I have to thank Twitter for educating me about an issue that continues to have an increasing importance in all societies. Although I was hesitant to start a Twitter account in the first place I now admit it has really broadened my horizons!
One area that I have had my awareness raised by Twitter is in the area of language. One term that I have learned is “cis sexist” or “cis gay.” I fully admit I was not familiar with this term before seeing it on Twitter, but after seeing in in several Tweets I did a few Google searches on the term.
Although there is actually very little on the web about cis sexism, my understanding is that “cis” refers to a person who is comfortable identifying with the gender they were born with. “Cis sexist” or “cis gay” is being used, most commonly on Twitter, to describe cis individuals who do not respect or acknowledge the struggle of transgender individuals, or those who muddle gay rights issues and transgender issues together inappropriately.
Last week I was “drop kicked” by one of my followers on Twitter and publicly accused of being “cis sexist.” Ouch!
In all honesty I find the struggles for justice faced by transgender individuals to be an important cause, just as important as the gay rights movement. I don’t claim to know everything about the cause or to be a perfectly informed activist, but I do care about this issue and have even participated in Transgender Day of Awareness activities on campus.
While I felt bad for offending this person, I would have much rather they educate me and point out my mistake rather than attempt to shame me publicly. I cannot think of anything I have said on Twitter that would be considered inconsiderate to the transgender community and have always been a fan of personal enlightenment. I advocate a “don’t hate, educate!” approach to such conflicts.
This morning, again on Twitter, I came across a great article: Transgender issues from a ‘cisgender’ perspective. It appears the author, Leslie Davis, has had the same problem as I have, unintentionally offending transgender individuals. Like me, Davis wishes to educate herself and present an inclusive perspective. Davis uses her journey to learn more about the issues facing the transgender community as a platform for also educating others. I thought it was definitely worth sharing with Feminist for Choice readers.
The article also includes videos that demonstrate the variety of injustices transgender individuals face growing up. A must read and a must watch!
Another great resource for those wishing to learn more about transgender issues and to become a productive and helpful transgender ally is the National Center for Transgender Equality’s list of 52 Things You Can Do for Transgender Equality. You can even download a free poster of the list to display publicly to show you are supporting the cause.
It’s Friday, lets make a toast to education, conversation, dialog, and the struggle for transgender justice.
Janice is a Virtual Assistant, aspiring doula, and long-time feminist activist with a passion for women's history, nonfiction, nature, and wearing flowers in her hair. She is the Founder of The Feminist's Guide, a women's history travel website, which can be found at www.thefeministguide.com.