Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is "Cisgender" Anyway?

Reaction to Breaking down the Cisystem.

“I’ve begun to wonder if anyone is cisgendered in the sense that they really do identified with their assigned gender role?” I think it’s self-selection sometimes that I hang out with a bunch of people who don’t really feel that they identify with their assigned gender role to any strong degree. But while most people respond to me telling them I’m genderqueer with “well I don’t really ‘feel’ my gender, am I GQ too?” (to which I say “I don’t know, are you?”), some respond with “but why can’t you just be proud to be a woman?”

Of course there are more than 2 reactions, but those are the most common, and it’s made me see just how being cis must feel. For some, it’s being so very comfortable in one’s own gender that they don’t even need to be aware of it. I never came close to feeling that way until I started living more authentically. It’s like when you have an itchy tag on your shirt you can’t wait to get rid of, and then when you do you quickly forget it was ever there.

For others, expressing their gender is a form of self-celebration. Love yourself! Express yourself! They tend to feel like the reason I don’t want to express the gender they think I am is because I don’t have “pride” or I’m somehow damaged by society. Again, when I did settle into a more authentic gender expression, I suddenly felt that same sense of self-celebration.

So in my experience, cis people are people who are more likely to have felt those things their entire lives, not just post-transition (or post-adjustment, or whatever you want to call it).

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