It has become common for non-trans people to be called cis- (cisgender/ ciswoman/ cisman/ etc).  I’ve never been a great fan of labels and, to be honest, I am struggling with this one.  I accept that it is sometimes useful (especially if I am in a group of mostly trans people), but the term “cis” has negative connotations for many people.

I was aware of the Latin origins with “cis” meaning “on this side” in contrast to “trans” meaning “on the other side” or “across”.  I was also aware of the use of the term in chemistry.

To gain some insight from the trans community, I went on a trans-friendly Facebook page recently and asked where the term cisgender came from.  I never expected the level of vitriol I received from one individual who called me called me all sorts of names and claimed that “a very large portion of trans people are extremely angry at cisgender society and the suffering it has caused” and said that I was included in that.  The whole thing left me more bemused than upset but I wasn’t going to let myself get embroiled in an argument.

Thankfully some friends jumped to my rescue and reassured me that the individual concerned was not speaking for any of them.  It is a shame that we have to rely on labels but I accept that there are many times and circumstances where they help.  I’ve been called many names in the past so I guess it’s time to accept this new one.


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