The origin of cisgender

For those who say “cisgender is a biological term used in science for hundreds of years” it is not. It was coined by Dana Leland Defrosse, a biologist at the university of minesota and retired researcher/physician, as what she felt was a logical term to describe the opposite of transgender, so as to not demean their gender identity, in one of her papers.

The word “cis” in latin roughly means “on this side” whereas “trans” means “on the other side of”. Therefore cisgender was born. The word “cis” might have scientific latin roots, but it is not accompanied by “gender” until 1994 by Dana Defrosse. 1994 in fact was when Dana wrote her paper coining the term “cisgender”. Though transgender usually defines the difference between a person who identifies as their birth gender and someone who does not identify as their birth gender; cisgender would be a redundant way to state that someone identifies as basically what they are biologically. Basically a cisgender is like a person with brown hair who identifies as having brown hair. Slightly redundant.

Fun fact, bio means “life” in Greek. Biology being the science of living things.

Though, as aforementioned, redundant, the primary definition is now a sub definition. What was once Man/Woman, and Transman/Transwoman; will now be Cisgender and Transgender. The issue is this: It leaves room for a biologically male, for example, person who identifies as female to say they are simply a woman. Because woman is now not considered descriptive of a biological woman; but rather both cis and trans. So a transwoman no longer is needed to define being a woman as trans. Thus further creating confusion between biological and non-biological identifying individuals due to the terms woman and man being either/or. This will be difficult for monitoring within sports, restrooms, schools, public areas, doctors offices and so much more. When it comes to the hormonal needs of an individual the biological sex will be superior based on the important biological differences of a biological male or female. In most cases when you go to a clinic, a doctor will need to know your biological sex, not how you identify, in order to aid the unique aspects of the differing sexes.

As we know, the use of the term “cisgender” is quite brand-new: “While transgender dates to at least 1970, cisgender is a child of the 1990s: our evidence dates it back as far as 1994. It got its first element from a prefix that means “on this side,” from the Latin cis or citra, which has the same meaning” and also “In 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “cisgender” to its ever-evolving listing”

To go even deeper, there was a term before cisgender which was “cissexual” which was coined by Volkmar Sigusch as an antonym to transgender, in what appears to be the late 60s.

Zenia
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