It's been a hot topic lately on some transgender blogs, so it's time for me to weigh in with my thoughts on the word 'cisgender'.
So what is 'cisgender'?
It's a term coined around 1994 by Dutch transman Carl Buijs that refers to the alignment of gender identity with your physical body.
In other words, it is the opposite of transgender, in which there is a mismatch between your body and the gender identity housed in your brain.
So why do some peeps have a problem with it?
I believe the people having a problem with the word are wallowing in unacknowledged cisgender privilege. They are taken aback that there is a trans community term coined by trans people to describe them.
That throws them for a loop and they get upset because in their minds, they are the 'normal' people and as such, are the only people who get to define 'others', not the other way around.
Shoot, all you have to do is look at the comment fields on my Bilerico posts and elsewhere around the Net to see how many peeps get upset and call me 'racist' over the 'vanilla flavored privileged' term I used to describe white privilege.
Come to think of it, they call me 'racist' anytime I criticize the underlying structural assumptions that buttress whiteness.
But getting back to our current discussion.
Cisgender is a neutral term that doesn't have the negative accumulated baggage of being used to 'other' or used as a rallying cry by the Forces of Intolerance to oppress someone's human rights rights like trans has.
There are no people being made the butt of societal jokes because they are cisgender. There's no 'cisgender panic defense'. There's no one being denied a job because they are cisgender. There's no one being killed because of folks hating on you for being cisgender. There's no Cisgender Day Of Remembrance.
I repeat, cisgender means your body and the gender identity housed between your ears is comfortably aligned, nothing more, nothing less.
It means that from the time you were born until this point today in your lives, you were not only comfortable in your gender identity-body matchup, you are comfortable with the societal gender role you perform based on that body to the point that you hardly ever think about it.
If we're going to make the point that being transgender is an everyday biological/medical/social condition, we had to have some word in the vocabulary that describes most of the people walking Planet Earth who are not trans.
It's the same concept that underpins why gay people call non-gays 'straight'.
So why are y'all tripping, cisgender people? Cisgender isn't an insult.