Cis Fragility

[Image description: Macro shot of snowflake (color altered to cyan) on wool (pink and deep purple)]

This article was rejected by the trans publication which commissioned it because it’s “too alienating for cis people”. The irony of coddling a cis audience by protecting them from an antagonistic piece on cis fragility, in a publication which alleges to be focused on trans experiences, is not lost on me.

To be perfectly clear: I am not interested in toning down my writing to make it palatable for cis readers. I don’t write for cis people.


Cis people exist in a social environment which validates their genders and reinforces a gender binary which corresponds to their lived experiences, giving them relative privilege to trans people. Cis people therefore have a low tolerance for that which challenges their gender identities and their conceptions of gender more broadly. Cis fragility (drawing on white fragility in critical race theory) is rooted in a desire to restore and reproduce cisnormativity. It is a combination of lack of stamina in interrogating their conceptualizations of gender, as well as a resistance to challenging those conceptions.

The very idea of trans people challenges the cisnormative notion of gender: gender is not easily defined by genitals or a falsely dimorphic understanding of “biology”. Non-binary trans people further challenge cisnormativity simply by existing and refusing to define their genders in cisnormative terms.

 

When cis people encounter challenges to their conception of a binary gender, they often react with defensiveness, forcing trans people to do the emotional labor of comforting the cis person in addition to educating them and explaining basic concepts about gender or divulging personal experience to satiate cis curiosity and confusion. This derails conversations about trans experiences with oppression and devolves them into assuages of cis guilt and potential violence. The too-familiar “I’m sorry I misgendered you, singular ‘they’ is hard for me”, centers cis difficulty in remembering a new name or pronoun over the discomfort and disrespect toward the trans person they misgendered. This is an attempt to redirect social resources (time, attention, emotional labor), prioritizing cisness over transness.

Cis fragility is so delicate that cis people seek to reaffirm their genders in every step of their lives: everything from clothing to beverages to occupations are gender coded. This serves the interests not only of cisnormativity, but patriarchy and heteronormativity in an extremely boring but ubiquitous triple threat. Cis gender expressions are not named such: women wear feminine clothing, men perform masculinity, and these behaviors go unnoticed and unexamined until there is deviance from them, as though these norms are “natural” rather than dynamic and constantly redefined and reproduced.

Trans identities are not afforded the level of complexity that cis ones are assumed to have. Trans people are presumed to be constantly shaped and defined by their transness as though it is the primary, if not singular, aspect of their selves; but cis people are just people. Because they occupy an identity of “normalcy” it is not considered an identity at all, and they presume that they have an objective perspective on gender uncolored by their own experiences of it.

Trans people are also expected to be “ambassadors” of transness. Cis people feel entitled to trans people’s time in educating them and indulging their invasive questioning without considering that the trans person they’re interrogating might not have an academic interest in gender. Trans people are presumed to know all about all things trans and to accurately represent all other trans people, which is both impossible and exhausting. While trans people experience transphobia and cissexism on a regular basis, they may not have the vocabulary or framework to analyze their experiences at the systemic level. This contributes to creating or leaning on existing hierarchies of palatable transness fit for anti-critical cis consumption in order to survive an interaction unscathed, even if it means sacrificing other, “more deviant” expressions of transness to do so.

cis tears
[Image description: author smiling a toothy grin, about to drink from a mug labelled “CIS TEARS”] — Part of a balanced breakfast
Cis people who pride themselves on being “progressive” might learn correct terms and make efforts to use the right pronouns, but will still be unlikely to confront cissexism and transphobia as it manifests in their lives. They will congratulate themselves for asking the pronouns of a “visibly” non-binary person (whatever that means), but refuse to examine why their gender identity needed clarification when those of the apparently-cis people around them didn’t. Or perhaps they’ll never assume anyone’s pronouns, but they also won’t intervene in street harassment and violence directed at gender non-conforming femmes. Privilege deflects the responsibility of accountability. There is no neutrality in issues of oppression, only complacency and antagonism.

The burden of interrupting cissexism and transphobia belongs with cis people, but trans people have already proven that we are more than capable of disrupting the power structures which oppress us whether cis people are interested in helping or not. There is power in challenging cis fragility. There is power in protesting cisnormativity by refusing to center cis experiences or use cis frames of reference. There is also power in survival, which is often opposed to confronting cisnormativity. Transness is antagonistic by nature; it is enough just to be.

