

    I can’t find an example of TERFs doing that, except this one person. I think saying “a bunch” of TERFs are doing this may be very generous.

    Of course, TERF complaints about “cis” have long been noted.

  4. bcw bcw says

    If they’re going to call themselves “natives” does that mean we should ship them smallpox blankets or kidnap their children and force them into abusive boarding schools?

    but also what @4 Siggy said, this smells of manufactured controversy (on both ends of the story.)

  5. chris61 says

    So if I’ve got this right, some people are entitled to self-designate and we are to respect their self-designation. But we can assign labels to other people and then mock their refusal to accept those labels. No wonder a lot of people find it pretty confusing.

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    all I can add (after Cartomancer@3) is the phonics of “cis” being the same as “sis”.
    The prefix only works as a prefix attached to a word, As an abbreviation it doesn’t sound like a good choice.
    Glomping onto the Native American struggles is over-the-top misappropriation.

  7. chris61 says

    <blockquote=>Glomping onto the Native American struggles is over-the-top misappropriation. Which is possibly the point. At least some TERFs would seem to feel that the notion that transwomen are women is glomping onto women’s struggles and is also an over-the-top misappropriation.

  8. Scott Simmons says

    The problem, chris61, is that (the outliers referred to in this post aside) if you ask the cisgenders complaining about that term what they’d prefer to be called, they will reply with some variations on, “You don’t need to call us anything–we’re just normal.” With the implication that their gender identity is the standard, and trans people are abnormal, sick, or bizarre.

    You’re not immune to criticism for the self-designation you pick is designed to imply your group’s superiority to other groups, especially when the other has been historically oppressed. ‘Cisgender’ is conveniently value-neutral and easy to understand; if we cis folk don’t like it, we’re free to try to find something else equally neutral and descriptive. If we suggest something insulting to others like ‘normal’, or something bizarre and stupid like ‘native’, we’re not going to be taken seriously.

    (An on-point Dilbert I wish to share despite Scott Adams being justly a persona non grata in these parts:
    Wally: “From now on, my nickname will be “the wizard.” It speaks to my guru status.”
    Alice: “I think I’ll call you ‘the lizard.’ It speaks to your small brain and lack of ambition.”
    Wally: “Please don’t.”
    Alice: “Let’s see which one catches on quicker.”)

  9. leerudolph says

    slithey_tove@7: “The prefix only works as a prefix attached to a word, As an abbreviation it doesn’t sound like a good choice.”

    That argument (by itself; there may be further premises you’ve elided) doesn’t work in general. Consider the prefix “pro”, as an abbreviation for “professional”; or “con”, as an abbreviation for “confidence [man|game|trick]; or “sub”, as an abbreviation for “submarine” or “submissive” or “substitute”; etc., etc.

  10. chris61 says

    @9

    if you ask the cisgenders complaining about that term what they’d prefer to be called, they will reply with some variations on, “You don’t need to call us anything–we’re just normal.”

    Actually I suspect many of them would just say “call us women (or men)”. As would many transwomen (or transmen).

  11. kome says

    Today I learned. I never really bothered to learn the etymology of “cis” and the definition you provided made me think of the prefix “ipsi” as in ipsilateral, which means the same thing. I’m probably going to start using “ipsi” as pejorative because it’s got a nice syllabic structure.

  12. chrislawson says

    chris61: “So if I’ve got this right, some people are entitled to self-designate and we are to respect their self-designation. But we can assign labels to other people and then mock their refusal to accept those labels. No wonder a lot of people find it pretty confusing.”

    I generally agree that people are entitled to self-designate. This does not mean that all self-designations are defensible. Many self-designations need to be criticised (e.g. the vast majority of people who loudly call themselves “patriots”). Some self-designations will even get you in trouble with the law (people who self-designate as MDs or engineers without actual qualifications). Some self-designations are signs of psychotic illness. Some are wilfully misleading — for instance, no matter how often or how adamantly they say it, I refuse to accept the self-designation of “pro-life” except for the small subset of anti-abortionists who accept the need for abortions to save the life of the mother.

    Cis and trans are pretty neutral terms that come directly from Latin prefixes relating to relative location. Anyone claiming these are slurs in and of themselves is lying, and the only reason to object to being called “cis” — especially if the person is demanding clearly loaded terms like “normals” or “natives” — is in order to poison future discourse by sticking trans people with an implied label of abnormal or foreign.

