Cisgender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identify and gender corresponds with their birth sex.
I’ve gotten in the habit of using the term cisgender as part of my regular vocabulary; I might use it 8 times/day. But I’ve gotten pushback…
“Why do you keep saying that? We know what you mean without saying it.”
“What does that even mean?”
“You don’t need to say that.”
Even some of my best friends have asked similar questions, with the best intentions. And I don’t blame them, because they haven’t read this blog post yet. So, here’s your answer:
Why You Need to Use the Term Cisgender
We need to use the word cisgender because otherwise you foster the notion that being trans is somehow abnormal.
Think about it – if not for cisgender, what would you call someone who is not transgender in order to differentiate the two? You would default to calling this person normal, making it abnormal to be anything else – and fuck that. Even if you don’t agree wholeheartedly with that statement, and have the world’s best intentions, chances are that your gut instinct was to go there. This is called your cisgender privilege and you need to start checking it at the door.
The journey of a transgender individual is many things: exciting, difficult, strenuous, terrifying, amazing, beautiful, and fucking miserable at times. It is a lot of things, but it is not abnormal.
There are an estimated 1.4 million individuals in the United States who identify as transgender. I would bet money that there are twice as many individuals who are prohibited from coming out and identifying as their true self for a number of reasons, one of the primary reasons being the lack of normalcy and acceptance around this “lifestyle” as some call it. As a result, they battle with the internal conflict between their true self and their outward sex and appearance, every single day. I can tell you from experience – that is not a fun way to live your life.
So check your privilege and stop fostering the notion that transgender humans are any less than normal. Respect that we’re just like you; just trying to live our lives. Because trust me, I’ve met plenty of cisgender people who are far from normal.