Image: Morgan Potts
Are you tired of those darn mentally ill transtrenders talking about transphobia all the time? Or perhaps you hate the fact that you can’t openly say that you think all transgenders should be killed, without receiving backlash? Would you even go as far as saying that living in this world as a cisgender person is so hard, and that cisphobia is real? If you said yes to those three things, you’ve come to the right place.
Cisphobia wasn’t a term that I had come across until very recently. I had been familiar with cisgender people perhaps not grasping the trans thing, potentially misgendering and deadnaming, and being oblivious to the ways in which our cisnormative society privileges them. However, I didn’t actually know that cisgender people thought they were oppressed in any way because of them being cisgender. In other words, I wasn’t aware so many cisgender people had such severe victim’s complexes.
Being a non-binary person, my existence has become a political battleground. Everything I say and do has been politicized to the point where people like me aren’t even allowed to use public restrooms.
As great as it is being trans, the cisnormative society we live in still has a long way to go before it even recognizes us as real human beings. The same simply cannot be said for cisgender people.
The entire concept of cisphobia is attempting to reverse the situation around in a way which paints transgender people as aggressively attacking the innocent and helpless cisgender person. When confronted with conversations that cisgender people cannot relate to, they whip out their beloved cisphobia card, intending to flip the script back onto trans people, essentially invalidating what we say. Indeed, the idea is that none of our opinions and experiences can be valid when we’re depicted as aggressors. Keeping in mind the rarely authentic climate of trans discourse (as it is mostly dominated by cisgender people), cisphobia undermines what little control we have left over discussions about trans issues. Cisgender people pushing this idea of cisphobia aren’t trying to have a productive discussion, but rather silence us when speaking out against transphobia.
Furthermore, cisphobia isn’t actual oppression. There is no larger system in place which disadvantages and discriminates against cisgender people, meanwhile privileging transgender people. Oftentimes, the extent of cisphobia is really just cisgender people not being able to willingly enter a conversation that isn’t about them. They’re so offended by not being the centre of attention that they throw an immature hissy fit, claiming to be the victim of cisphobia. In reality, they can’t stand the fact that we’re having conversations and putting in work to dismantle the system of oppression that they maintain and uphold every day.
I’ve been told many times that my referring to cisgender people as “cisgendered” or, God forbid, use the “terf slur”, is actually harming cis people, and perpetrates cisphobia. But what you need to understand is that for many trans people (myself included), sometimes we’ll have a rough day and we’ll go on the internet to vent about our oppression. We’re not attacking anybody, we’re just expressing our frustration over our never-ending experiences with transphobia. This idea that we’re harming innocent cisgender people, unprovoked, is wrong, because we’re simply letting out steam over actual oppression that we’ve experienced. Transphobia has severe repercussions in the real world, and has led to so many of us being beaten and killed, just because we’re trans. On the other hand, cisphobia doesn’t have any repercussions in the real world outside of online rants. You have the privilege of logging off from your “oppression”. We don’t. At the end of the day, you can get up and leave your computer, stepping back into your privilege, meanwhile we’ll always be transgender people living in a transphobic society.
If you consider yourself an ally to the trans community, recognize your privilege and stand down. By claiming to be a victim of cisphobia, you’re childishly drawing attention away from conversations about trans issues, conversations which we really need to be having. Until we live in a society which prohibits the rights of cisgender people, and in which transgender people benefit from and maintain your oppression, there will be no such thing as cisphobia.