FANDOM


Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex".[1] It is the opposite of the term transgender.[2]

Related terms include cissexism and cisnormativity.

Etymology and terminology Edit

German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch used the neologism cissexual (zissexuell in German) in a peer-reviewed publication. In his 1998 essay "The Neosexual Revolution", he cites his two-part 1991 article "Die Transsexuellen und unser nosomorpher Blick" ("Transsexuals and our nosomorphic view") as the origin of the term.[3] He also used the term in the title of a 1995 article, "Transsexueller Wunsch und zissexuelle Abwehr" (or: "Transsexual desire and cissexual defense").[4]

Cisgender has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis-, meaning "on this side of", which means the opposite of trans-, meaning "across from" or "on the other side of". This usage can be seen in the cis–trans distinction in chemistry, the cis–trans or complementation test in genetics, in Ciscaucasia (from the Russian perspective), in the ancient Roman term Cisalpine Gaul (i.e., "Gaul on this side of the Alps"), and more recently, Cisjordan, as distinguished from Transjordan. In the case of gender, cis- describes the alignment of gender identity with assigned sex.[5]

Sociologists Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook define cisgender as a label for "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity".[2] A number of derivatives of the terms cisgender and cissexual include cis male for "male assigned male at birth", cis female for "female assigned female at birth", analogously cis man and cis woman,[6] and cissexism and cissexual assumption.[7] In addition, one study published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society used the term cisnormativity, akin to sexual diversity studies' heteronormativity.[8][9] A related adjective is gender-normative because, as Eli R. Green writes, "'cisgendered' is used [instead of the more popular 'gender normative'] to refer to people who do not identify with a gender diverse experience, without enforcing existence of a normative gender expression".[10] In this way, cisgender is preferable because, unlike the term gender-normative, it does not imply that transgender identities are abnormal.

Julia Serano has defined cissexual as "people who are not transsexual and who have only ever experienced their mental and physical sexes as being aligned", while cisgender is a slightly narrower term for those who do not identify as transgender (a larger cultural category than the more clinical transsexual).[11] For Jessica Cadwallader, cissexual is "a way of drawing attention to the unmarked norm, against which trans is identified, in which a person feels that their gender identity matches their body/sex".[12]

The terms cisgender and cissexual were used in a 2006 article in the Journal of Lesbian Studies[13] and Serano's 2007 book Whipping Girl,[11] after which the term gained some popularity among English-speaking activists and scholars.[14][15][16] Jillana Enteen wrote in 2009 that cissexual is "meant to show that there are embedded assumptions encoded in expecting this seamless conformity".[17]

Serano also uses the related term cissexism, "which is the belief that transsexuals' identified genders are inferior to, or less authentic than, those of cissexuals".[18] In 2010, the term cisgender privilege appeared in academic literature, defined as the "set of unearned advantages that individuals who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth accrue solely due to having a cisgender identity".[19]

While some believe that the term cisgender is merely politically correct,[20][21][22][23][24] medical academics use the term and have recognized its importance in transgender studies since the 1990s.[25][26][27]

In February 2014, Facebook began offering "custom" gender options, allowing users to identify with one or more gender-related terms from a selected list, including cis, cisgender, and others.[28][29] Cisgender was also added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, defined as "designating a person whose sense of personal identity corresponds to the sex and gender assigned to him or her at birth (in contrast with transgender)."[30]

Critiques Edit

From feminism and gender studies Edit

Krista Scott-Dixon wrote in 2009: "I prefer the term non-trans to other options such as cissexual/cisgendered."[31] She holds this view because she believes the term "non-trans" is clearer to average people and will help normalize transgender individuals.

