- Recently Hollywood actor William Shatner took offence to being called ‘CIS’, short for ‘cisgendered’.
- The term cisgendered is used to define people whose gender identity matches the identity assigned to them at birth.
- When a child is born, it is assigned a gender identity based on its physical characteristics. Many believe that gender is a social construct, and growing up, the child may or may not confirm to the birth identity.
- Children assigned male at birth can feel they identify more authentically as a woman, to give one example.
- For transgender people, their sense of gender identity does not match the one assigned to them at birth.
- The latin prefix ‘cis’ literally means ‘on the same side of’, while ‘trans’ means on the other side.
Some identity labels in use
- As language evolves, a lot of new terms come in and out of use. Also, a lot of words overlap. Here’s a list of some common gender identifiers, though there are more in use.
Agender: Someone who identifies as not belonging to any gender
Androgynous: Someone who identifies as neither man nor woman
Bigender: Someone who identifies as both man and woman
Non-binary: Someone who rejects the binaries of male and female
Genderfluid: Someone whose gender identity changes
Genderquestioning: Someone who is exploring which gender they identify as
Genderqueer: An umbrella term for people not subscribing to traditional genders
AFAB, AMAB: Assigned Female At Birth, Assigned Male At Birth
Intersex: Those who do not possess the physical characteristics of either males or females
Third Gender: Those who have a gender identity beyond man or woman
Also, one can be cisgendered but their gender expression can be different from their gender. For example, a cisgendered man can dress up in a lehenga or a ball gown simply because he likes to.