It would be easier to learn a complete new language than it is to learn to refer someone by a different pronoun. Calling Jamie “he” is turning out to be far more difficult than I would ever have thought possible.
It’s not that I object to the idea, but the word just won’t come out of my mouth. I still occasionally refer to him by his former name, and then I have to correct myself. Sometimes other people correct me. Even typing the word “him” in this paragraph required a kind of mental gymnastics for me. I am willing to learn, to understand, and to change, but dammit this is hard!
I have gone to various websites in an attempt to seek out some practical or moral support in this, and I have also tried to find an actual support group for people like me, but they don’t seem to exist. I found a local PFLAG group, but they didn’t reply to my email. There are several websites for people who are transitioning from one gender to another, but next to nothing for their family and friends. When we are mentioned on those sites it is often with derision as though we are assumed to be negative, obstructionist, and nasty. One site even mocks us by laughing at the questions we ask. That made me quite indignant, but the charming author of that post has since smoothed my ruffled feathers.
What inspired this blog post was the realization that within the trans* community, there are some who would refer to me as ciswoman. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a couple of prefix-tual weird things in that sentence. The first is the asterisk after “trans.” I assume that it stands in place of “-gender”, or “-sexual.” I doubt they want it to refer to “-gression” or “-portation.”
That’s all well and good, but the “cis-“ thing really got my goat. It seems to be a thumbing of the nose at those of us who are not trans-anything. If they must have a prefix, so must we. So there!
In Latin cis- is the antonym of trans-, but it seems totally unnecessary to me to create the words cisgender or cissexual for people whose identity matches their bodies. Sorry, but I just don’t get it. If anything, it only serves to annoy. This is not the way to make allies, folks. It does, however, make me wonder how the cistern was named.