[personal profile] recursiveparadox
Welcome to clusterfuck city. In order to give you folks a little bit of background here, there was a bit of an incident involving Pam's House Blend and a wonderful concept known as privilege enabling (or as I like to call it "oppression collaboration". More poetic that way.)

There was some fine commentary on how asinine it is to let people dodge their privilege and continue othering trans folk on QT and a really brilliant analogy for the kind of nasty power cis people (I refuse to stop using that term. Outright. Refuse.) have over trans folk at Femmessay (which I commented on in thanks)

I won't go too deep into the details (that's what the links to the wonderful blogs are for, with the exception of Pam's little coffee shop of privilege) but the basics are as follows:

A gay cis male decided that the word cis is offensive to cis folk and compared it to several common trans slurs. And then discourse on the topic (and by "discourse" I mean any attempts by trans folk and allies to address this pretty clearly privileged bullshit) was silenced. Gotta love enablers, right? Nothing makes it easier to stomp on the heads of trans folk than someone discouraging the critique of privileged behavior and encouraging the use of othering and cissexist separation of terminology like trans vs. normal.

I may have expressed some things on this blog that folks have found privileged, but I've never once silenced the discourse on it. I address those comments because privilege is a serious goddamn problem. So if you're in the position of being accused of using it or speaking from a privileged perspective, it is always a good idea to keep that discourse open in case you are actually privileged and didn't realize it.

I'll do a relatively mild analysis of cis as a word here and why that is epic and privileged bullshit on the commenter's part to act that way. I may follow up with a slightly less enraged "For The Uninformed" post after this one rehashing the description of cisgender as a term and discussing privilege in general (I'll throw in some other important descriptors too). They're closely intertwined because cisgender is a word used to articulate the differences (including privilege) between those who are or are not trans without othering the fuck out of us trans folk.

Oh look, just that sentence alone summarizes it doesn't it? You see, a marginalized group and their allies have to be able to create discourse on not just their marginalization but the privilege of the majority/empowered group(s) that either oppress them or benefit from the oppression of them (usually both).

One of the key important cardinal needs of that discourse is to avoid phrasing, word structure and tone that is in and of itself a component of that marginalization or the privilege of the oppressing/majority/empowered group(s). I know, I'm getting verbose and science-y.

To make it basic: if the words we use to talk about our problems, our oppression and another's (i.e. cis folk) privilege are oppressing to us then we are just defeating our own efforts. Language has an effect on things. It's why slurs actually do have power and marginalizing language can actually train marginalized people to submit to their oppression.

The single most best example (and most relevant to the term cis) is the othering of trans people. Before cisgender came into play as a term the way that trans folk and cis folk were referred to was as such:

(nonbinaries weren't really mentioned back then and they still get screwed now. Oppression is like a layer cake made of fail.)

After the word cis came into play (and we cut the qualifier from the gendered word itself):

Trans woman
Cis woman
Trans man
Cis man
(unfortunately, as you can see, nonbinaries are still othered quite a bit. Not a lot of great solutions have been come up with there)

Notice the difference? The above (old school version) made trans folk out to be an abnormality, an adjusted man or an adjusted woman. Cis folk were assumed to be the natural state because the phrase applied to them was the overall phrase for man or woman (if anyone has more knowledge of nonbinary terminology back then and now, please comment. This description is incomplete without nonbinaries). By applying the word cis to cisgendered people's descriptors when discussing a comparison of trans and cis folk (and just applying the actual gender word itself to the people it applies to, whether cis or trans) we succeeded in reducing the othering effect of the terminology we use for discourse on trans oppression and cis privilege. It also, as you can see, offered up a term that can be used to describe that privilege that cis folk have. I mean fuck, what did we even call it before then? "Normal privilege"? "Non-Trans privilege"? That's terrible for discourse and othering as hell.

So the phrase has a defined, specific purpose that is only relevant in certain contexts (much like trans ought to be). I'm not going to walk around and call cis folk, cis woman or cis man when I introduce them to people. "This is Candice, she's a cis woman." Just like no one should introduce me like "This is R.P., she's a trans woman." Although in Candice's case, she won't get beaten, killed, raped, denied jobs or etc etc etc for being revealed as a cis woman. But quite honestly there's no reason to apply the word in a day to day basis. Only for trans related discourse.

So now we know why it's around. What if someone finds it offensive? What if it makes a "privileged person cry" as I so cheekily put into my title? Well, let me put this as nicely as I can:

Get the fuck over it.

As described by the very nice lady at Femmessay, there is a huge worlds' of difference between having your feelings hurt by a phrase that doesn't sound nice or seems unfun being applied to you and being subjected to a level of oppression that defies description. Many of us aren't even fucking allowed to piss in a bathroom that is safe for us. Yeah, I'm sure privileged tears are so awful in comparison to that.

It's like us white folk saying it's offensive to be called privileged. Oh boo fucking hoo, folks. Or calling affirmative action "reverse racist" (the most godawfully stupid phrase in the universe, by the way). Here's a more prickly barb for the commenter himself: It's like straight people saying that the word straight is offensive, because "omg I'm normal, not straight". Yeah. I went there. Because its the same exact thing.

There are straight folk who have done that. Who have said, to my face and others faces, that the word straight is offensive and why is it necessary for gay people to apply a word to them? Well because its awfully hard to have a discourse about gay rights and straight privilege if the word gay is compared to the word "normal, assumed, expected, standard state of affairs". Welcome to being othered. Your hypocrisy, commenter on Pam's house blend, has been noted.

So there's the comparison. The fact is, the only thing, the exact only thing the word cisgendered can do applied to a cisgendered person is make some hurt feelings. Just like the word straight applied to a straight person. Guess what the word trans can do? Some helluva worse things than cis can do, that's for sure. Not only can it hurt our feelings, it can act as a reminder of past oppression or be accompanied by beatings, rape, murder, denial of service, denial of use of bathrooms, denial of medical care, denial of children, denial of bodily domain and self autonomy, denial of a home and loss of family, friends and loved ones.

And you know what? If cis is removed from discourse and we just use the word trans, the othering will make it all worse. So wow, folks, I'm really choked up about how hurt you are with the word cisgendered and all, but really, you're just going to have to get the fuck over it.

Be a little more mindful of your privilege, offended cis folk. As for Pam and Co.? I used to go to that site pretty often (I wasn't a member yet) but I will gladly avoid your privileged bullshit (and privilege enabling) site from now on. For the transfolks working there, I hope the pat on the head and the hair ruffling from the oppressors was worth alienating the rest of us.

Must have been a damn good hair ruffle.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-16 10:43 pm (UTC)
veridiansage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] veridiansage
I take a different stance on this.
I believe people aught be addressed as they wish, or at the very least have a right of Veto over being named. To me it is a violation of a very basic right to personal identity. This cuts both ways. If a person does not wish to be addressed as Homosexual, for example, then they aught not be forced to accept it.
In matters of scientific study, some sort of labeling mechanism must be established, however, if it is found offensive, it aught be limited to those studies and not thrown in their faces as a matter of courtesy. Now, having read your exposition on Gender Identity, I can see you have also wrestled with the idea of right to define self vs scientific classification. I just like to er on keeping the scientific terms in the lab. I am aware that this can lead to greater social confusion, to which I can only say I really wish the general populace would lighten up about many things. they also need to accept that there needs to be clarification.... but they need to be willing.

"As described by the very nice lady at Femmessay, there is a huge worlds' of difference between having your feelings hurt by a phrase that doesn't sound nice or seems unfun being applied to you and being subjected to a level of oppression that defies description."
This smacks to me of a double standard. It aims at trivializing another group's right to identity definition. I have trouble reading that as anything other than:
"They haven't suffered like us, so their objects on this matter are unimportant, altho we reserve the right to be enraged over the very same thing."

