Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Letter to the queer/feminist/progressive cis blogosphere

The recent dust up over the term cisgender and/or cis and the question of whether it is insulting or hostile terminology?

It isn't. And if you feel insulted by it, it is a function of your fucking privilege. And your privilege does not make you a bad person. Its what you fucking do with it that shows what kind of person you are (and as a note for that particular link, it is an example of someone using their privilege to be a fucking asshole. THAT is what makes someone a "bad person" not the presence of privilege in and of itself.)

The term cisgender is nothing more than an indicator that someone is not transgender. Having a way to distinguish between multiple states of being without setting the one with privilege as the standard is an important step in acceptance and activism.

I am so fucking tired of the oppression olympics. Just because you are oppressed by nature of your gender, your color, your sexuality, your able-bodiness, your non/neurotypicality and any intersection of the above, you are still not excused from being able to be a fucking asshole to other people that you do have privilege over. Privileges v. oppressions are not a fucking tally sheet. You can't "cancel out" the privilege of being cisgender by virtue of being queer/disabled/of color/whathaveyou. I don't get what is so hard to understand. Your privilege shifts with context. A queer, able-bodied, neurotypical white guy who was assigned a male gender at birth and who experiences no dysphoria re: his gender identity will experience oppression in the realm of sexual orientation, but still receives male, white, able-bodied, neurotypical, cisgender privilege.

And as C.L. (who rocks so absolutely) helpfully points out, having privilege in certain areas does not diminish the oppressions one faces. It also does not give you a free card to be an asshole. If you have questions on where to start with the whole "not being an asshole" thing, go read this

For my part, I regularly use the term cis for myself because despite my gender-queerness, my public presentation and my gender assignment at birth match for the most part. I consider myself cis because while I face the same shit that so many other queer women do, one thing I won't have to fear is the shit that transgender people face just for existing.


  1. Nice post. Co-signed.

  2. Anonymous10:04 AM

    "I don't get what is so hard to understand".

    The presense of nuance in the discussion of intersecting privileges/oppressions. A lotta people can't handle nuance.