    The only reason this is confusing is because some people are rhetorically determined to be confused by it.

  13. James Fehlinger says

    . . .the first referent that springs to my mind is the
    province of Cisalpine Gaul (Gallia cisalpina), or “Gaul this
    side of the Alps”. . .

    Transylvania is not England; and to you, there shall be
    many strange things.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    cartomancer @ # 3: … a hard c sound, like all c sounds in Latin…

    So ol’ Gaius Julius actually pronounced his name “Keezer”, and only the Germans got it right?

  15. birgerjohansson says

    Pierce R Butler @17
    Yes, and they also preserved the original pronounciation of the city we call “Naples”.
    And their rhunes preserved some of the signs of the phoenician script (showing the carthagians got there before Rome).
    Julius was named Kaisar, Cicero pronounced his name Kikero.

    Kome @ 14
    Today, I will start referring to them as “simple ipsians “, simple referring to their mind models of how gender works.

  16. consciousness razor says

    kome, #14:

    Today I learned. I never really bothered to learn the etymology of “cis” and the definition you provided made me think of the prefix “ipsi” as in ipsilateral, which means the same thing.

    That actually means something reflexive such as “itself, himself, herself.” Thus, res ipsa loquitur = the thing speaks for itself.

    On another note, my Latin classes were a long time ago, but I think cis- means something closer to “this side” which is not quite equivalent to “the same side.”

    Which one is “this” one? Or it’s “the same” as what? If it’s not implicitly understood which side this one is supposed to be (as in the location of Rome, regarding cisalpine vs. transalpine), then of course you’d need to actually tell the person that it’s “the same as [whatever].” I guess you’d probably use “idem” for the word “same” in that case.

    It does seem like a somewhat odd choice of terminology, but it makes no difference to me. Honestly, at this point, I’m just sort of used to English being a confusing mess of a language that nobody in their right mind would’ve ever invented. (That’s why they had the English do it, obviously.)

  17. Pierce R. Butler says

    birgerjohansson @ # 18: … Kaisar… Kikero.

    Is that the hard “K”, or the hard-hard “Q” phoneme (can anybody tell at this stage?)?

    Shaw was right: let’s abolish or re-purpose the letter “C” entirely.

  18. Allison says

    Personally, I like pronouncing “cis-” with a soft “c” (like “s”) because: if we trans people are “trannies,” then cis people are “cissies.”

    And phrases like “down with the cis-tem” have been around for a while.

  19. Allison says

    Is that the hard “K”, or the hard-hard “Q” phoneme (can anybody tell at this stage?)?

    My understanding is that “C” was the latin letter for what we call the “K” sound. They only used “K” for foreign words (e.g., words from Greek.) And according to my latin class, “Caesar” would have been pronounced like Germans would pronounce “Kaissar” (double ss to indicate it’s not pronounced like a “z”)

    Fun fact: “caesar” was a nickname. The Romans only had about 20 first names, so most people (well, most men, anyway) would have some epithet added to distinguish them from all the other men with the same first name and surname. So “Gaeus” was his firt name, “Iulius” was his surname, and “Caesar” was the epithet. He got the epithet from the fact that his mother died while in labor with him, so he was “cut out” of his mother (the Latin verb for “cut” is “caedere”, past participle “caesus”.) So Caesar was actually named for the caesarian operation. And then later centuries named the operation after Caesar, who was named after the operation!

  20. kome says

    @19

    That actually means something reflexive such as “itself, himself, herself.” Thus, res ipsa loquitur = the thing speaks for itself.

    I was thinking of back when I learned some neuroanatomy, that the visual pathways for each eye in humans (probably other primates as well, but I was studying neuropsychology specifically) branches off at the lateral geniculate nucleus, with one fork going to the contralateral hemisphere and one fork going to the ipsilateral hemisphere. This might be an instance where “science latin” deviates from the language as spoken.
    Either way, thank you as today I have now learned two things. Very exciting times for me :)

  21. consciousness razor says

    Either way, thank you as today I have now learned two things. Very exciting times for me :)

    Always welcome. I’m just sorry it couldn’t have been a little more exciting. Maybe tomorrow!

