I Don't Give a Damn if You Don't Want to Be Called Cisgender

The Transgender Therapist
4 min readMar 28, 2021
Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Trans people have experiences that, until more recently, were not describable with existing language. Cisgender people who become angry with the label “cis” often declare with indignation that they did not give consent for someone else to label them. The complete lack of self awareness in this assertion would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful. Trans people, who individually and collectively have close to zero power to garner respect and even the acknowledgment of our own humanity, are constantly subject to labels that we didn’t ask for.

We didn’t ask to be assigned male or female at birth (in truth, no one does). We don’t consent to being called men in dresses or lesbians who selfishly want male privilege. We aren’t asked to be dismissed as mentally ill, deemed unfit for equal opportunity employment, housing and education, and we don’t want to be forced to have bottom surgery before we can even change the gender marker on our state IDs. These are surgeries that can be dangerous, impossible (for those who have physical health obstacles or the lack of financial resources to do so), and/or totally unwanted.

Nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, who may not identify with being male or female, do not have a surgical route that inherently validates their gendered experience. There are also plenty of binary trans people who would not want to go through this process, and it shouldn’t be a requirement to have their identities acknowledged and respected. Cisgender people see themselves as default, and transgender people as deviations of a norm or a stray from biological reality, despite gender very clearly being a social construct. Imagine forcing someone to alter their body parts in order to make them more similar to your own before allowing that person to describe themselves in terms they claim. This is narcissistic at best, though sociopathic would be a more accurate term.

Requiring surgery to have gender markers changed is not, in fact, a vetting process to make sure someone is “actually” transgender. It is a thinly veiled attempt to make it as difficult as possible to be acknowledged as anything but the gender that was assigned. It is a concerted effort to force people into being outed whenever they show their ID, and the picture or name does not match those…

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The Transgender Therapist

Queer, white trans man living in the Pacific Northwest with a grudge and a sharp tongue.