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Current Affairs

Gender terminology

Date: 04 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Last month, Hollywood actor William Shatner took offence to being called ‘CIS’, short for ‘cisgendered’. 

 

Details

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What is commonly agreed upon is that the word existed in academic journals since the mid-90s.  With the advent of the internet, it became part enough of popular parlance to be included in the dictionaries.

  • Having distinct words for transgendered and cisgendered people denotes that both are equally valid, neutral experiences, with neither being an aberration.

  • Also, cis and trans are not the only gender identifiers in use. There are many other terms, such as genderqueer, gender fluid and gender variant.

 

  • 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

  • Gender questioning: 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

  • Misgender: Using for someone a gender other than what they identify as.

  • Cissexism: Favouring cisgendered people over others.