Musk says ‘cis’ is now a slur on Twitter — a loaded term that also has a creepy history

An interchange on Twitter last week ended in Elon Musk announcing that the words “cis” and “cisgender” are considered slurs on his recently-acquired platform.

Social commentator James Esses tweeted, “Yesterday, after posting a Tweet saying that I reject the word ‘cis’ and don’t wish to be called it, I received a slew of messages from trans activists calling me “cissy” and telling me that I am ‘cis’ “whether or not I like it”.”

“Just imagine if the roles were reversed,” he retorted.

In response to Esses’ complaint, Twitter chief Elon Musk declared, “Repeated, targeted harassment against any account will cause the harassing accounts to receive, at minimum, temporary suspensions,” adding, “The words “cis” or “cisgender” are considered slurs on this platform.”

Musk’s announcement apparently did not constitute a change in policy but was rather a clarification of Twitter’s extant hateful conduct policy.

For those new to the game, “cisgender” is a woke term promulgated by transgender activists to refer to non-trans people — or, as the Cambridge Dictionary would have it, people “whose gender matches the body they were born with”.

If social media platforms are going to have harassment policies, a rule like Musk’s regarding the term “cisgender” makes sense.

To be called a label one dislikes and fundamentally disagrees with is an open-and-shut case of harassment, on par with a gay person being labelled a “homo” or a “fag”.

The terms “cis” and “cisgender” have additional baggage, in that they come with a built-in assumption that transgender ideology is normal and deserves equal footing with the facts of biology.

They signal a kind of transgender imperialism, in which everyday people are expected to change the way they speak and think, not only about trans people but even about themselves.

Transgender activists want it both ways, calling it “hate speech” when people “misgender” them, but reserving the exclusive right to misgender everyone else with made-up terminology.

“Cis” and “cisgender” represent the ultimate manipulation of language, the self-conscious weaponisation of words whose aim is to shut down debate.

To acquiesce to the use of words like “cis” and “cisgender” is to concede the game to rainbow activists from the outset, much like the contrived ritual of “announcing your pronouns”.


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Normality needs boundaries, and Elon Musk has chosen sensible ones.

That didn’t make Musk popular with the tolerance brigade, who variously called his decision “transphobia”, “a right wing agenda”, and a “fascist flex”.

The discussion took its most interesting turn when Musk replied to a journalist who tweeted about the etymology of the word “cisgender”.

“For those who don’t know, here is some background on the origin of “cisgender,” as coined by German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch,” offered Genevieve Gluck, co-founder of the pro-woman publication Reduxx, who also provided a link to an article she authored.

Elon Musk agreed, replying, “The contemptible creep that manufactured the term ‘cis’ has serious problems. Ignore him.”

Volkmar Sigusch is rightly credited with coining the term “cis” as an antonym to “trans” — though “cissexual” was his original framing of the concept.

“Speaking of cissexuals. If there are transsexuals, logically there must be cissexuals,” Sigusch wrote in 1991. “One is not to be thought without the other at all. I have allowed myself to introduce the terms cissexualism, cissexuals, cisgender etc.”

Sigusch was a German sexologist, physician, and sociologist who served as the director of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, or the Institute for Sexual Science, at Goethe University in Frankfurt, from 1973 to 2006.

He was one of many academics to influence German society and even the German Bundestag in the 1960s to the 1980s, when pro-pedophilia attitudes were more commonplace.

Sigusch argued that pedophilia per se was not a problem, but that pedophiles should be prevented from acting on their desires.

“There is nothing wrong with pedophilia in the sense of the word, that is, against liking, even loving, children,” wrote Sigusch in a 2010 journal article.

“The sensuality that spontaneously unfolds between a child and an adult is something wonderful. Nothing can remind us more intensely of the paradises of childhood. Nothing is purer and more harmless than this eroticism of the body and the heart. Childish eroticism is not only full of delights, it is also necessary.”

Language shapes our thoughts. Anyone should be wary of a word — especially one now in common parlance — that was coined by a man with deeply perverted views about sexuality.

Some argue that Elon Musk is hypocritical for regarding the word “cis” as a slur on his free speech platform.

But if other slurs are also banned on Twitter, I say he’s done us all a favour.

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Martin Fitzgerald
    Good article.
  • Marianne
    followed this page 2023-07-04 02:00:26 +1000
  • mrscracker
    “There is nothing wrong with pedophilia in the sense of the word, that is, against liking, even loving, children,” wrote Sigusch in a 2010 journal article."

    How often do we learn similar sorts of creepy things about other’s involved in this kind of research?
  • Julian Cheslow
    commented 2023-07-01 04:43:42 +1000
    Being called cis is in no way equivalent to a gay person being called homophobic slurs. There isn’t a history of legal discrimination and violence against people for being cis.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    published this page in The Latest 2023-06-30 21:23:16 +1000