Posts Tagged ‘cis’

Cis by Default: Misgendering the “cis gendered”

September 1, 2010

“cisgendered – Someone who associates and is comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.”

We’ll go with that definition for now, because many of the other definitions are even more troublesomely worded.
The term cis is not known popularly known. But even among people that do know of the concept, it is sometimes rejected or considered baloney, by people that are apparently cis gendered.

The problem with assuming that the cis-rejecting are cis is that they may not be, well, cis gendered at all. Many have the belief that your genitals define your gender. A vagina makes you a woman. A penis makes you a man. And if you hold that belief, how can you then believe that you are something other than what your genitals are telling people you are?

You can’t. They’re completely contradictory beliefs. Where does the vehement anger and rejection of the label “cis” come from then? I think in many cases it comes from the “happy and comfortable with the gender assigned at birth” part of the cis definition. Because from seeing what some of the cis-rejecting say, they are not happy in their bodies and assigned gender, and they resent being told they are. One said, I think, that “I feel like a female only when other people force me to feel that way, when they remind me that I am a female”.

Another time I ran into an androgyne in a chat and we began discussing things like pronoun use and feminine physical appearances, which led to her casually saying she’d like to get rid of her breasts. A girl in the chat, who’d been kind of weirded out by the whole discussion (but who did not, for her credit, say there was anything wrong with what we were saying) said that while everyone feels that way, we should really not be talking about it in a public chat, etc.

I don’t know. Do most cis women feel that way about their breasts? I’ve never gotten the impression that most women view them as a painful inconvenience with no appreciable characteristics, or that they’d rather be rid of them.

Myself, when I first learned of the word “cis”, I instantly applied it to myself, when perhaps I should not have. I have never been suicidal because of my body, I never went through life suffering a feeling of extreme wrongness. I carried the assumption that most trans people suffered severe dysmorphia, and since I did not, there was no way I was trans. Something as simple as feeling like an intruder in many female only spaces, or getting a sudden stab of wrongness when one has to select “Miss, Mrs, or Mr” for address, feeling that a flat chest would fit so much better… are just things a lot of girls deal with, right?

Then there are also people that go on under the assumption that people must desire surgery or hormones if they are trans. And since they don’t want to do those things, they are cis or fine with their bodies.

Okay, I’m not sure entirely what I’m trying to say here. Just that the rates of trans gendered people are going up, if I remember correctly, and likely some of that is a result of increased awareness. Perhaps my point is just that there are many people that are not comfortable or happy with their assigned gender, but their dysmorphia and discomfort are not so severe as to make them seek the identity of trans and reject their assigned gender.

Is “cis” really the right word for those people?

Disclaimer: I’m fairly new to the concept of gender identity and things like, and am likely extremely ignorant and stating the obvious or oft-rejected. Have tried not to hurt anyone or speak for other people, just get some thoughts out of my head that have been floating around.