58 comments

  1. are there no nuances in your world? your gross generalities show a dichotomous world where all cis people bully all trans people. maybe dealing with your own alienating style would produce some different results.

    1. Look everyone, actual cis tears!

      “Not all cis people!” — classic derailing technique to avoid engaging with the argument.

      “Maybe you wouldn’t be bullied (or harassed, or murdered, or worse yet, written about in generalizations) if you weren’t so *alienating* when you complain about systemic oppression!” — a winning combo of victim-blaming and respectability politics.

      1. Look everyone, actual trans tears (not that I would actually say this seriously because, you know, I generally don’t like to make broad generalisations about a group I’m not even a part of)!

        To say that “Not all cis people!” is a derailing technique is, in fact, a derailing technique. The problem doesn’t lie with cis people – it lies with ignorant cis people: how are they supposed to be sensible about genders and pronouns when they don’t even know anything about transgender and non-binary people? You’re essentially attacking people for being cis and living in a very cisnormative environment. They do not consciously find confirmation of their cisnormativity in their environment, because they are not aware there is anything that really goes against cisnormativity – for them, their environment has always been like that and it has always been the “norm”. As painful as it might be for transgender and non-binary people, the concept of cisnormativity has to be explained to cis people; otherwise you’re just attacking them for the sake of existing. And, as it might shock you, cis people who are aware of these issues actually spend time to explain them to ignorant cis people – gasp! The fact that it is indeed not all cis people who act in this oppressing way is actually one of the essential points – and saying that it doesn’t matter just hinders any improvement.

        However I agree that the second quote is ridiculous and terribly phrased – I wouldn’t ever dare say that this “alienation” of cis people (if it is even one) is comparable in any way to what transgender and non-binary people have to go through. But once again, it highlights an important point (not that I condone the original message): accusing cis people of consciously perpetuating cisnormativity is silly as long the wider public is not taught how this system of oppression works. No, it isn’t the case right now – all trans celebrities (not that there’s that many) are more defined by their celebrity status than their gender (or lack thereof), as they constantly behave in a cisnormative environment where they perpetuate the tropes – just like the gay trope used to originally. For cis people to more largely act on the issue of cisnormativity, they do need to be properly aware that the issue actually exists.

          1. I appreciate the fact that you’re taking so little space to demonstrate trans bullying. Well done!

      2. Morgan Potts, Do you know michelle fd is cis, like for sure? cause I notice people who are trans and/or queer often assume that people who disagree with us aren’t from our community. Also, I’m trans myself so I’m not here on some anti-trans conquest.

        Your article is interesting I agree that we shouldn’t have to educate the cis majority, but we do have to. Even my incredibly supportive family told me politely the other day that changing over to my new name and pronouns wasn’t easy, but they did it cause we’re family. You’re point about being the ambassador of transness is on point.
        The long term solution is schools and universities teaching this stuff in a maistream way, and/or public education. That’s totally possible and would require a lot of cis ally’s effort, which is good.

      3. Big talk from a CAFAB who leverages an identity that’s coerced to talk down to the cis*-identified, knowing how many queer trans women are still stuck there. But I guess caring for the most-marginalized isn’t really on your to-do list.

    2. I’m pretty sure this article doesn’t say “all cis people” do that to “all trans people” at any point, it’s sad that that was all you got from this

  2. Hi!

    I actually thought the article was pretty spot on. I am the mom of a transgender young adult.

    I would answer michelle fd with this sentence:

    “When cis people encounter challenges to their conception of a binary gender, they often react with defensiveness, forcing trans people to do the emotional labor of comforting the cis person in addition to educating them and explaining basic concepts about gender or divulging personal experience to satiate cis curiosity and confusion. ”

    Emphasize “often react.” That is not “always react.” So that is within the article.

    Unexamined privilege does deflect accountability and responsibility and participation in oppressive structures.

