The term “cisgender”, sometime shortened to “cis”, means someone’s gender identity aligns to their sex assigned at birth. Basically if your mom and dad’s reaction of “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl” is accurate than you are cisgender. Although I never heard of cisgender until I came out as trans it has been in use since the mid 1990s. Many people tend to find it as a useful term because it helps shift understanding about gender, making cisgender into a specific gender identity rather than a default setting. The Merriam-Webster dictionary officially added the term “cisgender” to its unabridged edition.
Critics of the term “cisgender” have complained that it’s unnecessary, and some have mistakenly concluded that is it somehow related to sexual orientation. I’d like to know what your take is on this. (Please comment below) In reality, though, it’s an essential word in understanding and acknowledging a spectrum of gender identities. By using cis woman with trans woman as opposed to trans woman with just plain woman, we’re spreading the message that said trans woman isn’t abnormal. Same applies to trans men and cis men.
The term cis privilege which describes the societal advantage of being cis has also become part of the discussion in society surrounding gender identity in recent years. This being said we know that in today’s society cis gendered people just like white people have privilege over others. Although we wish this wasn’t true unfortunately our society has not crossed that barrier yet.
The term “Transgender” sometimes shortened to “trans”, refers to a gender identity that is different from the sex assigned at birth. If you look it up in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary it states “someone who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth”.
A lot of people consider it an umbrella term and points out that transgender can refer to people who identify as a trans man, trans woman or simply as transgender. The term transgender encompasses a wide range of identities, and identifying as transgender does not necessarily mean a person has undergone surgery to alter their body or is taking hormones, or that they wish to modify their physical appearance at all. The fight for transgender rights has been in the spotlight recently, partially because of the national fight over North Carolina’s HB2 law, often referred to as the “bathroom bill,” which effectively bans trans people from using the public bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Trans and cis are equally important in identifying different aspects of gender. I know some trans people inherently aren’t fond of cis people, but unfortunately they are part of society. Your parents might be cisgender, grandparents, friends a lot of society is cigender it doesn’t make them less equal than us just as much as we aren’t less equal than them. As trans and cis people we need to come together to achieve a common goal of equality no matter what you are.
Studies have shown that transgender people typically have the brain makeup of the gender they identify. Unlike cisgender people whos brain makeup typically is based on the gender/sex they were assigned at birth. There are a multitude of facets about transgender and cisgender. It’s only now that we are starting to get data about transgender people. We are able to now see how being on HRT has effects on people after 20 years where before we were unable to see those because the data didn’t exist.
No matter what side you are on we were all made equal and should all stand up for our rights as human beings. Make friends with your cis allies and make friends with your trans people. As a society we focus so much on relationships so go out and make them even if the person is different than you.