Suffering breeds a sense of entitlement.
Privilege creates an inequality.
Inequality leads to resentment.
Resentment causes more suffering, often for all involved.

I can't help but worry that this throws more fuel on a fire that needs to be squelched.
While I personally support the use of Cis-gender terms...
I can't conscience forcing others to.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-17 09:51 pm (UTC)
veridiansage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] veridiansage
Ah, well, with it's limited usage, that abates most of my concerns. I do understand that the othering as it were, has already done much more harm to the classifications of people it has affected than the new line might, however it still concerns me. Also, if my lack-wit mind picks up on something of double-standarding, it will be something far sharper pundits will grasp onto, and use to whip people into a fury about how "Teh Ebil otherlings are now doing to us what they said shouldn't be done to anyone else. Oh look how they oppressors us!" I am looking at this from as much a socio-political angle as anything else. I believe that progress must actually stick, rather than just come and then get shot down thru manipulations of the mob.

Like other scientific terms of the past....

Date: 2012-06-21 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Cis a science term? Yep. 'tis

like many before it it has become derogatory already.

I work for a department in state govt that has to define such things to determine services for youth who have an IQ under 60 due to medical reasons. Some scientic terms of the past?

retarded (still in use)

We are one race: Human. We are one orientation: Sexual. Oppress or privilege no one. All are created equal.

Re: Like other scientific terms of the past....

Date: 2013-02-14 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Not everyone's orientation can be described as sexual.

And we live in a bigoted, unequal society. Pretending that inequality does not exist perpetuates inequality.

Cis people are privileged by society and trans people are disprivliged. Ignoring this can't make it go away.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-18 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] snugglebitch
You're missing the very, very real power differential in all this. It doesn't matter how much someone wishes not to be addressed as a big-H Homosexual, it's going to happen. It's a straight world, and that's what straight people have labeled gay folk.

It's the same situation with transsexual. It's what we were labeled, by a bunch of cis-centric scientists. It describes how we are different from them, different from what is "normal".

This isn't about entitlement. This is about leveling the playing field.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-18 06:53 am (UTC)
veridiansage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] veridiansage
I generally encourage great discretion and care in "Leveling the playing field". The power differential is one of the reasons I encourage such discretion. When someone has been wronged, revisiting that same violation on their violators, while said persons are in a position of power/authority, has a habit of intensifying the conflict, often to the detriment of the minority. This doesn't even touch on the dangers of lunmp assigning people based on such standards. Not all heterosexuals are callous to their homosexual, bi-sexual or pan-sexual ect.. neighbors. However, they may feel driven away, if they feel they are being targeted. It is hard to maintain allies when they are told their opinions are invalid or unwanted, that they need to be subjected to something they may consider intrusive in the name of leveling the field.

This is, however, a good example of how sheltered I have been. Not just in this respect, but in many facets of my life. I was raised on the idea that one should address a person as they wish to be addressed. Also with the idea that different =/= wrong. Foolishly, I had thought these were standards that were somewhat common across the board. It has been a rude awakening to be sure. I do not mean for my naivety to come off as dismissive or offensive, and apologize if it was.

My point of view is ultimately an outsider/idealist's tho. It is not an internal one to this particular matter, and it is more concerned with what should be rather than what is.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-18 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] snugglebitch
Wait a minute. Why are you using the word "heterosexual"?

You might not be aware of this, but heterosexual has a very similar history. Homosexual was a diagnosis of a disorder in human beings, it was a label created by straight scientists to (just like transsexual) label a group of people as Other and deviant/defective. The word "heterosexual" was created a half century later, by gay activists trying to level the playing field.

