“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.” — Alice in Wonderland
Congratulations. We have all lived to see the day when social media is the same — neither more nor less — as the world of Alice In Wonderland. The words mean what you want them to mean. And if you are the owner, as Elon Musk is, of Twitter, you can decree “Off with his head!” and ban anybody who doesn’t agree with your interpretation of what the words mean.
This is the policy and piffle that Musk launched off into the ethernet yesterday.
transphobic bigots say “cis is a slur” because they have always used “trans” as a slur
also, “cis” isn’t a slur because cisgender people aren’t discriminated against legally, institutionally or socially, on the basis of being cisgender https://t.co/tqox3KnVJ8
— The Hottest Jerrica You Know 😘 (@JinkiesJerrica) June 21, 2023
NCRS has an historical perspective on the word “cisgender” if you’re somebody who bothers to trouble yourself with facts.
“Cis-” was first used in regards to sexuality in a 1914 German book on sexology, however the word “cisgender” was first coined in 1994 on Usenet by Dana Defosse. Defosse at the time was a graduate student, and in an February 2023 article for Huffington Post, she said she was working on a paper about the health of trans teens. She needed a term for the opposite of transgender, and looked to chemistry for inspiration, and landed on “cisgender.”
“It seemed like a no-brainer. I had no idea that hitting ‘enter’ on that post would start an etymological time bomb ticking,” she wrote.
The term (and its sister term cissexual—the opposite of the then-common term “transsexual”) was popularized in the 2007 book Whipping Girl by artist and activist Julia Serano, and “cisgender” eventually entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015. […]
But as “trans” isn’t a slur, “cis” isn’t either. They’re mere descriptors, with clear linguistic pedigrees—and above all, they’re just plain useful terms when you’re talking about trans issues. It’s the very same issue Defosse ran into in 1994; if we can’t use the word she helpfully coined—what else is there?
Some go for “biological women/men,” but, last time I checked, transgender people are, in fact, biological creatures, just like cisgender people. (I will happily retract this if it turns out that all transgender people are revealed to be, and have always been, robots created in factories out of silicon and steel.)
“Genetic women/men” is another proposed option. After all, we’re taught in high school that men have XY chromosomes and women have XX. But as it turns out, biology is messy. Between 0.02% and 0.05% of people are born intersex—meaning that their sexual characteristics don’t neatly fit into “boy” or “girl”. Some women are born with XY chromosomes, but the male characteristics aren’t expressed—and some women in this situation can even give birth, according to a study by Claus Højbjerg Gravholt, a clinical professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine of Aarhus University.
Just use “cis.” It’s the easiest and clearest way to make the distinction. I’m cis and I’m proud—at least, as proud as one can be over something that I had absolutely nothing to do with and face absolutely zero oppression over.
Puck News has a good piece up on whether Elon Musk will continue to operate Twitter. As you may have heard, Twitter is losing its corporate office in Boulder, Colorado because it hasn’t been paying the rent. He’s also stopped paying the bills for Twitter’s use of Google Cloud and the Wall Street P.R. firm, Joele Frank, claims it’s owed more than $830,000 in fees for advice it provided during Musk’s campaign to buy Twitter last year.
I can tell you as a humble blog owner that Word Press no longer pushes our articles to Twitter because Twitter stopped paying for some bell and whistle that used to permit such a thing. Now, you push your stories manually or find another way to get your work out there.
But we’re not complaining. Oh, no, not at all. I was living in terror of Twitter crashing and burning altogether. If we can still access the site every morning, I consider it already a blessed day.
Last time I checked, if a company has more than 12 creditors—as Twitter does—then any three of them can join together to put a company into an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding. And Elon is in danger here. At some point, the creditors he is mindlessly stiffing on a regular basis are going to get sufficiently pissed to throw Twitter into bankruptcy.
Who knows what’s in Twitter’s future? All that can be said of its present is that Musk did himself and everybody else a disservice by buying the platform. Nobody is able to find the silver lining in this transaction.