Word of the moment: “cis-“

cis- Look up cis- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning “on the near side of, on this side,” from Latin preposition cis “on this side” (in reference to place or time), related to citra (adv.) “on this side,” from PIE *ki-s, from root *ko- “this” (cognates: Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis, Hittite ki “this,” Old English hider, Gothic hidre “hither;” see he). Opposed to trans- or ultra-. Originally only of place, sometimes 19c. of time; 21c. of life situations (such as cis-gender, by 2011).

Cisgender has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis-, meaning “on this side of,” which is an antonym for the Latin-derived prefix trans-, meaning “across from” or “on the other side of”. This usage can be seen in the cis-trans distinction in chemistry, the cis-trans or complementation test in genetics, in Ciscaucasia (from the Russian perspective) and in the ancient Roman term Cisalpine Gaul (i.e., “Gaul on this side of the Alps”). In the case of gender, cis- is used to refer to the alignment of gender identity with assigned sex.

One of these days I’m going to either write or do a video that undoes the blurred lines of Feminist language.

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20 thoughts on “Word of the moment: “cis-“

  1. Tarnished says:

    Is using the term cis/cisgender “bad” then?
    I just find it a lot easier to write it than “people who are the same gender and sex”.

    • Francis Roy says:

      No word is “bad” on it’s own. First, this is merely a definition. I tend to research words a lot, to see if they have an actual connection to reality. I can understand that this can be a practical term on it’s own. You are not cis-gendered, I am. But great–now that we know that, so what? I’m bald, you probably aren’t. And?

      The French Feminist literary influence has given Feminism a strong tool: that of playing with language, by creating and modifying terms to push a political agenda. Unfortunately, the term “cis-gendered” is more of a specialized psychological term than anything else. But there’s a distinction between identifying a sub-component of an individual’s make up, and using this distinction, especially when chained with other distinctions to denigrate a group of people.

      The issue that I have with such terms is not that they are coined, but how they are used. “cis-gendered” has risen in the ranks of derogation to accompany “male”, “white” and “heterosexual” as yet another representative of so-called oppression. Rather than being a mere observation, it has become a weaponized label.

      But again, this is merely a Word of the Moment, not commentary. This comment is commentary :)

      • Tarnished says:

        Ah, I see. Yes, I see this a lot in the non-cis community on tumblr and Facebook especially, though some blogs have it too. There’s now a derogatory term for people who are content being the same sex/gender: cis-scum, or sometimes cisscum. I see hate speech against cis people too, statements like;

        “I wish all cis people could be identified so we could keep away from them”

        “you think you’re cis friends care about you? wrong, they actually laugh behind your back”

        “there is no way that a trans/dysphoric person can adequately communicate their pain to someone who is cis…it’s just too high a level of privilege”

        “all cis people should just die already. it’s not like they’re needed anymore.”

        And it gets worse. If you ever want to lose more faith in humanity, google “tumblr in action”. It’s a reddit site that finds all the crazy stuff that social justice warriors say online. Gods, some of it is just…wow. I’m actually saddened that people live their lives feeling so attacked and underprivileged every day. It boggles my mind.

        You and I already spoke at length about this cis VS non-cis thing on another post of yours, so you know where I stand. Much like how I reject feminism because it necessarily makes me a “victim of patriarchy” because vagina, I likewise reject a lot of the trans/dysphoric community because it necessarily makes us all out to be victims of “cis privilege”. While I’d never downplay someone else’s experiences if they were legitimately attacked (as some women and trans are), I don’t see these occurrences as evidence of Patriarchy/Cis Privilege…I see them as the rare actions of fearful or hateful bigots, which encompasses a very small amount of men/cis-gendered folk.

        The deeper I get into these topics, the more I see people of every kind who seem happy to take on a mantle of pure victimhood. This is dangerous for a multitude of reasons, but mostly I think it leads to the ideology that it’s perfectly acceptable to blame “the other”: Women, men, cis, trans, white, minority, disabled, abled, homosexual, heterosexual…the list just goes on. And once you get to the point where All ***** Are Like That, you begin to lose your empathy for the issues of that part of society. You deny that ***** people can even have problems, because you see them as so utterly privileged that you subconsciously elevate them far above their actual station in life.

        Just what we need…more things to separate us as a common people.

      • Francis Roy says:

        “And once you get to the point where All ***** Are Like That, you begin to lose your empathy for the issues of that part of society.”

        That’s exactly what bigotry is. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, or who it’s directed to, it’s sand in society’s gears. Wish I had a power-hose to clean them off, the best I have at the moment are imprecise tweezers.

      • Tarnished says:

        True, but if enough of us have tweezers, we should at least be able to make a dent, eh?