The problem with trying to play fair in a human rights game, is that the other side never is. The other side got a several-hundred year head-start; the fact that we make any progress at all is quite frankly miraculous. And at this point the game has been going on for so long, that a lot of the cheats used aren't even intentional; the other side just assumes that's how the game is played.

Without words like "heterosexual" or "cissexual/cisgender" what you have is a world of "homosexual and normal," "transsexual and normal." That's all these words are trying to rectify, because it's easier to add new words than it is to take words away from people.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 12:10 am (UTC)
veridiansage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] veridiansage
I would also refer to myself as cis-gendered, if I thought that applied.
What I would voluntarily do I would not mandate for others tho. If I understand what you mean in asking why I used the term heterosexual. Also, I have never had occasion to hear anyone complain about being labeled such. Again, I am sheltered, and have probably just missed it. For my part, I had imagined that it was not unlike hetero-chromia in the eyes. In that it seeks in this case on a sexual level, those not unlike itself. I had been unaware of it's origins.

I find the concept of Human rights as a game to be almost painful. Then again, I can see why putting it in such context would be less painful for others.

I do see your point. That is supposed to also be acknowledgment of it's validity, I don't know if that always comes across correctly.
Mine is different. I see the right to naming deriving primarily from consent. In my culture, there is nothing more explicit in establishing dominance over a person than naming them. Stripping them of their right to define their own identity. What has been done is abomination. It is not made less so by the fact that it targeted a minority for whatever reason. How would you rather be addressed?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-20 03:01 am (UTC)
veridiansage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] veridiansage
As a third person, scientific classification, I have no problems with it. My only issue would come up if it were a matter of common address, as some alarmists(I see now) have made it out to be.
All tidied up, at least in my mind, now.
Thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-11-10 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"Homosexual was a diagnosis of a disorder in human beings, it was a label created by straight scientists to (just like transsexual) label a group of people as Other and deviant/defective. The word "heterosexual" was created a half century later, by gay activists trying to level the playing field."

Utter bullshit. Both terms date from around the same time, the late 1800s, and entered wider use after the publication of Richard von Krafft-Ebing's book 'Psychopathia Sexualis'. Not that I agree with Krafft-Ebing's conclusions from that book, of course (for God's sake, the man claimed that *any* form of recreational sex was a perversion as sex was intended solely for procreation); but if you're going to make a claim to try and support your argument, at least do some cursory research.

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Ah, yes...

Date: 2010-02-24 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
1st world problems.

Re: Ah, yes...

Date: 2010-02-24 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Kids with AIDS in Africa magically makes all other problems disappear! Yay! I'm so glad the magic of "other people have it worse" is so potent in making everyone else's smaller problems go away. Thank you for your magical powers. You're not an unhelpful jackass at all.

Re: Ah, yes...

Date: 2011-09-18 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I agree and to Genderbitch, in your own words -Get the Fuck Over It!

Re: Ah, yes...

Date: 2016-09-07 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Do you have a penis? Then you are male. Do you have a vagina? then you are female. There are a VERY few people born with both... and for them gender assignment isn't quite so easy... but unless you are one of those people then you are male OR female. Believing you are something you are not doesn't make it so. If I believed i was a '97 Honda that doesn't make me a car, it makes me mentally ill.

Genderbitch: In ur gender, revealing ur privilege


This is a blog. About transsexuality, feminism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, GLBT stuff and etcetera (check my tags for more on that). This is also an angry blog.

You might see me as slightly antagonistic. Oh well. I incite because I am trying to push people into thinking, discussing and breaking out of the stagnant bullshit of privilege. Which needs a nice firm kick quite a bit. Sometimes to the head. If I need a nice firm kick too, make sure to distribute it because well, I'm not immune to privilege either. XD

Anonymous (account-less) commenting is allowed but please sign it with an alias or name. I reserve the right to delete useless trolling, hate language and attempts to out my name or out anyone else here.

Welcome to my space. Take your shoes off, stay a while. Use the fucking coasters.


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