  22. raven says

    chris61: “So if I’ve got this right, some people are entitled to self-designate and we are to respect their self-designation.

    Why don’t they just use the common “super”.
    They can call themselves SuperTERFs.
    Or uber.
    UberTERF’s.

    Prefix meaning “holy”
    SACRO
    SacroTERFs will work as well.

  23. po8crg says

    There is a traditional English pronunciation of Latin, which was normally taught in (elementary and high) school classes until some point in the first half of the twentieth century. A reconstructed Classical pronunciation was adopted in 1907 in England, but it took a long time for it to spread through the education system, not really completing the process until the end of the Second World War. Latin education in schools in the US changed over on a similar timescale, but without the same formal push from above; Latin education at higher levels (college or university) adopted the classical pronunciation much more quickly.

    There is also a third standardised pronunciation of Latin, the Italianate pronunciation, which is standard in the Catholic Church and is taught in seminaries, and in some Catholic schools. It was especially common before the classical pronunciation was standardised, which resulted in English-speaking Protestants using the traditional English pronunciation and English-speaking Catholics using the Italianate pronunciation (or “Ecclesiastical Latin”).

    Most English loan words that came from Latin – like cis – are pronounced according to the traditional English pronunciation.

    “cis” is, helpfully, one of the words where the three pronunciations are different. It is “sis” /sɪs/ in traditional English Latin, “cheese” [t͡ʃiz] in Ecclesiastical (Italianate) Latin, and “kiss” [kɪs] in Classical Latin.

    The things in [] or // are International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions; // means “adjust according to your native English accent”, while [] means “pronounce this exactly as written” (which is why they are different).

  24. garnetstar says

    Thanks to all above who provided the Latin on “cis”! Because, all chemists say “siss” instead of “kiss”. After decades of mispronunciation, which I taught to thousands of students, now I know the correct way!

    Back when I first heard the term “cisgender” (not all that many years ago), I knew immediately that it was a chemist who suggested it, as a term to indicate people who aren’t trans (a term which was already in use.)

    Cis-trans isomerism is so important in all fields of chemistry that it’s now taught in first-semester general chem classes, and the term “cis” is automatically associated with “trans”, they’re always said in the same breath. I believe that the cis/trans terms were first used to identify isomers in the 1880’s, though I could be wrong. So, “cis” is naturally associated with “trans” in at least that field, and no hokey made-up words are needed. The cis/trans isomers are complementary to each other!

    We teach that “trans” means “across or opposite to each other, or 180 degrees apart” and that “cis” means “next to or near each other or 90 degrees apart.” Not really consistent with the Latin!

    Allison @22, that is fascinating.

  25. garnetstar says

    P.S. I always feel odd lecturing on cis-trans isomerism to 18-year-olds, because they’re all definitely familiar with those terms, and have only ever heard them, in relation to people. So they listen tentatively, expecting me to launch into some kind of either social justice or TERF argument.

    But, it takes too much time just to get through the syllabus, and it’s difficult enough for them to understand what the isomers are, so I’ve never gotten around to so much as mentioning the terms’ now-common usages.

  26. says

    @kome 14.
    “I’m probably going to start using “ipsi” as pejorative because it’s got a nice syllabic structure.”

    Good thought on looking for a useful pejorative, but that one looks like it could have potential general uses due to it’s relationship to the other words.

  27. chris61 says

    @15 chrislawson

    I generally agree that people are entitled to self-designate.
    .. the only reason to object to being called “cis” — especially if the person is demanding clearly loaded terms like “normals” or “natives” — is in order to poison future discourse by sticking trans people with an implied label of abnormal or foreign.

    Another reason for a person to object to ‘cis’ (or to ‘trans’ for that matter), is because it is not a designation they chose for themselves but one that others seek to impose upon them.

  28. leerudolph says

    Brony@31: So you’re saying that a too-hasty adoption of “ipsi” might be an oopsie?

  29. Tethys says

    Po8crg #26

    “cis” is, helpfully, one of the words where the three pronunciations are different. It is “sis” /sɪs/ in traditional English Latin, “cheese” [t͡ʃiz] in Ecclesiastical (Italianate) Latin, and “kiss” [kɪs] in Classical Latin.

    Thank you for this concise information! I find philology endlessly fascinating, and was trying to collect my thoughts on the ch pronounciation, as I can readily think of multiple examples of the principal in modern language.

    English cherry, German kirch, French griote. This makes sense if you start with Futhark, where X is the letter for both hard G and K. There are multiple runes that = ch, but English has lost diphthongs, and doesn’t contain words with consonant clusters like T’schwartzvald. aFAIK German doesn’t even use the odd T’ prefix anymore, though you will find it spelled with the initial T in Roman era maps. A few more words that look very different depending on spelling system-
    Charlemagne = Karloman.
    Caeser-Kaiser-T’sar/C’zar. The K/Q phoneme is also in the words King and Queen.

    The other ch\sch\sh example that springs to mind is Pisces -Fishes but fiscal. I believe fisc comes from the Merovingian Franks, and is a type of early tax system of payment in kind. In this system a blacksmith would pay in metalwork, but a farmer would pay in grain or livestock.

  30. Tethys says

    I am perfectly happy to be tschis rather than ciss, as I dislike the sybilant hiss. It also alliterates nicely with trans.

    Perhaps those complaining about the human spectrum of gender can call themselves tschitz?

  31. cartomancer says

    Allison, #22

    Well, “Caesar” was more than just a nickname. It was a cognomen – a hereditary family name that distinguished which branch of a wider gens (clan or extended family) you belonged to. So a traditional Roman male name would consist of the personal name (praenomen, of which there were very few), the clan name (nomen) and the family name (cognomen). Women tended to only have a female form of the clan name (Tullia or Terentia for instance), but would be distinguished within the family with personal nicknames (Prima or Pulchra for instance).

    Most cognomina began in the dim and murky past as nicknames describing physical features or personality traits of the family – Ahenobarbus meant “red-bearded” for instance, Scaevola meant “left-handed” and Iucundus meant “jolly”. A few cognomina were awarded as honorifics to successful generals (like Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus “the great”), but usually a great general’s success would be marked with a fourth name (the agnomen), usually describing the places he had conquered (e.g. Africanus, Creticus, Germanicus).

    Now, Julius Caesar’s cognomen is a bit of a disputed one in terms of its origins, and was so even in his own day. It is definitely not the case that it comes from the man himself having been born by a process comparable to caesarian section though. Such a procedure would almost inevitably have been fatal for the mother in the ancient world, and Julius Caesar’s mother Aurelia lived another 46 years after having him. No Roman source ever says he was born this way. Besides which it was inherited from his father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar. It is possible that some unknown ancestor of the family in the distant past was born in such a way, and the name comes from there (caedo, caedere, cecidi, caesum – to cut, fell, kill or defeat)

    Other explanations put forward include that is comes from ‘caesaries’, a slightly quaint Latin word meaning “hairy” (which would fit as one of the physical description cognomina) or possibly from ‘caeruleis’ meaning blue-eyed. Or possibly even a Latinised form of the Carthaginian Punic word for elephant ‘caesai’.

    As for pronunciation, the Classical pronunciation the man himself would have recognised is much closer to the German “Kaiser”. “C” is always hard in Classical Latin, the ae dipthong is pronounced like “eye” in English, the “s” would be soft and the “r” on the end would be rolled a little. So “kai-sarr”.

  32. cartomancer says

    As for ipsi- as a prefix, it is not really used that way in Classical Latin but the meaning as a prefix in scientific neo-Latin (on that side itself) very much derives from the reflexive pronoun ipse / ipsa / ipsum “himself, herself, itself, themselves, etc”.

    “The same” would more usually be rendered in Latin as idem / eadem / idem however. Which, to my knowledge, is not used as a prefix in scientific terms.

    “trans” is a preposition in Classical Latin with the natural meaning of “across” (e.g. trans mare – across the sea). It is very commonly used as a prefix for both verbs, e,g. transire (to go across) transferre (to carry across), transgredi (to step across) etc.and for locational adjectives (e.g. transalpinus -from across the alps, transmontanus – from across the mountains, transmarinus – from across the sea etc.). Many Romance languages tend to substitute the prefix “ultra” (beyond) for trans- (across) in this particular locational context.

    “cis” (“on this side of”, “short of”, “on the near side of”) is the closest there is to an antonym for “trans” in Latin, but it doesn’t have the same sense of motion to it, and so is not used as a prefix to verbs in the same way. It is, however, used as a prefix to locational adjectives (cisalpinus, cismontanus, cismarinus etc).

