Queer? Cisgendered?

Labels, labels, labels . . .

Call some gay people “queer” and they will say you are homophobic. It used to be considered derogatory. But many younger gay people, and others in the LGBT communities, say they have reclaimed the word and use it to label everyone in those communities. They are not using it in the “gay” context; it has a whole new meaning now. Wikipedia saysQueer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, or gender-binary.”

So, what if you are an older gay man or woman and your don’t want someone to call you “queer”?

Answer: Tough luck. Many people bent on using the term will call you “queer” anyway.

Ditto for the word “cisgender,” a relatively new term used by some to describe people who are happy with their birth sex. In other words, you were born as a man and live as a man, you are a cisgendered male, or a cissexual, or a cis male. The reverse for a female.

I was chewed out recently by a transgender advocate because I used the term “natal female” to describe a woman; I had to differentiate between a gender-transitioned woman and a born-woman in my article.

The trans person said I should have used “cisgender woman.” When I pointed out that a lot of women — and men — don’t like the “cisgender” label and don’t want to be labelled thus, she told me that women who won’t accept the term are all transphobic radical feminists, or TERFS.

I told her that she really can’t generalize about these things, that lots of women who support trans people don’t like the label, but she would have none of it. She would continue to label natal women as cisgendered whether they like it or not.

I don’t work that way. I respect an individual’s preference.

How about you? What do you think of the two labels?

— Jillian

10 thoughts on “Queer? Cisgendered?

  1. This simply illustrates that intolerance goes both ways. I perceive, and correct me if I am wrong, but the person is using ‘cisgender’ as a derogatory inference. The person’s further use of TERF, definitely in a negative manner is as insulting and demaning as a white racist using the “N” word when referring to people of African ancestry.
    Further, it is comparmentalizing people instead of finding common ground. I admire advocates for their strong belief in their cause. However,, often the rhetoric they use is often counterproductive.


    1. Hi, Jasper,
      They are not using the term “cisgendered” in a derogatory sense, only to differentiate between a natal woman and a transgender woman. However, TERF means “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” who are noted for their hatred and transphobia when it comes to trans people. Some of them conduct gruesome online campaigns against trans people.


      1. Some trans-activists do use the the term cis in a derogatory manner. That’s not the intent of the label as all it means is not trans. Like it or not, labels can and have been used to dehumanize people and make them easier to hate. I find it sad the people find the need to do this but they do.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Something to be noted; the vast majority of folks in the world haven’t a clue about all the various terms and differences between those who are not what would be considered ‘straight’, though that term is probably outdated also.

    Actually, no one cares. Most are still trying to figure out whether ‘Afro-American’ or ‘African American’ or ‘Black’ is the proper term to use. Queer, gay, trans, (cisgender? Never heard that before but Oxford says it means normal sexual orientation) etc folks are ‘way down the list of topics of interest!

    Most people are still trying to get used to the idea that anything other than a straight couple should be considered as ‘normal’. This infighting among those of different orientations is best kept ‘in house’ until some sort of consensus is achieved. Y’all have come a long way, and confusing the majority of the population with this bickering is not going to add to credibility.

    This opinion comes from a straight couple who, thanks in part to Jillian’s postings plus some interesting family and friend associations, have looked further into the subject than most people would in order to learn about it. Most folks don’t and won’t.

    A group which is obviously out of the mainstream might wish to get its act in order and present a unified front in order to present a clear picture of just who is who, and how it all works before expecting an ignorant (check Oxford for that term) public to understand them, let alone accept them.

    Damn! Sounds a lot like social nudism! We are also failing miserably to get the message across to those who do not partake of nor understand it!

    At least non-traditional sexually/gender oriented folks have some legal status now; that’s more than nudists/naturists can say. We’re still unacceptable scum to most.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a trans woman from the Netherlands and am not interested in using the right labels or infighting. My struggle is how LGBT people can be accepted by the vast majority of (seemingly) heterosexual and in the binary man/woman fitting people. Thank you for your critical remarks! I identify as a lesbian feminist, but do not care about TERFS etc. They are so marginal…


  4. I had to chuckle. Many times while reading a younger person’s blog I have to use an online dictionary to figure out what the heck they are talking about. I never heard of ‘cis gendered’ until a several months ago. . . Cheers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s