Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cis is Not a Slur

We say that a lot, don't we, as trans people, as trans activists? We respond to the endless pearl-clutching of TERFs who claim that we concocted it as some kind of vile calumny to spit at 'womyn-born-womyn' or whatever term they're using this week by patiently explaining that, no, it's a scientific term, it comes from Latin, they use it a lot in chemistry, Cisalpine Gaul, etc etc...but let's face it, too often we do use it, if not as a slur in itself, in a negative context. We point out someone is cis when they treat us like crap: we're less keen to do that when they treat us right.

Well, tonight, I'm going to do the opposite. I've had a pretty interesting day: my poem about Tamikka Brents has roused the ire of the transphobes in a way none of my journalism about her has. There were a lot of hate comments directed at me on YouTube and elsewhere for daring to speak my mind, and I had to call on a number of allies to help out. And those allies? A lot of them...were cis.

Sure, there were lots of trans people of all genders who stepped up to the plate to help out, but the majority of the support I had?

The local artists, comedians and friends from the Newcastle scene who jumped in for me, shared my video, and wrote, movingly, about the effect my poems had had on them?

Most of them were cis.

My fellow editors from So So Gay, who got involved and backed me up?

They're all cis.

The friend who took me out for lunch to take my mind off this? She was cis.
The flatmates who checked to see if I was alright? They were cis.

The poets from all over this country, and beyond, who would not stand by and allow a talented colleague to be slagged off by bigots hiding behind computer screens and easily-disproven allegations?

Almost all of those people...were cis.

And I'd like to thank all of them. All of you, if you're reading this: you'll have heard me bitch about cis people before, and you'll hear it again, but right now: thank you, you beautiful cis people, for helping me out when I needed it. You're good people, and you're fine people, and you happen to be cis people.

Thank you.

It's not a slur.

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