his is how transactivists argue, this is how they twist our words, this is how they are trying to pursue their dominant male agenda. This is a transcription from some weeks ago of an argument I had on Facebook with someone who is a recent transitioner who is undecided as to whether they will undergo a surgical transition.
Miranda Yardley please stop passing off extremist ideas as popular. As others have said, Cis is just shorthand for “Not trans”, as straight is shorthand for “not gay”. In everyday life you don’t often need to disambiguate between straight or gay, or cis or trans. You only need to do so when you are talking about both groups at the same time. The attempt by fundamentalist feminists to define cis as a derogatory and offensive term is itself highly offensive. You’ve already stated your position in this very thread that cis-women have privilege over trans-women (in the same way that men have privilege over women, perhaps?). In making that statement you reveal yourself not to be an advocate of equality or feminism, but of division and oppression.
‘Cis’ is meaningless; the word ‘transwoman’ differentiates a woman (being an adult human female) from a transwoman.
Suggesting I am ‘passing off extremist ideas as popular’ and that I advocate for ‘division and oppression’ just because you happen to disagree with me is sloppy and disingenuous reasoning, a combination of an ad hominem attack and an appeal to authority.
Your statement ‘the attempt by fundamentalist feminists to define cis as a derogatory and offensive term is itself highly offensive’ is a misrepresentation and itself misogynistic. Feminism centers women, not transwomen (because ‘transwomen’ are not women) and concerns itself with the liberation of women from patriarchy, not ‘equality’.
Imposing ‘cis’ as a label on women is, however, profoundly antifeminist as this imposition is without consent. As I have stated, the function of ‘cis’ is to impute women’s privilege over transwomen (you seemed to miss my point) and it is again antifeminist for transwomen to deny the privilege endowed by male socialisation.
There’s no misrepresentation Miranda, and it’s not ad hominem to expose the implication of your personal views. Your own words are both a misrepresentation and an expression of extremism: “It’s an attempt by transactivists to impute women’s privilege over transgender individuals.”
Expressing the perpetuation of privilege of one group over another is extremely divisive, exclusionist, oppressive and about as far from equality as you can get. You even confirm that you don’t advocate equality when you claim the definition of feminism is “liberation of women from patriarchy, not ‘equality’ “. I don’t disagree that feminism is concerned with the liberation of women from patriarchy, but if the end goal isn’t equality then it’s female supremacy.
I’m simply pointing out the obvious fact that your views are extremist in advocating inequality, not saying you’re not entitled to hold those views. You enforce the use of “trans” without allowing its equal and opposite “cis”, which is oppressive. The ability to use a term like “cis” in context, when it is appropriate, is essential for equality of trans and non-trans people. You don’t believe they are equal, so your objection is inevitable.
Conflating the liberation of women with ‘female supremacy’ really does not follow, it is hyperbole.
It is folly to talk of trans people needing equality with non-trans people when women are subjugated by men: how can trans people and non-trans people be equal when women are still not equal to men? And it’s not as if women have any more rights than transwomen.
I have always advocated that transwomen should attempt to ally themselves with women and I hope that you can see that being an ally involves allowing women to describe themselves with their own language. The use of ‘cis’ is therefore never appropriate and the sooner this contextual neologism disappears the better.
I didn’t conflate liberation with female supremacy – you did by stating that the end goal of feminism wasn’t equality. If it’s not equality of men and women, then it must be supremacy of one over the other. It’s a logical reduction of your statement, not conflation or hyperbole!
Are you seriously arguing that the oppression of trans people is OK (“it is folly to talk of trans people needing equality with non-trans”) because women are oppressed by men? Again, you are advocating oppression of an already oppressed minority group. That’s never acceptable.
Look, I’ve made my point. I support the equality of all people of all genders whether they’re trans or not. You don’t. End of. I’m not extending this any more.
Really, you are extending it by misrepresenting my words.
There’s nuance in the use of the term ‘equality’; people can be equal, but not free (think of inmates in a prison), and equality/supremacy are not mutually exclusive/collectively exhaustive ways of describing power balances.
Feminism is about freedom. Free women, you free men too. This is not a new idea, see e.g. Harriet Taylor Mill & J S Mill’s ‘The Subjection of Women’ an essay published in about 1858.
I would dearly like to know exactly when I said it was ‘OK’ to oppress trans people. On the contrary, I go to great lengths to argue sensibly and sensitively on issues where there are unsettled questions of rights balances.
Read my words: there is no equality in the class ‘non-trans-people’ and intersectional analysis will show you this very clearly. I have *never* advocated for the oppression of any oppressed group, minority or otherwise. It is however inherently oppressive to force a descriptor (as Orwell recognised in ‘Politics and the English Language’, language is powerful).
Speaking of ‘equality of genders’ you are aware this is nonsense? Gender is itself a power system that upholds patriarchy: gender is neither a binary nor a spectrum, it is a hierarchy. Or are you referring to sex equality? After all sex and gender are entirely different things, gender only exists because society says it does, sex is a real-world condition with material, real-life consequences.