Is there such a thing as cisgender?

NOTE: It seems some idiot posted a critic of my entry saying that I called women breeders and fuckholes. Apparently some people don’t understand the concept of a quote: I quote someone explaining the anti-feminist view that women are meant to be breeders and fuckholes. Learn to read, idiots.


Kay, I’ll get right on that. Do I get a slice, though?

The term “cis,” as in “cisgender,” has been recently made fashionable by trans activists to designate people who are not transgender. It is said that cisgendered people benefit from cis-privilege. Before we uncritically accept this reframing, it would behoove us to look into what the expression is supposed to mean.

Here are two definitions of cis:

A cisgender person is someone who identifies as they gender/sex they were assigned at birth. For example, your birth certificate says female, and you identify as a female woman.

an individual’s self-perception and presentation of their gender matches the behaviors and roles considered appropriate for one’s sex.

Gender and sex are two completely different things, so these definitions make no sense. There is no gender role “appropriate for one’s sex.” Gender is not “assigned at birth”; a baby doesn’t have a gender because a baby is not a social agent and does not integrate any kind of social role.

One may also consider that cisgender is the opposite of transgender, and look at the definition of that term as well:

Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.

This is extremely unhelpful, since very few people conform unambiguously to the conventional notions of what their gender is like. This would make everyone a transgender.

The precise definition for transgender remains in flux, but includes:

“Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.”

So unless you are a Barbie Doll, Women, YOU ARE TRANSGENDER.

If Everyone except a toy is in the “class” of Trans, it kind of renders the Class meaningless.

What are the behaviors and roles considered appropriate for one’s sex?

This is a serious question.

What are the behaviors and roles considered appropriate for one’s sex?

If you are a Feminist (even a Liberal Feminist or a Fun Feminist), the answer to this should be “There are no behaviors and roles considered appropriate for my sex because Females can be and do anything.”

If you are not a Feminist, your answer might be “My role as a women is to be a Wife (fuckhole) and Mother (breeder).” But, more likely than not, your answer (if you are a Woman) will still be ”There are no behaviors and roles considered appropriate for my sex because Females can be and do anything.”

Because that is true. There are no behaviors and roles considered “appropriate” for the Female sex because Females can be and do anything.

Sex does not entail any behavior or attitude. Gender does, because gender is nothing but a set of stereotypes.

Socially assigned gender roles encompass entire lives’ worth of behaviors and expectations, from cradle to grave. Most people’s identification with their “gender” assignment is not a simple Y/N. One may be aesthetically gender conforming, but at the same time, behaviorally non-conforming. Or vice versa. Or some combination of both. Most of us are not walking, talking stereotypes. It is unusual for a person to both appear and behave in unmodified identification with their assigned gender at birth. For example, a female-born person might wear pink dresses and lots of makeup, but behave in an assertive, detached, and highly intellectual manner. Or a female-born person might appear very androgynous, without any feminine adornment at all, but express herself gently, quietly, and with graceful concern for those around her. What about a female who is aggressive and competitive in her professional life, but submissive and emotional in her personal life? Who decides whether an individual is sufficiently identified with to be considered “cis”? Or sufficiently non-identified with to be “trans”? “Cis” and “trans” do not describe discrete social classes from which political analysis can be extrapolated.

Given these fatal problems, here is a somewhat more helpful definition:

Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.

So we come back to the identification issue again. That seems clear on the surface, but what does it mean that you “identify” as a female? Sex is not an issue of identification but of fact. You have a set of genitals, internal sex organs, chromosomes and levels of hormones; these are all facts, not subject to identification, and they determine sex.

Then there is the problem of the nebulous term “gender identity”:

Gender identity is defined as a personal conception of oneself as male or female (or rarely, both or neither)… For example, if a person considers himself a male and is most comfortable referring to his personal gender in masculine terms, then his gender identity is male.

Gender identity refers to a person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of, their own gender.

The gender that a person sees themselves as. This can include refusing to label oneself with a gender.

Gender identity. A subjective, but continuous and persistent, sense of ourselves as masculine or feminine.

I think it’s pretty clear here that we are talking about a personal stance. It is a “private sense” and a “personal conception.” And now we start running into problems. What does it mean for one to self-identify as a man or a woman? Obviously how we see ourselves is determined by how society constructs gender, including our assigned gender. Most people who were assigned male at birth will think of themselves as men, and most people who were assigned female at birth will think of themselves as women.

To be cisgender is to have one’s assigned gender be the same as the gender one identifies as, but the gender one identifies as is strongly influenced by one’s assigned gender. This is a rigged game.

I self-identify as a man because that’s what I’ve been taught. If I stop and think about it, I see no particular reason to call myself man or woman because such terms specifically designate a conditioning process, not anything real about myself. I do not confuse my self with the parts of my mind that are the result of conditioning. I am conditioned to be a man and to seek out man privilege, but I am not a man. To say this is simply a category error.