  3. Hello Morgan,

    Michelle could’ve put it better, but her idea is valid. There is a glaring discrepancy with your arbitrary use of generalizations.
    “[…] without considering that the trans person they’re interrogating might not have an academic interest in gender.” Agreed, one single trans person should not be held accountable to speak for an entire population- then why exactly should the ignorance of a cis person be on the shoulders of an entire population? Because privilege?
    You can play off the “not all cis” notion, claiming it to not be focusing on the argument, but that’s so far from the truth. I’m all for your tongue-in-cheek remarks, but in this scenario it just shows a bit of contempt and further advances the “Team A vs Team B” rhetoric. A divisive rhetoric.

    Do you know how powerful a movement is when it consists of the individuals being represented as well as the individuals who aren’t being represented? It is a beautiful scene during manifestations of LGBT rights where heterosexuals participate as well- or protests against racism where a plethora of ethnicities participate. The whole scenario goes from Red vs Blue, Black vs White, to a fight that shows society that this is a cause for humanity, not a war.

    To clarify and conclude, I’ve grown weary of the divisive rhetoric used to shut down any cisgendered person, even those whose who are not simply complacent with it all, but instead fight just as hard to further the recognition the idea that anyone can identify themselves as they please. So yeah, fill up that cup of yours, but know that those tears were shed fighting for the same cause you fight for.

    All the best

    1. Pointing out privilege and systemic power imbalances is not “divisive”. The “we’re all human fighting for the same cause” argument erases these power imbalances and creates false equivalence of experience, and completely ignores that many cis people are actively causing harm to trans people.

      There is no “ignorance of a single cis person”—our entire society is structured around ignorance of gender which punishes every trans person (to varying degrees), so yes, this falls on the shoulders of every cis person to remedy. The cis people who are working for trans liberation don’t get cookies for having a base-level of moral decency.

      Until then I’ll continue shutting down cis ignorance whether that’s comfortable for them/you or not.

  4. I’m the cis gramma of a transgender child. I’ve learned a lot from him about how to behave, and indirectly, about how ingrained normativity is. It’s an eyeopener for me, a feminist who rails against hypermasculinity in our culture but until my grandson came out to me, was unaware of my sins in the same vein regarding gender identity.

    Michelle, it’s tempting to react as you did when a transgender person tells you, ‘you’re doing this’. IMO that’s a manifestation of the urge to cling to what you know, instead of acknowledging that there are different ways of being in the world that have just as much value and weight as yours. Terri above referred to it as ‘unexamined privilege’; that’s worth thinking over and considering how it might apply to your response.

  5. So, and I ask this with complete sincerity, should I not ask questions on this thread because it forces someone to educate or are questions appropriate because the author has identified themselves as a trans activist therefore having the framework and vocabulary to explain? Usually I try to understand people who are different than I am through asking questions. However, I don’t want to cause discomfort.

  6. Going the Joker route:we kill all cis people. That’s the vibe I get from your article and this is coming from a trans* woman

  7. Duhbuul Theink, I am a trans person, and I hear you. It is a travesty that you have “grown weary of the divisive rhetoric used to shut down any cisgendered person”, and if there is any way to console your feelings of weariness, that should really take priority.

  8. I am a cis woman with a gender queer partner. Even among the trans community, she faces condescension, femme shaming, and hate on a regular basis. I would do absolutely anything to stand by her and protect her (or any other trans person, for that matter), including putting myself in harm’s way… And I have. While I understand where you are coming from (as much as any cis person can, anyway) and I appreciate how the difficulties a trans person faces everyday can lead to bitterness, assuming that all cis people are hateful bigots, or blind and entitled, or at least self-congratulating and insincere, is just as unhelpful and unfair an attitude as the cis people who really do fit that mold. There are cis people out there who strive against hate, who have no use for gender labels and exclusionary binaries, and who honestly do all they can to support the rights of trans people. Getting so caught up in all the hate and ignorance being slung around that you, too, start slinging ignorance does nothing to solve the problem.

    1. Can we start Fragility Bingo in these comments already- so far we have a “not all cis people,” a “can’t we all just get along” and a “I have a _____ friend/partner/kid”?

      If someone could chime in requesting to be educated by the trans community, I may have a winning ticket.

    2. If you believe you’re a cis person who is doing everything right: congratulations! this article is not about you. Morgan makes lots of valid points about people’s assumptions and about how tough it is to consistently have to challenge and educate people. It’s exhausting, and it shouldn’t be like that. At no point is he saying or implying that all cis people are bigots. Not sure where you’re getting that from.

