Following is a list of cisgender identity privileges. If you are cisgender, listed below are benefits that result from your alignment of identity and perceived identity.
If cisgender is a new term to you, here’s how I define it in my list of LGBTQ+ vocabulary:
cisgender /“siss-jendur”/ – adj. : a gender description for when someone’s sex assigned at birth and gender identity correspond in the expected way (e.g., someone who was assigned male at birth, and identifies as a man). A simple way to think about it is if a person is not transgender, they are cisgender. The word cisgender can also be shortened to “cis.”
If you are cisgender, there’s a good chance you’ve never thought about these things (or even your cisgender identity).
Try and be more cognizant and you’ll start to realize how much work we have to do in order to make things better for the transgender folks who don’t have access to these privileges.
- You can use public restrooms without fear of verbal abuse, physical intimidation, or arrest.
- You can use public facilities such as gym locker rooms and store changing rooms without stares, fear, or anxiety.
- Strangers don’t assume they can ask you what your genitals look like and how you have sex.
- Your validity as a man/woman/human is not based on how much surgery you’ve had or how well you “pass” as non-transgender.
- You can walk through the world and generally blend in, not being constantly stared or gawked at, whispered about, pointed at, or laughed at because of your gender expression.
- You can access gender-exclusive spaces (e.g., a space or activity for women), and not be excluded due to your trans status.
- Strangers call you by the name you provide and don’t ask what your “real name” (birth name) is and then assume that they have a right to call you by that name.
- You can reasonably assume that your ability to acquire a job, rent an apartment, or secure a loan will not be denied on the basis of your gender identity/expression.
- You can flirt, engage in courtship, or form a relationship and not fear that your biological status may be cause for rejection or attack, nor will it cause your partner to question their sexual orientation.
- If you end up in the emergency room, you do not have to worry that your gender will keep you from receiving appropriate treatment or that all of your medical issues will be seen as a result of your gender.
- Your identity was not formally (until 2013) considered a mental pathology (“gender identity disorder” in the DSM IV) by the psychological and medical establishments, and still pathologized by the public.
- You don’t need to worry about being placed in a sex-segregated detention center, holding facility, jail, or prison that is incongruent with your identity.
- You don’t have to worry ab out being profiled on the street as a sex worker because of your gender expression.
- You are not required to undergo an extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care.
- You do not have to defend your right to be a part of “queer” (or the queer community), and gays and lesbians will not try to exclude you from “their” equal rights movement because of your gender identity (or any equality movement, including feminist rights).
- If you are murdered (or have any crime committed against you), your gender expression will not be used as a justification for your murder (“gay panic”), nor as a reason to coddle the perpetrators.
- You can easily find role models and mentors to emulate who share your identity.
- Hollywood accurately depicts people of your gender in films and television, without tokenizing your identity as the focus of a dramatic storyline or the punchline of a joke.
- You can assume that everyone you encounter will understand your identity and will not think you’re confused, misled, or hell-bound when you reveal it to them.
- You can purchase clothes that match your gender identity without being refused service, mocked by staff, or questioned about your genitals.
- You can purchase shoes that fit your gender expression without having to order them in special sizes or asking someone to custom-make them.
- No stranger checking your identification or driver’s license will ever insult or glare at you because your name or sex does not match the sex they believed you to be based on your gender expression.
- You can reasonably assume that you will not be denied services at a hospital, bank, or other institution because the staff does not believe the gender marker on your ID card to match your gender identity.
- Your gender is an option on a form.
- You can tick a box on a form without someone disagreeing and telling you not to lie.
- You don’t have to fear interactions with police officers due to your gender identity.
- You can go places with friends on a whim knowing there will be bathrooms there you can use.
- You don’t have to convince your parents of your true gender and/or have to earn your parents’ and siblings’ love and respect all over again because of your gender identity.
- You don’t have to remind your extended family over and over to use proper gender pronouns (e.g., after transitioning).
- You don’t have to deal with old photographs that do not reflect who you truly are.
- If you’re dating someone, you know they aren’t just looking to satisfy a curiosity or kink pertaining to your gender identity (e.g., the “novelty” of having sex with a trans person).
- You can pretend that anatomy and gender are irrevocably entwined when having the “boy parts and girl parts” talk with children, instead of having to explain the actual complexity of the issue.
After reading this list, please read and share my article about making a more trans-friendly world and be part of the solution.
Thanks to BGSU’s Safe Zone Program for the beginnings of this list.