  33. consciousness razor says

    “The same” would more usually be rendered in Latin as idem / eadem / idem however. Which, to my knowledge, is not used as a prefix in scientific terms.

    One example I’m familiar with: idempotence

  34. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 cartomancer

    my training in proper Latin tells me that should be a hard c sound, like all c sounds in Latin

    I can handle it since we seemed to have switched from Church Latin to “Proper” Latin in mid-course in high school one year. I blame John XXIII.

    @ 39 cartomancer
    …idem however. Which, to my knowledge, is not used as a prefix in scientific terms.

    No but the bloody Chicago Manual of Stye uses it rather than decent referencing {Ignore last outburst—I hate footnotes in general}

  35. Silentbob says

    @ 6 chris61

    So if I’ve got this right, some people are entitled to self-designate and we are to respect their self-designation. But we can assign labels to other people and then mock their refusal to accept those labels.

    That’s an absurd comparison. You’re trying to compare people deciding their own gender for themselves – rather than having one imposed on them – to simply using the term that describes their self-identification. “Cis” is not an identity. It is a term that describes the relationship of an identity to a label assigned at birth. No one is telling cis people they have to be cis. Cis people are identifying as the gender assigned at birth, and the word for that is “cis”.

    It’s analogous to comparing people deciding for themselves whether or not they are left or right handed, to people who say they are more comfortable using their left hand but complain that people are calling them “left-handed”.

    @ 8 chris61

    TERFs would seem to feel that the notion that transwomen are women is glomping onto women’s struggles and is also an over-the-top misappropriation.

    Which is also absurd. It’s no more true than cis women “glomping” onto women’s struggles. Trans people are just being themselves, not taking anything from anyone else.

    @ 12 chris61

    I suspect many of them would just say “call us women (or men)”. As would many transwomen (or transmen).

    Exactly. So when we need to distinguish between the two; we can’t just call them both women (or men). We use the same noun and a different adjective – cisgender or transgender. That’s kinda how language works.

    @ 32 chris61

    Another reason for a person to object to “cis” (or to “trans” for that matter), is because it is not a designation they chose for themselves but one that others seek to impose upon them.

    Like every other adjective. I mean unless people go around inventing their own adjectives when there are perfectly good ones in the dictionary already. But why would you want to do that?

  36. Silentbob says

    @ 27 garnetstar

    Back when I first heard the term “cisgender” (not all that many years ago), I knew immediately that it was a chemist who suggested it, as a term to indicate people who aren’t trans (a term which was already in use.)

    I don’t know about that. I knew cis as a kid because I was a space nut, and “cislunar space” has long been a term used to refer to the region of space within the Moon’s orbit.

  37. John Morales says

    According to Wikipedia,
    “German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch used the neologism cissexual (zissexuell in German) in a peer-reviewed publication. In his 1998 essay “The Neosexual Revolution”, he cites his two-part 1991 article “Die Transsexuellen und unser nosomorpher Blick” (“Transsexuals and our nosomorphic view”) as the origin of the term.”

  38. chris61 says

    @42SilentBob

    That’s an absurd comparison. You’re trying to compare people deciding their own gender for themselves – rather than having one imposed on them – to simply using the term that describes their self-identification. “Cis” is not an identity. It is a term that describes the relationship of an identity to a label assigned at birth.

    The label assigned at birth is based on biological sex (or perceived biological sex) not on gender identity. So of course ‘cis’ is an identity. Cis and trans implies the same sort of binary distribution that saying everyone is either male or female does.

    So when we need to distinguish between the two; we can’t just call them both women (or men).

    So outside of medicine (and intimate partnerships perhaps) why do we need to distinguish between the two?

    Like every other adjective. I mean unless people go around inventing their own adjectives when there are perfectly good ones in the dictionary already. But why would you want to do that?

    Probably for the same reasons people choose their own pronouns when there are already perfectly good ones in the dictionary.

