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OK, I've got to ask...

Is "cisgendered" anything more than a more complicated and confusing way to say "gender normative?"

And who is defining "gender normative" anyway?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
I think of it as "the opposite of transgender... as coined by someone who knew some Latin". In Latin, cis- is pretty much the opposite of trans-, as in the divisions of "transalpine and cisalpine Gaul".

"Cisgender" is a word I'd pretty much only use in opposition to "transgender", and it has the dual advantages of:

1) being a syllable shorter than "non-transgender"; and
2) not being a "negative definition"

(At least in Latin it's non-negative. In English, we don't have an easy concept that seems to map to cis-, so it's hard for me to say with any clarity what its non-negative definition is... except for "on this side of"?)

Personally, I wouldn't have brought the phrase "gender normative" into it; if I had to define "cisgender" to someone who I didn't think would appreciate the Latin stuff, I'd probably say something like "Someone who's happy (or at least satisfied) with their natural (biological, chromosomal) gender." It gets me out of the trouble of having to even try to define what "gender normative" means. *g*
Apr. 14th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
It's geekier...
Apr. 14th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
"the culture defines it"
Just some stuff:

Gender Role "The pattern of masculine or feminine behavior of an individual that is defined by a particular culture and that is largely determined by a child's upbringing." (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Gender+norm)

some googlebooks stuff:

Apr. 14th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
And who is defining "gender normative" anyway?
That would be me. :-)

I just hate jargon, especilly clutching-at-straws jargon which uses prefixes or suffixes or foreign language roots which are not in the common English vocabulary. Trans is a prefix common in English, cis is not.

Edited at 2009-04-14 04:02 am (UTC)
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:35 am (UTC)
Trans is a prefix common in English, cis is not.

....Which is why I would agree upon a need to use terms that random other people don't go "huh?"
at and run for their dictionaries.... (precisely my reaction the first time I saw "cisgendered" mentioned several months ago...)
Apr. 14th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
huh. To me, cisgendered is much more clear. I've heard that plenty, but I don't think I heard "gender normative" until now.

I should also point out that in my field trans- and cis- are very common prefixes. I'm sure that's part of why that term seems so clear to me.
Apr. 14th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
As you rightly intuit, the idea of "gender normative" is deeply problematic. So if you want to find a word to cover people who are not trans, then you need to pick one that doesn't somehow imply that those people are superior to (or inferior to) people who are trans.

So no, it is not a was of saying "gender normative". It is a way of avoiding having to use that phrase, with all of the extra, unwanted baggage that comes with it.
Apr. 14th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
"not trans-gendered" has always worked for me. No value judgement, standard grade school English, and who cares if it takes longer to say?
Apr. 14th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
I think the intention was a similar-sounding (adjective-noun kinda thing), easy to say phrase, that people might actually start using (which they have ;) ).

And the goal is to remind everyone that everyone has a gender role - which most cis-gendered people reasonably enough tend to forget; if trans people want more acceptance, educating gender normative people is really important. And most non-scholars are never ever gonna say gender normative. Cisgendered is much easier.
Apr. 14th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
p.s. re who gets to say; the person saying, of course. ;-) Messy is the name o' the game.
Apr. 14th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
A little Googling turns up this:

From http://jmcl.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/cisgendered/

You’ll run across the terms “cisgendered” or “cissexual” from time to time. According to Donna Matthews, the term was coined in 1995 by Carl Buijs as a way of dislodging “trans*” as being equal to “abnormal.”
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )