Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Shake Your Head, Walk Away

Lately there has been some discussion on Fetlife about the use of the word “cisgender” and it’s related terms. The conversations have been started by people who are offended by others labeling them cisgender NOT because it is an inaccurate description of their identity (these are definitely non-transgender people) but because they feel the term is offensive.

So far I have seen no other term proposed, these are just folks who are upset that there would even be a term to describe having one’s gender identity match the sex they were assigned at birth. They are, afterall, NORMAL. Furthermore, they argue, no one should put a label on them without their consent. All labels applied to identity should be decided only by the person being labeled – as if transgender people are allowed by society to decide weather or not we should be thus labeled!

The discussions that follow are usually well thought out and contain elegant arguments from people who are both transgender and cisgender about the importance of having language to use to discuss these matters, and how the term cisgender is about as non-offensive and neutral of a term as one could possibly have. I read these discussions, nod at the smart people, and…

Leave. I don’t contribute anymore. I don’t sit down and type out, for the 10th time, my own input. I can’t. I’m sick of getting caught up in debates where there is so little chance of making a difference. I’m thankful for those who do, by my energy for it has run out.

Are there any issues that you have given up on, and no longer get involved in debates over? Have you done that in the past and then eventually gotten the energy back for it? Have you seen this particular debate anywhere else? Is it okay for me to leave the discussion to others, especially because it is being argued well by other people?

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Benny Vimes

Benny Vimes

Benny Vimes is a queer polyamorous transman, curious skeptic, and enthusiastic seeker of knowledge. He's an undergraduate student in his 30's and loves teaching people about alternative sexuality and gender issues.

1 Comment

  1. November 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm —

    I think it’s definitely a legitimate human reaction to get burned out on certain discussions and not comment, especially if other people are making the same points you would. You shouldn’t feel bad about it.

    As for me, there are a couple of topics I got burned out on and then recently started commenting on again: “fake” geek girls and the Nice Guy phenomenon.

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