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What does it mean?

“Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.”

Oxford Dictionaries

“A person whose assigned gender is in line with their gender identity. Cis women and cis men (the Latin cis means ‘same’) live in and identify with the body in which they were born”

The Transgender Handbook

Cisgender is normally considered to be the opposite of transgender.

Cisgender is sometimes shortened to “cis”.

Defined by breaking norms

"Cisgender" is a word that describes whether people are breaking the rules - “norms” - of how people are expected to behave or describe themselves.

Words like this can:

  • make visible that it is possible to break norms
  • help explain how people are discriminated against or targeted for breaking norms
  • help explain the privilege given to people who do not break norms

However, words like this can also:

  • imply that only certain people are allowed to break norms
  • be confusing, as almost everyone breaks at least some norms
  • be confusing, as people may not know whether they break enough norms to use the term
  • hide that some people don't just experience discrimination for breaking norms, and experience gender dysphoria too
  • result in the term being used to mean “normal person” or “abnormal person”

Think carefully before using this word to describe someone or a group of people - they may not wish to be described that way.

Errors and omissions

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