Cis Hits the Fan

Posted by – July 2, 2009

Have you all seen these arguments going on about the use of the word cis? Here’s Pam’s House Blend and Questioning Transphobia on the issue. Unfuckingbelievable.

I hate the word myself, but it’s a useful lens on a type of privilege others can’t see or identify, which is one of the reasons it can upset people. I can’t imagine telling others they can’t use it, though.

I also prefer a crowbar between “cisgender” and “cissexual” because I am one but I’m not the other (as many other queerios may be, as well, since many of us have more than one gender).

Another round of Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, everyone, please.

But the idea that trans people are always righteously angry, entirely respectful, and never diminish their own anger and hurt by throwing invective and insult at the people they’re arguing with… oh, that’s RICH. The trans community is notorious, at this point, for going batshit over things in a way not seen before by – well, most people.

I myself prefers “not trans” or “variably gendered” or “pantywaist” or ” trans ally” or just “tomboy” but I’ve long ago given up on having anyone respect my self-chosen identities, to be honest, having been told I am trans, that I’m not masculine enough to “count” when it comes to female masculinity, etc.

(Now Autumn Sandeen has had her say, too.)

8 Comments on Cis Hits the Fan

  1. Caoimhe says:

    Excuse me, but you’re not trans. And so I’m not sure why you think it’s okay — especially as someone who claims to understand privilege — to write things like this:

    The trans community is notorious, at this point, for going batshit over things in a way not seen before by – well, most people.

    That’s pretty offensive.

  2. helenboyd says:

    not trans, but part of the trans community, about which i was commenting.

    if you’re new to me: i say “batshit” with love. i’ve been always impressed by the trans community’s rage, and find it entirely justifiable, even if & when i find it not the smartest option politically / educationally.

  3. Caoimhe says:

    Please don’t justify your cissexist insult against trans people by appropriating trans identity and appointing yourself part of “the trans community” in order to insult it.

    Thanks.

  4. Caoimhe says:

    Your paragraph started out “But the idea that trans people …”

    That “trans community” part is criticism of trans people, in context, and you weren’t talking about cis allies there. Pretending as if it was not, and hiding behind “I’m part of the trans community too because I’m an ally and I have a trans wife!” is bullshit, Gail.

  5. helenboyd says:

    i don’t give good argument, for starters. i just don’t. too old, too tired, too busy.

    i will concede that i mis-wrote when i used “trans people” as i meant “the trans community” & should have used “trans communities” since there is not only one.

    there are too many examples of bad behavior on the part of the larger trans communities. ask the people who were around for the nomination of The Man Who Would Be Queen for the Lammies, for instance. that doesn’t mean there wasn’t good reason for anger – in that case, maybe more than others, there was. but hurling personal invective & hyperbolic argument happens a lot more than – well, then i’d prefer. (check over at TGB where someone recently stated that trans people suffer more than Jesus, for instance).

    but my point was saying that trans people are *never* or *always* anything is a ridiculous statement.

    one of the problems i see with the “cis” issue is that it creates another binary. to assume that all trans people are not cissexual is a broad leap – plenty of trans people are cissexual, though not cisgender, right? just as many LGBT people are one & not the other.

    what i’m saying is that i don’t see “cisgender” and “transgender” as easy opposite categories, because there are people who aren’t cisgender who also aren’t transgender. like sissies, tomboys, etc. as for the issue of whether i’m part of the trans community – feh. i’m told on a regular basis that i’m not, & then others tell me i most certainly am. legislation, hate crimes, stupid pathologizing diagnoses, etc., all effect my life at a personal & political level. if that makes me part of the trans community, good. if it makes me an ally, good. whichever title is fine with me, bona fide or honorary or hanger-on.

    i won’t respond again to this particular issue.

  6. Sophia K says:

    Helen, you are not the trans community’s mammie.

  7. Véronique says:

    WTF is this, pick on Helen week? This trans woman has no problem with what she writes. Just sayin’.

  8. helenboyd says:

    wait, was that serious?! i thought it was a joke. the idea of anyone using a deeply racialized & offensive phrase like that – well i assumed it had to be tongue in cheek, because no person with a brain & a conscience would ever use that term otherwise, right?

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