  39. garnetstar says

    @42 and @44, I still think it was a chemist. Because cis/trans are inevitably used together in chemistry, the terms are inseparable and, as I say, always spoken in the same breath. And they mean two molecules that are identical (as are humans) and complementary. Unless it’s that way in astronomy, and there’s an equivalent translunar space that is the same item, but inevitably linked to, and complementary to, the cis one.
    @44, of course sexologists can suggest the terms and introduce them as descriptive of humans, but, as late as 1991, he got it from somewhere else. And, especially if he was German, the traditional world capital of organic chemistry, I think that I know where he got it.

  40. osmanthusoolong says

    Gartnetstar, @#46: It very much was developed by a sexologist. It was, however, not widely used until Julia Serano, a biochemist and trans woman, popularized it.

    The “how dare you call me cis! I don’t identify as cis!” whine that Chris61 is pushing is just a flavour of the “excuse you, how dare you point out I’m white when we talk about race/I’m not straight, I’m normal!” tantrum that happens when people who are used to being socially unmarked throw when it’s pointed out that no position is unmarked, and that they receive institutional privilege.

  41. chris61 says

    @47 osmanthusoolong

    he “how dare you call me cis! I don’t identify as cis!” whine that Chris61 is pushing is just a flavour of the “excuse you, how dare you point out I’m white when we talk about race/I’m not straight, I’m normal!” tantrum that happens when people who are used to being socially unmarked throw when it’s pointed out that no position is unmarked, and that they receive institutional privilege.

    Not even close. I personally don’t object being labeled ‘cis’ in the slightest although I do find it amusing that people who oppose the idea that sex is a binary are perfectly willing to go along with the notion that gender is. How do you rationalize that?

  42. garnetstar says

    chris 61@48 Huh?

    No one’s saying that gender is binary. There is a binary that’s currently socially imposed: either your gender is what you were identified as at birth, or it isn’t. That’s the only binary.

    If infants were not rigidly assigned one of only two genders at birth, there wouldn’t be a binary.

  43. chris61 says

    @49 garnetstar
    Hunh right back at you. If gender isn’t a binary to begin with, then how can anyone be cis-gender?

  44. says

    @chris61 50
    You get lots of people to make a big social deal out of a single point of difference and convince them something terrible will happen if we don’t keep focusing on it. Things that distract from the difference are described as threats.

    I see “Cis” as a temporary place-holder as much as “straight” or “neurotypical” is. Once there are words that better reflect what’s going on they won’t be necessary. Negative feelings about “cis” look like displaced negative feelings about trans people to me.

  45. Siobhan says

    @50 chris61

    If gender isn’t a binary to begin with, then how can anyone be cis-gender?

    It may benefit you to know that there is a difference between describing something as it currently works and advocating for something to be different.

    It’s hard to argue against the observation that people are currently pigeonholed into “perceived as conforming with their assigned sex” and “perceived as not conforming with their assigned sex,” because for this phenomenon to not exist, trans people would have to be received in all the same ways cis people currently are. That these two groups are not equivalent by many different metrics would be evidence supporting the accuracy of what I just described. While I realize a number of people use these terms as “identities,” they are far more useful for describing power relations as I just did. Are you understood as conforming to your sex, and do you reap the benefits for doing so? It doesn’t need to be concrete or universally true to be functional, but rejecting cis on the grounds that you are mistaken for trans is a very different beast from fairy tale denialism that such benefits do not exist.

  46. dangerousbeans says

    chris61 @ 50
    PZ covered that in the original post. Maybe you should try reading the post before commenting?

  47. John Morales says

    If gender isn’t a binary to begin with, then how can anyone be cis-gender?

    If ice-cream flavour isn’t a binary to begin with, then how can ice-cream be vanilla?

  48. Rob Grigjanis says

    chris61 @50:

    If gender isn’t a binary to begin with, then how can anyone be cis-gender?

    If country of residence isn’t a binary to begin with, how can anyone be a resident of the country they were born in? Very perplexing!

  49. Rob Grigjanis says

    Put another way: It’s not gender which is binary. It’s the answer to the question “do you identify with the gender you were assigned at birth” which is binary.

  50. maat says

    cisalpine and transalpine simply mean this side or that side of a mountain, and the terms are interchangeable, as they only relate to the location one happens to be at any point in time, i.e if I go through the tunnel and arrive at the other side, I would still say I am on ‘this’ side of the said mountain.
    I hope one day these terms will stop being relevant descriptors of identity.
    It is sad that right now we have placed a mountain between us.

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