When should I call myself cisgender?

The queer lexicon : What does cisgender mean?

Cisgender are people whose gender identity corresponds to the gender that was assigned to them at birth. This is true of the vast majority. The fact that there is even a name for the majority may astonish its members. The majority consider themselves to be the "normal population" who do not need any special designation.

This claim to be “normal” oneself and to be able to mark others as not normal with terms is where the criticism that first brought about the term cisgender begins. Because it is just not a matter of course that all people live in harmony with the gender they have been assigned, as the existence of trans * shows.

Volkmar Sigusch coined the term "cissexual"

In order to make this visible, Volkmar Sigusch, the long-time director of the now dissolved Institute for Sexology at the University Hospital Frankfurt am Main, coined the term “cissexual” in 1991 in analogy to “transsexual”: The prefix “trans” means “beyond” in Latin, “Beyond”, the prefix “cis” “this side”.

The term cisgender is widely used in gender-informed circles outside of Germany, especially in the academic milieu, and has also been included in the Oxford English Dictionary - but not yet in the Duden. It is also used somewhat disparagingly by some transsexuals and transgender people.

A distinction that raises critical questions

However, the critical distinction between “cis” and “trans” itself raises critical questions. With the binary pair of terms, lesbians, gays and bisexuals are counted among the mass of gender-compliant heterosexuals, although they deviate from it due to their orientation and often also due to non-standard behavior and are sanctioned by the majority. So are the LGB really in good hands in the “C sharp” category? Even intersex people who are under high pressure to standardize do not necessarily have to feel at home in the "Cis" category.

The entire queer lexicon can be found here. We add it in loose succession.The Queer ABC appears on Queerspiegel, the Tagesspiegel's blog about LGBTI issues. You can find the queer mirror here. Suggestions for topics and criticism are welcome in the comment area a little further down this page or by email to: [email protected]

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