On the term “Cisgendered”
“Cisgendered” is apparently the latest politically correct gender terminology. The term came up in a Black Rose class last night on Scene & Queer Identities that was taught by Del, and that’s what got me [re]thinking about how much I dislike the term.
“Cisgendered” means someone whose gender is in alignment with their biology. I’ve been hearing this term a lot more in the queer and academic communities. I think it’s an awkward term, but I understand why it’s being used. It’s less harsh towards the trans community than “bio-male” or “bio-female.” I was kind of indifferent towards the term until someone recently told me that I was cisgendered.
My knee jerk reaction to having this label applied to me was not positive, which got me wondering why – other than the usual crankiness with having someone try to label me.
This person was assuming that because I am currently presenting as female and my bits also are female, that I my gender is in alignment with my biology. It isn’t, and those kind of assumptions are dangerous. You would think that people in the queer community would be better at the whole “not making assumptions based on how people look thing,” but I actually think that they are worse at it. They use so many visual and cultural cues – hair cuts, dress, jewelry, body language – to determine who is in the community and who is not that judgments like that end up being made.
Does the fact that I am currently presenting as female and I’ve never not wanted a vagina (penises are just inconvenient) mean that I am any less gender queer?
No. I have struggled with gender for the majority of my life. I have had panic attacks over it, I have sliced my skin over it, and I am fully aware of the difference between gender presentation and gender identity. The queer community should be too.
I choose to present as female, but female is not an identity that I claim. The problem with the term cisgendered is that it is a term that the queer community is using to apply to other people. This labeling is done under assumptions of presentation. I understand how the term “bio-female” might be taken the wrong way from the transgendered perspective, but I think that cisgendered is not a term that the queer community should be throwing around unless someone self-identifies as it.
I am on the gender queer spectrum, yet I am not transgendered. I would prefer bio-female, actually. I am a bio-female gender queer polyamorous pansexual kinkster.
And the next person who tells me that I am “cisgendered” can shove it.
RMJ over at Deeply Problematic wrote further commentary on this here.