Cisidentity , or cissexuality , is a neologism for a type of gender identity where a person’s perceived gender matches the gender assigned at birth, the person is then cisgender or cissexual ( abbreviated as cis ). The word is constructed in opposition to that of transgender.
Cisidentity refers to an individual whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. The term “cis” comes from the Latin word meaning “on the same side as,” which is used to describe individuals who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Cisgender individuals may not have to face the same challenges and discrimination that transgender and non-binary individuals often face, such as being misgendered, denied healthcare, or facing violence.
It is important to note that being cisgender does not mean that an individual is “normal” or “default.” It simply means that their gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. Cisgender individuals also have a role to play in creating a more inclusive and accepting society for all gender identities, including advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, using gender-inclusive language, and educating themselves and others about the experiences of transgender and non-binary individuals.
In recent years, the term “cisgender” has become more widely used and recognized, reflecting a growing awareness and acceptance of the diversity of gender identities. While there is still much work to be done towards achieving full equality for all individuals, including those who are cisgender, understanding and acknowledging the experiences of different gender identities is an important step towards building a more inclusive and accepting world for everyone.
Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook define the adjective cisgender (in English cisgender ) as a term for “individuals whose birth gender, body and personal identity coincide”, thus completing the term transgender .
In detail, according to Julia Serano, cissexual is an adjective used in the context of gender issues to describe “people who are not transsexual and who have always known their physical and mental genders to be aligned”, whereas cisgender is a term for those who do not consider themselves transgender (a broader cultural category than the term transsexual , which is more medical).
There are a number of derivatives of these terms, including cis man for a male person who sees himself as such, cis woman for a female person who sees himself as such.
The word cisgender originates from the prefix cis- derived from the Latin, which means “on the same side” and is the antonym of the prefix trans- also derived from the Latin.
For example, we find this meaning in the term Cisalpine Gaul or in the cis-trans distinction in chemistry. Alexandre Baril explains that in “French-language dictionaries, in pure sciences, the adjective cis is used as an antonym of trans, the first referring to an element that is on the same side, the second, which, in its Latin origins, means “beyond”, referring to an element belonging to both sides. More generally, the prefix trans, as opposed to the prefix cis, indicates a transformation. The prefix cis is added to the terms sex and gender to designate people who do not make a gender transition. In the case of genders, the prefix cis- denotes for someone the alignment of their gender identity with their sex assigned at birth.
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