|“||So why are y'all tripping, cisgender people? Cisgender isn't an insult.||”|
Cisgender (or cis) is an adjective, and umbrella term, that denotes that an individual identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. It can be seen as the "opposite" of transgender, depending on how one conceptualises gender.
"Cis", which is Latin for "on this side", is used as a specifier for binary gender identities. So a cis person can be either a cis man, or a cis woman. Its usage with respect to the gender binary, and in terms of etymology, follows that of "trans".
The first documented usage of the term (as "cisgendered") was in 1994 by biologist Dana Leland Defosse, Ph.D. She used it on alt.transgendered newsgroup to discuss research into gender identity, and trans issues on University of Minnesota's campus:
|I am trying to assess campus climates for the transgender community, both at my own institution and at other campuses. Any information regarding this subject would be tremendously helpful to this effort. Personal testimony, activism, organizations, experience of providers and human service workers, etc. Issues of interest are transphobia, hostility, general knowledge and understanding, attitudes of the queer community and cisgendered people, etc. I am interested in building coalitions and will share any info with others.|
Defosse says she needed a linguistic complement to the prefix "trans-". Thus, being expert in biochemistry (which uses cis/trans), she decided to introduce the term "cis" to describe non-trans people.
|As for the origin, I just made it up. I just kept running into the problem of what to call non-trans people in various discussions, and one day it just hit me: non-trans equals cis. Therefore, cisgendered.|
In 2009, Monica Roberts, on her blog TransGriot, offered her definition of the term:
|I repeat, cisgender means your body and the gender identity housed between your ears is comfortably aligned, nothing more, nothing less.
It means that from the time you were born until this point today in your lives, you were not only comfortable in your gender identity-body matchup, you are comfortable with the societal gender role you perform based on that body to the point that you hardly ever think about it.
In the same year, sociologists Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook defined cisgender as "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity".
- The education of little cis, Cisgender and the discipline of opposing bodies, A. Finn Enke
- Cisgender on Gender Wiki
- See the Wikipedia article on Cisgender.
- Cisgender Isn't An Insult, by Monica Roberts
- Cissexual is a deprecated synonym.
- 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. ISBN 0-8058-5684-6. p. 61.
- cis- on the Online Etymology Dictionary
- English words prefixed with cis on Wiktionary
- Lugones, Maria (2007). Heterosexualism and the Colonial / Modern Gender System Hypatia, Volume 22, Number 1, Winter 2007, pp. 186-209 | 10.1353/hyp.2006.0067
- So, I hear trans people recently invented this whole cis/trans thing…, by Cristan Williams
- Dana Leland Defosse, on PhDTree
- Dana Leland Defosse (1994-05-26). "Transgender Research". Posted on alt.transgendered newsgroup.
- cisgender at Word Spy
- Whipping Girl FAQ on cissexual, cisgender, and cis privilege
- Cissexual/Cisgender: decentralizing the dominant group, by Emi Koyama
- Definitions: Cisgender, by Donna Lynn Matthews
- What does “cis” mean?
- Schilt, Kristen; Westbrook, Laurel (2009). Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: 'Gender Normals,' Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality. Gender & Society, volume = 23, issue = 4, pages = 440–464 . DOI 10.1177/0891243209340034. August 2009