  9. Can we NOT with the #notallcispeople? Lived experience, statistics, and visible representation all testify to these structural issues that the majority, AS A GROUP, inflicts on the marginalized. Stop centering. Check your defensiveness at the door. If it doesn’t apply to you, then give yourself a quiet asspat – but ffs, this is not the space for cis people to be taking up space.

    1. No it isn’t, any more than trans is. It’s just the linguistic opposite of trans.

      It was an established prefix (meaning “on this side of” or “on the near side of”, just as the trans- prefix in language means “across” or “on the far side of”) used in a number of words well before it ever began being used by the trans community.

      There is nothing negative or insulting about it.

  10. I have HAD IT with the white trans co-opting of blackness. White trans people have nothing in common with the lived experiences and culture of black trans women. Stop using black trans women and the black experience as a way for you to prop up your arguments. Y’all love to say “:WE are getting murdered!” There is no WE in this. Black trans women are being murdered. Meanwhile white, liberal, middle class women transitioning at 50 are not.

    1. Thank you for raising this—I alluded to but didn’t explicitly say that “more deviant” expressions of transness are those which aren’t white, able-bodied, skinny, transmasculine-androgynous, wealthy enough to afford tailored menswear, and conventionally attractive, and that deviance is punished with violence. There is no monolithic trans experience and the transphobia we face is informed by our other identities, and our oppressors’ perceptions of our identities: oppressions (and privileges) are intersectional (thanks, Kimberlé Crenshaw).

      All trans people face violence—at least the violence of stigma and erasure—but you’re right, we’re not all targeted for murder.

    2. Well, I’m glad you at least specified upper middle class white trans women in their 50s, because plenty of white trans women are lower middle class to poor and DO get targeted by violence and murder. Do we face racism? Of course not, we’re white in America, but we still get transmysoginy, hate, violence, rape and death. No, we’re not all targeted for murder, just most of us.

      Like Morgan said in their response to you, “There is no monolithic trans experience and the transphobia we face is informed by our other identities, and our oppressors’ perceptions of our identities: oppressions (and privileges) are intersectional”.

      And “we have nothing in common with our lived in experiences”? So, two transwoman, one black one white, who have experienced death threats, exclusion, hate and violence have no relateable experiences?

  11. #notallcispeople

    Lol. I didn’t see the ‘all cis people are ignorant and must die’ sentence so you must have edited your post a lot

    A nice article. I think a lot of the reaction to this is undoubtedly discomfort at being asked to challenge preexisting biases in thought that otherwise well meaning people did not realise were there. It’s inevitable really, and very common.

    I think the point is good, its very academic and makes people think. If cis people are to have real empathy with trans people, they should know the sheer discomfort that we have with how people treat our gender identity on a daily basis. We have it questioned daily online, and they’ve never, ever experienced it.

    It’s not too pleasant is it?

    And no, the vast majority of my friends are cis, I really don’t hate cis people. But in order for the trans community to move forward and be integrated effectively into society gender norms and assumptions need to be challenged and thinking about them deeply, seeing the discomfort of others, is one way to do so.

  12. As a cis-gendered woman with a trans-identified spouse, and a brother in the process of coming out, I wish that cis people could read this article and instead of allowing that feeling of defensiveness to bubble up, turn it around and say “I realize that these words aren’t always aimed at me exactly, but I’m imperfect and can always strive to do better” and take the words to heart. Perhaps, as an ally, you don’t do many of the things mentioned in the post, but living in the binary society we live in, few can avoid the gender traps 100% of the time. A #notallcispeople kind of response is unhelpful, and, in my opinion, ingenuine.. Can you do better every day? Do you want to help create a world where your trans and genderqueer loved ones feel safe and ARE literally safe? Then STFU and listen and absorb and sleep on it and come to terms with the disparity between the “ally” label you’re so very proud of, and your actual contribution to the status quo.

  13. ALL oppressive groups are fragile! BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT REAL!!!! And, yes, when oppressed people speak their experiences of oppression, those privileged, fragile folk just TREMBLE. Take heart! It means we’re doing it RIGHT!

