I’d like to use an…

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A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

I’d like to use an analogy with religion to explain why “cis” is an offensive, misogynist slur and not a “neutral descriptor”.

In any conventional religious terms, I’m an atheist. (I’m actually a neutral monist and would agree with most of Santayana’s quote about atheism, but that is something I refuse to discuss with the conventionally religious, whose god I reject in its patriarchal entirety.)

So, for example, Christianity is one of the religions I reject as man-made.

Saying that I am not a Christian is not remotely the same thing as slurring me by calling me a non-Christian.

Saying that I am not a Christian is like saying that I am not a mountaineer. It is a belief system and/or set of activities which has nothing to do with me, and which I regard as completely irrelevant to my life. It doesn’t categorise me in any unwelcome way.

It does not provide any information about me other than noting that a belief system exists which I do not share.

Calling me a non-Christian, however, implicitly arranges the world in terms of Christianity and whether one subscribes to its dogmas or not, and then goes on to place me in the ‘othered’ class of people.

It sets up a binary which I don’t subscribe to and then categorises me in terms of my position within that binary, in the inferior half in Christian terms. It is an offensive slur.

It functions, in fact, exactly like the man-woman binary, which others women and defines them only in terms of what they are not, thereby universalising the male view of the world (unsurprisingly, as it’s a relentlessly patriarchal religion).

Here is the always-excellent @janeclarejones ‘ much more eloquent explanation of binaries versus difference:


Cis/trans functions in exactly the same way. It requires that we accept without question the notion that we all have a ‘gender identity’ (another cultish dogma to which I do not subscribe) and then demands that we define ourselves in terms of this hypothetical property.

Moreover, the people pejoratively labelled “cis” are the ones who supposedly identify with the normative behavioural and presentation standards for their sex. Far from being progressive, it naturalises the mechanism of women’s oppression – gender.

It also falsely posits “cis” people as the oppressors of trans people (although no-one has ever explained why, or what resources we extract from trans people). This obscures sex as a material axis of oppression, and allows males to complain that they are oppressed by women.

It is an obnoxious, unsupportable lie.

Let’s be clear that it is pejorative to assign people a ‘gender identity’ in the first place. It forces us to pretend that we believe we have a property much like a soul, and then to accept our categorisation into the inferior half of the resulting binary.

“Cis” recreates the patriarchal binary. It defines women in terms of gender stereotypes. It is anti-feminist, anti-woman and offensive. I can’t stop you using it. I *will* call you out as a male supremacist and a sexist if you do.