      • Francis Roy says:

        That’s my hope.

    • Francis Roy says:

      Is using the term cis/cisgender “bad” then?

      I wanted to go over this with the benefit of some cogitation. One of the issues that I have with Feminism is that it promotes bad ideas, and it does so with an Orwellian camouflage. Even before I learned to think critically, I’ve always been attentive to language. Feminism is a fairy tale, seen though a deliberately distorted mirror. I believe that one of the best tools that I personally have is to clarify terms to simple non-jargony reality. I believe that once I’ve been able to strip Feminism language of it’s veneer of pseudo-equality and chain the simple ideas together in a clear and articulate manner, to expose it for what it is in the simplest of terms, a good part of the fight will be over. Essentially, I am decloaking the snipers and exposing them to the world. At that point, I believe that common sense will be able to prevail. That having been done, I believe that we might have a good chance at clearly and publicly separating raw bigotry from common sense. Right now, I’m going back though the chain of ideas, to see the fundamentals of how current Feminist ideology is constructed, putting it together in a timeline that people can use to trace arguments back to the original roots, but that is one of those side-projects that is built very slowly over time and study.

      This is an example of the kind of language that I’m talking about. “I’m a bigot, but it’s your fault because you’re a nigger.”

      • Tarnished says:

        You are probably the only person I know who can use D&D alignments to describe the issues present in bigoted ideologies and do so in a valid, serious manner. :)

        I’m not as optimistic as you, unfortunately. Common sense would only prevail in circumstances where people are rational…or at least able to acknowledge differing points of view as equally valid to their own (within moral reason). I’m afraid I just don’t see this in the majority of the population. Even in the face of the evidence of say, evolution, we still have young earth creationists. Given something like this, how can you hope to convince everyone of the need for equality, when it may not suit their lifestyles or beliefs?

      • Francis Roy says:

        “D&D alignments”

        Clarification? I assume you’re referring to Dungeons and Dragons? I’ve never played it.

      • Tarnished says:

        Sorry. The little image you included was a description of “Lawful Evil”, which is one of 9 alignment types in Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs. As it read very much like the description for LE from the 3.5 edition of D&D, I assumed that you got it from there…or at least some d20 RPG sourcebook.

        Now I’m curious where you *did* get it from…lol.

      • Francis Roy says:

        Ah, that was a quote from a HuffPo blogger. The term’s use is her own, not mine.

      • Tarnished says:

        Well, then it would seem she is a gamer. Or channeling Gary Gygax. One of the two…

  2. Marissa says:

    I understand the consolidation of trans issues with feminism, but is anti-feminism typically anti-trans? Or is it just anti-certain labels? The origins of these terms makes sense to me, both with and without leaving room for the amorphous nature of the english language. I’m very interested in the blurred lines you see, and what implications that carries.

  3. Marissa says:

    Oh, hm. I may have misinterpreted your stance based on your commentary, then.

    • Francis Roy says:

      Just to clarify: I have no problem with a specialized term, any more than I would a specific engineering, medical, psychological (etc). term. What I take issue with is that I have never heard it used in any sense other than as derogatory. Perhaps the term might be used in an off-handed way, in say, a support group, or literature dealing with gender issues, a context in which it would make sense. An example of this is my previous comment with Tarnished.

      The point of the post itself is merely to put the definition up, both for my own use, as well as to introduce the term to those who may not be familiar with it.

      The comment below it was a bit hazy in hind-sight. Cis- is a term that is used mostly by gender ideologues in public discourse as just one more “score” point used to support the notions of Privilege, Patriarchy and the victim class. I have no problem addressing the fact that some people don’t feel like what they look like; we all are who we are. I do have a problem with the way that Feminists co-opt terms and causes to serve a moneyed political agenda much as the (fictional) Borg assimilate and pervert individuals, hence my comment.

      I hope this was a bit clearer.

      • Marissa says:

        Much clearer, thank you!

        As sometimes-useful as I think the ol’ Privilege Calculator can be in select circumstances, it’d be really nice if it was given a break every so often. I’m sure we’ve both found it to disrupt intelligent conversation more often than it cultivates it. There are better, less aggravating ways to ask someone to see things from a different perspective, to be sure.

        It’s also interesting to me that you apply this to radical feminism, because radfems as I’m familiar with them tend to become TERFs.

      • Francis Roy says:

        “Privilege Calculator” what a great expression!


        /me does a bit of homework…


        Acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. That group of feminists that claims that trans women aren’t really women, as biological determinism is only a fallacy when used against them, not when they use it against others.

        Got it.

        And now I’m meme-inspired, thankyouverymuch.

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