  14. Seeing the divide between my trans girlfriend and her parents really proves this point of cis fragility and I think it is an important critical way to look at things. I have heard too many stories of the defensiveness you talk about, I definitely think that cis people alienated trans and genderqueer people. The notion that this article is too alienating for cis people is turning the tables, where trans and gender queer people are almost always seen as ‘the other’. This article should not be ‘harmul’ or ‘offensive’ to anyone, take a deep breath and use this ‘cis fragility’ lens to criticise yourself
    Thank you for writing and publishing this (also I love the coffee cup)

  15. “Cis people who pride themselves on being “progressive” might learn correct terms and make efforts to use the right pronouns, but will still be unlikely to confront cissexism and transphobia as it manifests in their lives.”
    I’m a “cis” woman– I’m not trans but I reject the notion of gender entirely, I don’t ~identify with my assigned gender– who often presents very gender non-conforming and also behaves that way. Did I not experience (possibly misdirected) transphobia when some asshole straight couple on the metro yelled: ‘What is THAT? Is it a man or a woman?’ at me, when an angry woman tried to draw my attention to the sign on the bathroom door, when I’m stared down on the street?
    This happens allllll the damn time to people who are gnc, but aren’t trans. Cis/trans are not polar opposites.

    1. Thank you for highlighting the key point that transphobic violence is directed at people perceived to be trans, and not necessarily people who are trans because transness is not a “look” or something which can be seen. The distinction between gender identity and gender expression is apparently too nuanced for transphobes, who would have guessed?

  16. As a cis person, I would be a shitty ally if I didn’t respect your right to name me as an oppressor, just because I didn’t ask for my privilege.

    This is an excellent piece, well-written and very important. (I love your naming of cisnormativity, patriarchy and heteronormativity as “an extremely boring but ubiquitous triple threat” – nailed it.) Thank you.

  17. Loved the article, cis people in general are fragile and uneducated on gender identification. I’ve been mis-gendered more time even in the LGB events oh I guess they for got the TQQA oh well we don’t exist apperantly. ..

  18. Thanks so much for this great article. I was just wondering if you could answer a few questions?
    Do you think it’s a good idea to ask everyone for their pronouns? Or to instead to automatically
    use neutral pronouns unless corrected? Do you think it is ever okay to use a gendered pronoun without explicitly asking if that is the right one to use?
    More broadly: what kind of behavior on the part of cis people do you find respectful? Or… Maybe behaving according to cisgender stereotypes is always an exclusionary and disrespectful thing?
    (I did note that you don’t write for cis gender people and these questions come from quite a cis gendered perspective so I apologize for that)

    1. Best practice is to give your pronouns when you introduce yourself (“Hi, I’m Morgan and I go by ‘he'”). This gives people the opportunity to tell you theirs, or to ask about why you’re giving them that information, but it doesn’t put trans people (who might not be out) in the position where they have to either out themselves or lie.

      You should never assume anyone’s gender identity, but you can use cues from their gender expression (chosen things like clothes, not voice/body shape) to make an educated guess about their pronouns, but I think it’s generally fine to use “they” for everyone until you’re informed otherwise by them or someone who knows. Similarly, if I’m introduced to someone who my friend called “Kate” but they introduce themselves as “Katherine” (for example), I always ask which they prefer. It’s good to practice giving people the opportunity to tell you how they like to be addressed.

      Pronouns are well and good, but the most important thing you can do as a cis ally is to call out transphobia and cissexism when you see it, which is all the time if you’re paying attention. Don’t out trans people you know unless they’ve explicitly said it’s ok. Amplify the voices of trans people, especially trans women and femmes. Intervene if you see transphobic harassment on the street. I could write a whole post for “cis allies” but these are the key points.

  19. Trans people are hypocrites and there is no proper standard to use because everything in the trans world is imaginary yet treated like fact.

    Take for example male to female trans, now it’s quite important for them to always point out how just because they are born with male genetics and physically they are the same as their cis male counterparts (trans studies have yet to reveal any genetic or likewise differences between trans and cis males and females, the only difference being one tells you they “feel” in their brain they are the opposite gender), this lack of any difference doesn’t matter, because again, they “feel” they are the opposite gender in their brain. And so they feel they need to dress and act in the other gender standards, but wait hold on, aren’t these the standards established by cis gendered people? Why yes… Yes they are.