Now, a trans person would point out that privilege is exactly the issue here. As a (supposedly) cis person, they state that I am the beneficiary of all kinds of privileges, including:

1. Use public restrooms without fear of verbal abuse, physical intimidation, or arrest
2. Use public facilities such as gym locker rooms and store changing rooms without stares, fear, or anxiety…
5. You have the ability to walk through the world and generally blend-in, not being constantly stared or gawked at, whispered about, pointed at, or laughed at because of your gender expression.

I do not deny having these privileges. What I am denying is that it is a result of being “cis.” It is not because their gender identity is not the same as their assigned gender that trans people are targeted by violence and abuse. If I went around thinking “I am a woman” or even told people that I was a woman, they would look at me funny and maybe try to talk me out of it, but they wouldn’t harass me or beat me up for entering a men’s bathroom.

External observers cannot reliably determine whether someone considers herself “cis” or “trans;” they simply pass judgment by categorizing superficial expressions of masculinity or femininity as appropriate or inappropriate. In reality, any person who significantly defies the gender norms for their apparent sex will be subject to negative social treatment because of their non-compliance. This will occur regardless of whether the individual applies the label “trans” to herself or not. Under nearly all circumstances, stealth trans* people will be treated by society as if they were cis; and gender non-conforming cis people who do not disclaim their reproductive sex–including butch lesbians and feminine males–will be treated by society as if they were “trans.” Framing the politics of gender as a matter of self-perception rather than social perception evades the feminist political inquiry regarding why gender exists in the first place and how these gender dynamics operate, and have operated, for hundreds of years.

For further analysis of the “cisprivilege” list, see That Cisgender Privilege List, by Women of the Patriarchy.

The key is the term “gender expression.” It is actually expressing one’s gender identity in certain ways that divests one of the privileges in question, such as using the bathroom appropriate to one’s gender identity. It is that act that would get me abused and arrested, not self-identifying “as a woman.”

It’s also not as simple as saying that I am “presenting” wrong. Very few people present as 100% male or 100% female, but that obviously does not make them lose their privilege.

This contradiction was the result of defining “gender identity” as something subjective. Cathy Brennan defines trans (and has contributed to passing this definition as law in fifteen American states) as follows:

“Gender identity” means a person’s identification with the sex opposite her or his physiology or assigned sex at birth, which can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of a transsexual medical condition, or related condition, as deemed medically necessary by the American Medical Association.

So now we’re talking about actual verification. According to this definition, I am clearly not a transgender person. I am, as they say, a cisgender person. Now we can understand the prejudice against transgender people within a context of gender reassignment.

This brings an interesting question: why do some transgender people go through surgical operations to change their sex? Obviously such people are not transgender but transsexuals. Sex is not something you identify with, it’s something you’re born with; gender is what you identify with (or not, as the case may be).

Anyway, transgender people are not particularly happy with this framing, and many of them are pretty angry about it. Their position is that anyone who does not agree with trans positions is dead-set against transgender people. But this is the opposite of rational discussion. We can’t just passively accept other people’s self-identification because our self-identification is constructed by social conditioning, and there’s no more reason to trust transgender people’s evaluation of themselves than we have reason to trust anyone else’s, including my own. Falling back on one’s conditioning is always very seductive.

The trans position is that they have an “innate gender,” which is reflected in their feelings of actually being a certain gender. Here are some examples:

I did not come to the conclusion that I am a woman because I like men, jewelry, make-up, dresses and My Little Pony. I was a woman first. The jewelry, make-up, dresses and (to a lesser extent) My Little Pony are simply the means through which I express my being a woman.

It’s difficult to articulate exactly how my gender identity actually feels, at least, for the benefit of people who aren’t consciously experiencing anything like it. It’s just there. It isn’t about wanting to be traditionally feminine, or to be allowed to do things that society labels the preserve of women. It’s more abstract than that. The closest approximation I can find within the constraints of cis-normalised language is that of a sense of belonging, or of group identity, perhaps… However, it’s definitely fair to say that my gender identity influenced my response to gender roles and socialisation as I grew up. *Influenced*, not *was influenced by*.

Gender stereotyping has nothing to do with gender identity. Gender identity is our sense of self and belonging. It’s hard wired into the brain during foetal development and it cannot be changed.

There is one obvious problem with these testimonies. Gender is a set of stereotypes designed to keep one group (males) superior to the other (females). To talk about gender dissociated from the stereotypes is to talk about absolutely nothing. Saying “I was a woman first” is literally meaningless, since “woman” is a construct that consists of, amongst other things, “lik[ing] men, jewelry, make-up, dresses and My Little Pony.” Without the latter, there is still such a thing as “female,” but there is no such thing as “woman.”

Now, this is not to say that I am invalidating these people. I am not denying that they felt that way, I am only denying their interpretation of the events. Likewise, I don’t deny that Christians have very real spiritual experiences, I only deny their interpretations (e.g. that some member of the Trinity did it).

