Today we live in a world where we find ourselves being put into many boxes that differentiate us. We assign labels to just about everything. In many cases, those boxes can hurt us or help us depending on who is looking at them. They can represent being looked down upon by society or even result in a loss of privileges or even our rights. There can also be tremendous advantages for someone who ends up finding themselves in the right box, one in which the majority of the people in society are able to accept. Though in reality these boxes are completely manufactured through social norms, being put in any box at all can be a scary thing. Especially if you don’t understand the meaning of the label that society is putting on you.
More frequently I am hearing about cisgender people who feel uncomfortable with the very term. For those who are not in the know, here is what the term “cisgender” means:
A term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. (*Cis is a latin term meaning the same.)
If you happen to find yourself falling under that definition I have news for you, you are cisgender. If you have a problem with being labeled as that term then I am speaking directly to you.
Now I get it, who wants to be labeled as anything? This could bring a whole bunch of problems for you. Next thing you know people could be excluding you because of it. Eventually people may even be fighting over which restroom you should be allowed to use, or you may start to lose some rights. Politicians could start fighting over you and you might even be banned from joining the military. You might have to come out about being cisgender to your family and they might turn their backs on you. Not to mention that you may be shunned by the rest of society. People might make fun of you or your life could even be in danger just for being who you are. Who needs that kind of drama in their life? It could be a big mess for you and you would rather just be seen as “normal” as far as the rest of the world is concerned. After all, you didn’t choose to be cisgender. Right?
"I DIDN’T CHOOSE TO BE TRANSGENDER EITHER."
Actually, what I am describing here is what transgender people face on a daily basis. I didn’t choose to be transgender either. Being transgender is just a box that society decided to put me in because my gender didn’t align with what was decided for me at birth. Unfortunately as a result of choosing to put me in this proverbial box, you found yourself inside your own. I know being called anything other than “normal” can create a lot of anxiety for you. As a transgender person I certainly understand that, trust me.
Here is some more news for you. There is no such thing as normal. In societal terms, the word "normal" implies that there is nothing wrong with you. Regardless of whether you are cisgender or transgender, no one on this planet is normal. It is an impossible standard we create for ourselves. We all have our differences that others can pick apart and shun us for. We all have things about us that we are afraid to show the world out of fear of being rejected by the masses. That is the root of it. The fear that if we were all somehow unique that you may be seen as the outcast, the one who is other. After all, you are not even comfortable with the term cisgender. It sounds like being something that is “other.”
Life would surely be easier if I were born cisgender as you are, but again I didn’t choose to be transgender just as you didn’t choose to be cisgender. Perhaps if we just saw each other as people and didn’t separate ourselves based on gender, things would be different. If you find yourself uncomfortable with being labeled as a cisgender person because it implies that you have a certain amount of privilege, then do something to even up those advantages in society. Stop seeing people as “other” because they weren’t born the same way you were or that their gender didn’t align with what was assigned to them at birth. Maybe then you will understand that it doesn’t matter if you are transgender or cisgender. You may realize that we are all just people and that there is no perfect box for any of us. Perhaps then the term cisgender won’t matter so much to you.