    Just look at Caitlyn Jenner, she had to doll herself up just like one of the Kardashians because that’s what cis women look like. So thanks to her super hypocritical actions, the next Bruce Jenner of the world won’t feel like she is herald unless she also undergoes a radical physical transformation to look like a cis woman. Great logic in your community, can’t see why it’s a struggle.

    I mean, it’s not like there are also female to male trans people right? Female genetically and physically the same to cis women, but feel male in their brain?

    Wait there is? So your saying that trans people learn how to be comfortable with being either male or female? Yet can’t begin to describe to you the horrors of having to be comfortable in the wrong gender? But there is no wrong gender since trans go both ways?

    So just to be clear, a person who looks like a cis male might not be a cis male because they are a trans woman in their mind and if I call them by male pronouns that is offensive because I should not conform to cis gender standards of appearance because this trans person doesn’t feel comfortable with being labeled by cis gender appearance terms while always maintaining the steadfast goal of acheiveing the physical cis gender appearance of a woman.

    1. You lack of grasp on gender is astounding.

      Not all people are “either” men or women.
      Some trans people assimilate cisnormativity to cope and survive.
      Stop wasting my time and dragging the conversation into the mud.

  20. I do not know a single non-trans woman or man who fully embodies the characteristics prescribed to their sex (aka gender). There is no such thing as ‘cis’.

  21. Cis is always a slur, implying “scum,” as your hostile, misogynist article and replies amply demonstrate. Women are 51-52% of people on earth; we need NO modifiers. The idea of ladybrain, on which trans ideology depends, is anti-feminist nonsense, Cis ERASES lesbians+gay men+also argues that it can be a privilege to be a certain kind of woman. ALL women are oppressed, jackass. Femininity is a caste/class into which women are socialized to make it easier for men to dominate us. Gender is NOT “complementary” as many trans activists like to argue, but a HIERARCHY, with rich white men and their allies at the top and all the rest of us disadvantaged, especially women. Trans — especially “transwomen” — are NOT the most oppressed ppl on earth, either in quantity of oppression (you’re 0.2-0.3%, ffs) or quality (if you were raised male, you have male privilege; if you’ve been assaulted, it is overwhelmingly likely it was by a man). You are a bitter, mean person, If your writing is too extreme for a trans-pub, you have to know you are on the lunatic fringe. Get over yourself. Stop oppressing women, misogynist.

  22. Morgan Potts reeks of white privilege. While you tie yourself in knots over pronouns and perceived slights, the rest of the world is dealing with things that matter. Get over yourself.

  23. 1) Gender isn’t real, if all you are switching is a gender pronoun, there’s no point. Dress however the fuck you want, and even change your name to something idiotically twee like Kitty or something. Advocate for a world without gendered pronouns, and your problem is gone. If you want to take hormones or get surgery that is different, then you are a “transsexual” [replace with whatever buzzword is routinely used now in yer circles]. That’s different and will exist beyond the abolition of gendered pronouns. It’s still a jury-rigged, imperfect situation–I look forward to the time when it’s simple to perfectly switch sexes.

    2) “Biology” is real. There IS a sex spectrum; however, 99.99% of people statistically cluster into two polymorphisms–male and female. These polymorphs evolved as duals to each other to facilitate reproduction. Anything that is not male or female has not been naturally selected for or against–actually, it’s very hard for natural selection to act on aneuploidy, because it occurs after the parent has reproduced, but produces often sterile offspring. So intersex will be around forever, and it’s totally ok, but it’s highly an outlier, and for very specific, knowable reasons.

    3) Maybe we would treat you as ambassadors less and treat you less as “trans*” being your only identity if you didn’t COMPLAIN ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME!

    Let me guess–YOU’RE WHITE. YOU’RE MIDDLE CLASS. YOU HAVE YOUR HIERARCHY OF NEEEDS FULFILLED ENOUGH SO YOU CAN EVEN THINK ABOUT SOMETHING AS CEREBRAL AS GENDER. Do EVERY SINGLE ONE of your fucking Facebook posts have to be about trans shit? It’s extremely annoying. The nu trans movement is hypersensitive, cryptofascist babies, and it puts a bad name to all the trans people who fight for their rights without being HUGELY LAME COMPLAINERS WHO SUCK AND ARE USED TO THEIR WHITE PRIVILEGE AND FEEL ENTITLED.

