The term “cisgender” bothers me. It’s the opposite of transgender — in biology and chemistry, “cis” means on the same side and “trans” means across or on the opposite side.
A transgender person is someone whose gender is the opposite of his or her biological sex, I guess. So cisgender means your gender is the same as your sex. Which I guess would be fine, if it were only being applied to those people who rigorously conform to gender protocols.
But what of the rest of us? By labeling everyone who doesn’t identify as transgender as cisgender, you’re basically implying that “cisgender” women match up perfectly with their gender stereotype.
This is not true for many people. Most “cisgender” women match up to some gendered characteristics of women and match up to other characteristics of men. Some women match up mostly with male stereotypes or androgynous ones. But if they have no desire to pass for a man, they’re still considered “cisgender.”
“All women are female impersonators to some degree.” — Susan Brownmiller
Few women are perfectly comfortable with the gender binary. Why would we be? We certainly get the raw deal.
The term “cisgender” — same-side gender — implies that if you are not “trans,” you must fulfill all your gender roles and obligations. It implies that you never experience any gender role dysphoria, when I’d bet everyone does from time to time.
Some have compared the terms transgender/cisgender to homosexuality vs. heterosexuality. But homosexual and heterosexual are self-defined categories. Anyway who isn’t solely attracted to one sex or the other may call herself bisexual. Are the majority of people who don’t fit perfectly into one set of gender norms to call themselves “bigendered”?
Cissexual, on the other hand, makes sense to me. I was born a biological woman, and I feel no conflict with my biological sex. Only with my gender.