The most important reason why we need the word “cis” in our lexicon is because it tells the thousands of young trans people out there right now who are struggling with their sense of identity, some of whom do not even realise yet that that is what they are doing, that there is something that you can be that is not what you were told you could be.
I did not know the word “cis” when I was 8 years old, imitating the handwriting of the girls in my class. I did not possess this language when I was 15, and attempting to put on makeup in secret without the guidance of my mother or my aunts, and copying the clothing styles of the girls in my high school. I did not have this language when I was 24, with hair down to my waist, wearing my girlfriend’s clothes to work. I did not have this language at 33 years old, before I proposed to my wife, or at 37, when we decided to have a child before we got any older.
I didn’t even know this language at 40, when I finally understood that the days of my life were not going to be many more in number if I did not attempt to find out if the feelings I had been feeling all my life would lead me to a better life.
But I certainly knew the word “transsexual”. I knew the words, “Renée Richards” and “Wendy Carlos”. I knew the word “freak”. I knew the word “mutilation”. I knew the words “liver damage”. I knew the words “shorter life span”. I knew the words “no children”. I knew the word “faggot”.
We need the word “cis”, because those children need to know that their choices aren’t limited, not anymore. Those children need to know that the alternative to “man” isn’t “freak” and the alternative to “woman” isn’t “abomination”. Those children need to know that “abnormal” means “statisically fewer in number”, not “unnatural”.
We need the word “cis”, because all the children of this Earth need to know that “cis” is just one thing you can be, and not what you necessarily are.
— Gemma Seymour, 6 March 2013