The other problem is that, regardless, there can be no such thing as innate gender. Evolution simply doesn’t work fast enough to engrave in our neuronal networks a construct that changes from century to century. In organisms with generations as long as ours, evolution operates on a scale of hundreds of thousands of years, not centuries (if we were bacteria, that’d be another story).

Another problem with innate gender is that it shields trans activists from criticism of the fact that transgender identification perpetuates gender roles. They insist that their self-identification is about innate gender, not about how well they fit gender roles. That way, they are shielded from the accusation that they are perpetuating stereotypes about women. But since there’s no such thing as innate gender, this is actually bullshit.

As a child, and even as a teenager, I’ve thought often that I should rather want to be a woman, that I was more like a woman than I was like a man. But that doesn’t make me “trans.” It is the result of living in a society where we must fulfill specific gender roles regardless of our desires on the subject. It is social conditioning.

I am more comfortable with feminine energy than masculine energy, but I don’t attribute any kind of objective existence to this distinction: it is the result of socialization patterns. The obvious solution to this is not chemicals or mutilation, but rather to deconstruct gender roles and tear them down in your own mind. The mind is by far the most important instrument of gender enforcement, not the rest of your body. Mutilating one’s body is not the solution, nourishing one’s mind is.

For a further discussion of the terrible mess people have made of sex and gender, see the entry Telephone by RANCOM!.

For more information on how trans activists are promoting the psychological repression and physical mutilation of intersex and homosexual children in the name of their sick gender fetishism, see the blog GenderTrender.

If we look at how the term “cis” is used in real life, we see that it’s used as an insult, as a way for trans advocates to set up a worldview where they are “us” and the rest of the world is “them.” The role of Satan is reserved for the radfem: trans advocates understand that their new worldview is utterly dependent on gender roles as its foundation, and that radfem are against gender roles. They have managed to convince trans people that radfem are their enemy, instead of the gender traditionalists who actually insult, assault and kill transgender people.

There is nothing wrong whatsoever with transgender people, and they are innocent in these manipulations. It’s those trans activists who promote gender roles who are the enemy. Trangender people need to take them to account for the way they attack the freedom of trans people to experience themselves in any way they wish, not the radical feminists who are fighting gender roles in order to support that freedom. Trans people, you have been sold a false bill of goods by a bunch of sociopathic power-mongers who have no compassion for you or for children.

In their relentless attacks against radical feminism, trans activists claim that the radfem ideology is essentialist. And yet it is trans theory which states that there is an “innate female gender identity” and an “innate male gender identity,” that are part of us regardless of how we’re raised or of anything else in our environment. How is that not essentialism? And what is essentialist about radfem, since radfems state that there is no “innate gender” or anything that’s “in our nature to do” as males or females?

11 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as cisgender?

  1. SFF Madman June 18, 2013 at 22:11

    Provocative, compelling, intriguing. I learn something every time I read your posts.

    • Francois Tremblay June 18, 2013 at 22:25

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I am hoping no trans activist finds this entry, or I’m gonna be in the crosshairs. But I think putting this entry out is more important.

      • SFF Madman June 18, 2013 at 22:55

        Ha! I bet not.

  2. SFF Madman June 18, 2013 at 22:58

    Oops! Your comment changed between my email and you blog. Could be an edit? In this case, the correct phrasing for my reply is, “I bet you will be.” It’s not as much fun, though.

    Anyway, I think you’re right.

    • Francois Tremblay June 18, 2013 at 23:00

      Yea, I am the compulsive editing type, on forums or in comments, although not as much on comments.

      • SFF Madman June 19, 2013 at 01:12

        Same here. Most blogs don’t have the function for guests, but I’m glad I figured out how to edit my comments on my own blog! Took me a few days.

  3. MA August 17, 2013 at 12:31

    Hi Francois! I just wanted to say that the comments you left over at the Feminist Current masculinity thread were great. What happened over there? It used to be my favorite site b/c all the commenters were on the same page (minus the occasional troll). Yet another site hijacked-even though the article wasn’t about transpeople! You should see the long lectures I got from supposed radfems on that thread, coincidently none of the MRA type comments got such long responses. When has talking about a misogynist practice meant that I must be misogynist? Some of the stuff they said was purely manipulative. Oh no bring out the fainting couch, I “triggered” someone!

    • Francois Tremblay August 17, 2013 at 13:02

      I’m afraid I have no original explanation. Compared to most radfem blogs, Feminist Current sees a huge amount of traffic, so it tends to attract more unsavory types. Trans issues also attract PC people because they’ve been linked with the LGB community. But you already know all this. :)

  4. womenofthepatriarchy February 15, 2014 at 17:39

    Reblogged this on Women of the Patriarchy.

  5. FeistyAmazon March 12, 2014 at 01:41

    Reblogged this on FeistyAmazon and commented:
    Very well written logical arguements against the Cis vs trans thing.

  6. Red flag terms. | The Prime Directive June 10, 2014 at 20:14

    […] is my entry on this subject. But furthermore: the concept of “cis” is an organized attack against […]

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