Women's and Gender Studies scholar Mimi Marinucci writes that some consider the "cisgender–transgender" binary to be just as dangerous or self-defeating as the masculine–feminine gender binary, because it lumps people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) arbitrarily and over-simplistically with heteronormative class of people as opposed to with transgender people. Characterizing LGB individuals together with heterosexual, non-trans people may problematically suggest that LGB individuals, unlike transgender individuals, "experience no mismatch between their own gender identity and gender expression and cultural expectations regarding gender identity and expression".[32]

Glosswitch wrote in the British magazine the New Statesman that if an essential gender binary does not exist, then the idea that one's identity matches their gender is maintaining a stereotype.[33]

From intersex organizations Edit

Template:See also

Intersex people are born with atypical physical sex characteristics that can complicate initial sex assignment and lead to involuntary or coerced medical treatment.[34][35] The term cisgender "can get confusing" in relation to people with intersex conditions, according to the Advocates for Informed Choice Inter/Act project.[36] Hida Viloria of OII-USA notes that, as a person born with an intersex body who has a non-binary sense of gender identity that "matches" his/her body, s/he is both cisgender and gender non-conforming, presumably opposites according to cisgender's definition, and that this evidences the term's basis on a binary sex model that does not account for intersex people's existence. S/he also critiques the fact that the term "sex assigned at birth" is used in one of cisgender's definitions without noting that babies are assigned male or female regardless of intersex status in most of the world, stating that doing so obfuscates the birth of intersex babies and frames gender identity within a binary male/female sex model that fails to account for both the existence of natally congruent gender non-conforming gender identities, and gender-based discrimination against intersex people based on natal sex characteristics rather than on gender identity or expression, such as "normalizing" infant genital surgeries.[37] Organisation Intersex International Australia argues that, while most intersex people are not transgender, the term is problematic because of intersex people's experience, or risk of experiencing, "involuntary medical treatment to impose stereotypical sex characteristics".[38] Intersex professor Cary Gabriel Costello has proposed using the term "ipso gender" instead of cisgender for intersex people who agree with their birth sex designation.[39]

See also Edit

Template:Portal bar

References Edit

  1. Crethar, H. C. & Vargas, L. A. (2007). Multicultural intricacies in professional counseling. In J. Gregoire & C. Jungers (Eds.), The counselor's companion: What every beginning counselor needs to know. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Template:ISBN. p. 59.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite journal
  3. Template:Cite journal
  4. Template:Cite journal
  5. Template:Cite web
  6. Template:Cite web
  7. Template:Cite book
  8. Template:Cite journal
  9. Template:Cite journal
  10. Template:Cite journal
  11. 11.0 11.1 Template:Cite book
  12. Template:Cite book
  13. Green, Eli R. (2006). "Debating Trans Inclusion in the Feminist Movement: A Trans-Positive Analysis," Journal of Lesbian Studies. Volume: 10 Issue: 1/2. pp. 231−248. ISSN 1089-4160
  14. Template:Cite journal
  15. Template:Cite journal
  16. Template:Cite journal
  17. Template:Cite book
  18. Serano (2007) also defines cisgender as synonymous with "non-transgender" and cissexual with "non-transsexual" (p. 33).
  19. Walls, N. E., & Costello, K. (2010). "Head ladies center for teacup chain": Exploring cisgender privilege in a (predominantly) gay male context. In S. Anderson and V. Middleton Explorations in diversity: Examining privilege and oppression in a multicultural society, 2nd ed. (pp. 81−93). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Quote appears on p.83.
  20. Template:Cite web
  21. Template:Cite news
  22. Template:Cite magazine
  23. Template:Cite web
  24. Template:Cite magazine
  25. Template:Cite book
  26. Template:Cite journal
  27. Template:Cite journal
  28. Template:Cite web
  29. Template:Cite web
  30. Template:Cite web
  31. Template:Cite journal
  32. Template:Cite book
  33. Template:Cite web
  34. Template:Cite book
  35. Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization, An interagency statement, World Health Organization, May 2014.
  36. Inter/Act Youth • Inter/Act has been working with MTV’s Faking It on... Inter/Act Youth. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  37. Caught in the Gender Binary Blind Spot: Intersex Erasure in Cisgender Rhetoric, Hida Viloria, August 18, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  38. Intersex for allies, Organisation Intersex International Australia, October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  39. Template:Cite web

Further reading Edit

External links Edit

Template:Wikimedia

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.