JJ Barnes

JJ Barnes writes about parenting, feminism, current affairs and writing

By - JJBarnes

I do not identify as ‘CIS’, and this is why.

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I have always had a very live and let live attitude towards other humans. You be who you are, live as you’re comfortable, and as long as it doesn’t intrude on me and my life, I really don’t mind. Imagine that meme of Dame Maggie Smith, but apply it to everything not just religion. Believe in what you want, be who you want, just don’t involve me.

I feel this way about the current gender politics issues. But before I explain why, I’ll explain what terms I’m going to use during this piece.

SEX – your biological sex based on chromosomes, reproductive organs, etc.

GENDER – whether you associate more with traditionally masculine or traditionally feminine things.

CIS – applied to people who think their sex and gender match.

TRANS – applied to people who think their sex and gender don’t match.

NON BINARY – applied to people who think they have neither a sex nor a gender.

There are different definitions floating around for all of these terms, some people think biological sex is a social construct, and there are various definitions about what it means to be trans or non binary. However, these are the most commonly used definitions and for this piece I am going to use these terms as per above, and if you don’t feel comfortable with them being used in this way then please feel free to stop reading. Totally up to you.

Calling people “cis-gender” is a term that has come into popularity in the last couple of years. It is a way of identifying the people who are “not trans.”

I have been referred to as a cis-woman because I accept that I am female, the doctors observed that I was female when I was born, and I have continued to live and grow up as a female. I am now a woman. However, I refuse to accept the label of “cis.”

To accept “cis” means I accept that my “gender identity” is female. The things associated with the “female gender” are the stereotypes I have witnessed my predecessors, including my mother, fight. They’re the stereotypes I now fight both for myself and for my children.

Female stereotypes are offensive to me in so many ways. The “female-brain” notion is how women were kept out of politics, business and education in the past, why women were denied the vote, why women were not allowed to own property. I do not accept that I am naturally subservient, because I’m not. I do not consider myself suited to a life of domesticity, I do not feel most comfortable in pink and high heels. As a child I climbed apple trees, I had mud fights, I dug up worms and I played sports. I liked toy cars, dinosaurs and building blocks. By the standards presented in the commonly used definition of “cis”, I am not, nor have I ever been “cis.” I do not conform to the narrow and limited definitions of female stereotypes.

So, does that make me trans? No…. because whilst I do conform to some of the male stereotypes that would make me a trans-man, I also like to wear dresses, I will wear make up and heels. I’ll do my nails. I have, on more than one occasion, worn the colour pink. To be a trans-man I would need to not identify with those things either.

Thus, I would conclude that by these definitions I am non-binary. I do not conform to either the male or the female stereotypes. But I’m not non-binary, I’m a woman. My personality and interests might not make me conform to the gender stereotypes of female or male, but that doesn’t mean I don’t consider myself to be a woman.

Some people will happily adopt the label “cis” and fine, you do you. If you accept that you exist within those labels and your biology is correct because of your compliance with the stereotypes foisted on you because of that biology, then fine. It’s your choice, it’s your label, it’s your life. It doesn’t impact me. But when you insist I have to accept the label “cis” we have a problem. I do not agree to exist within that label, I do not identify as a woman because I do not conform to those gender stereotypes that you think make me a woman. I find the notion that to be considered as woman that I have to accept the label “cis,” and all the stereotypes that it comes loaded with that I will fight against until the day I die, really offensive.

Identify yourself in any way you see fit. Transwoman, transman, non-binary, etc. I don’t have to believe in it too to respect it, just like religion. It’s fine, be happy with who you are. But my dear, when you take it out and wave it in my face, and try to force me to accept a label I don’t believe in just because you do, we have a problem.

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2 thoughts on “I do not identify as ‘CIS’, and this is why.

jean wyldbore 19th October 2019 at 5:19 am

Yes! Yes! yes! Thank you jjbarnes. perfect clarity.


Why I think “Just be kind” is terrible advice. – JJ Barnes 20th October 2019 at 11:51 am

[…] recently posted a blog about why I choose to reject the label “Cis” when it is applied to me. I wrote about how everyone has the right to label and identify themselves […]


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