The True Meaning of the Word 'Cisgender'
It's not complicated: Cisgender is the opposite of transgender.
Let’s get one thing straight:
The Oxford English Dictionary describes the word “cisgender” as an adjective and defines it as “Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.”
Beginning a feature with the “dictionary definition” of a subject goes against every lesson drilled into a prospective journalist’s head in J-school, but in this instance, it’s necessary. Because alongside the stratospheric rise in media visibility for transgender people comes the all-too-predictable pushback from those who are uncomfortable with change or those who claim the term is yet another unnecessary label that only serves to divide us, spotlighting our differences.
With such phenomena as angry hashtags on the fringes of social media proclaiming #DieCisScum and passionate op-eds defiantly declaring “I Am NOT Cisgendered,” the cisgender population seems to be having an identity crisis. Perhaps that’s because for many of us, “cisgender” is a new identity, a new label, that many people may not have even realized has applied to our lived experience all along.