    Stop complaining! Jesus aughhh it’s so fucking annoying! Post about a puppy with three legs or politics or anything. You don’t see black people posting EVERY SINGLE THING about the oppression of black people, even though it is EXTREMELY RAMPANT/WORSE. &c. shut up I accept you and anyone can do anything they want but stop being such babies stop only posting about trans and shut the fuck up holy shit omh aughhh.

  24. Would you do us the honor of being the very first person in all of human history to explain gender identity without using sexist stereotypes? Tell us how a man can make a claim to being a woman and his sense not be based on his fetishization and assimilation to sexist, colonized ideals of gender. OH WAIT THAT’S RIGHT, you can’t. Because it doesn’t exist. Being trans requires sexism. It does not do the hard work of challenging the hierarchy of sex based oppression and instead lazily hijacks it in a neoliberal sort of “I’m an individual who defines myself” sort of sorry way, replete with narcissism and a total lack of self reflection. And ladies, when we don’t do what the men tell us, we’re met with typical misogynist threats. To be trans is to be an assimilated coward.

    But really, tell us a story about how gender identity might not require sexism. You’d be the first. Make history if you believe what you wrote. I think its bs.

  25. Just a few things I found wrong in your article.

    “To be perfectly clear: I am not interested in toning down my writing to make it palatable for cis readers. I don’t write for cis people.”

    I wasn’t really offended by your article, but if you actually want to engage in an instructive dialogue between cis and trans, ‘alienating’ them with aggressive language (as the publication you wanted this to appear in called it) is probably detrimental to your trans objectives, which require cooperation between cis and trans people. Food for thought.

    “The too-familiar “I’m sorry I misgendered you, singular ‘they’ is hard for me”, centers cis difficulty in remembering a new name or pronoun over the discomfort and disrespect toward the trans person they misgendered. This is an attempt to redirect social resources (time, attention, emotional labor), prioritizing cisness over transness.”

    That ‘normal’ cis people, who identify particular pronouns with sexes 99.9% of the time for a period of decades, find it hard to use they in the singular has nothing to do with prioritizing cisness over transness. It is simply a statement of fact, that people who overwhelmingly use and identify certain pronouns with certain sexes will find it hard to adjust. This is no different from suddenly changing one’s language with regard to any other area; if someone typically speaks French in their day to day life, and are moved to an English speaking country, they will occasionally lapse into speaking French. This has nothing to do with promoting “frenchness” over “Englishness”, which would undoubtedly be viewed as absurd.

    “Cis fragility is so delicate that cis people seek to reaffirm their genders in every step of their lives: everything from clothing to beverages to occupations are gender coded. ”

    To label this as cis fragility doesn’t logically follow what is observed. Do males have certain stereotypical interests, in the majority? Yes. Does that imply males have some sort of deeply fragile emotional state that needs to be constantly protected? No. One can have a general set of interests, without necessarily requiring that those interests also be some sort of crucial bulwark, without which their identities will implode.

    If you eliminated war movies, many men would be angry because most of them like watching those movies. That is a far simpler hypothesis that has nothing to do with maintaining a fragile gender identity. And to use your example of a trans person being living evidence that there are more than two gender identities, let me tell you as a more or less “cis” person this is how I would react if war movies disappeared. Moreover I find your assertions to be generally groundless in that you seem to be speculating, and then assume your speculations are true.

    “They will congratulate themselves for asking the pronouns of a “visibly” non-binary person (whatever that means), but refuse to examine why their gender identity needed clarification when those of the apparently-cis people around them didn’t”

    Because 99% of people (or more) who look like a male/female identify as such, and people get used to that. There is no conspiracy there. On the other had, for trans people, many will appear noticeably different after they have had a transition. For a male to female trans person, they will in many cases still maintain many of the fundamental biological features that comes with being born (biologically) as a man. Hence when they wear more traditionally effeminate clothing (because it makes them feel like their gender), it still appears slightly off to the average person. In many cases this is not true however, and the transition is quite successful (at U of T, I know one physics prof who I never suspected as being trans, for example).

    So the rest of your conclusions on cissexism and transphobia doesn’t really follow.

  26. This article is really worths studying,not only reading. I request the author to write more about gender aspects,the influences of society,philosophy and biology (if there is any of that kind) on gender identity. And the ways all cis and trans people can overcome it. Thank you for writing.

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