Cisgender Privilege

I am privileged to have quite a few friends who are members of the LGBTQ+ community; friends who have enriched my life and understanding of the world, friends whom I couldn’t live without. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I came across the term ‘cisgender’.

Cisgender: Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.[1]

Intrigued, I delved further into the depths of the internet (particularly Twitter). I came across many straight, white people who claimed that being called ‘cis’ was an insult and how would the transgender community like it if they used derogatory terms towards them? I could feel my blood boiling. Here’s why.

I am cisgender. I was born a female and identify as such. I am privileged that my vagina is the genitalia I identify with. I don’t feel as though it is out of place. I don’t feel as though my chest should be flat and that my boobs are on the wrong body. That is what life is like for someone who is cisgender. Our bodies seem like the correct bodies. We identify with the sex we were born and raised as. We lead relatively normal lives and society never really has it in for us (well, there’s a lot of intersectional discrimination but I’ll save that for another article).

We don’t constantly wander around feeling trapped and suffocated by our bodies. We don’t have to go months and months waiting for an operation to change ourselves and then have to have a regular dose of hormones.

The above is just a snippet of what non-cisgender people have to go through. As cis people, we have privilege. How can ‘cis’ be an insult when all it does is denote privilege? We will never experience the heartache and hardship that trans+ people go through on a regular basis. The fact that some cis people actually think ‘cis’ is an insult shows just how much privilege we truly have. You can’t insult something that innately means ‘privileged’.

So to all the cis people who think it’s an insult: grow up. Get real. We have the world in the palm of our hands. Stop getting on your high horse and getting offended, start accepting that you have privilege and start using that privilege to help those who suffer because society discriminates against those who aren’t cis.

[1] Oxford Dictionaries, (2014) www.oxforddictionaries.com, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/cisgender, 2/8/14

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