Tag: transgender

Cisgender, transgender and native English prefixes

Wikipedia’s list of English prefixes categorize trans- and cis- differently.

Trans- is “native”. That is, it comes to us through Medieval French and has been fully integrated (linguists would call it productive) into modern English.

Cis- in “neo-Classical.” Meaning, it was lifted from Classical Latin into the modern age thanks to science, and now forms words like cislunar and cisgender.

So, based on this incredibly complicated, complex analysis I decree that being transgender is more natural and native to anglophones than being cisgender is. Amen.

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Changing Ones: Third and fourth genders in native North America

I really cannot recommend this book enough. True, even I sort of reached my limit when the author talked about the Mohave fecal fetus in third-gender folks. But it is chalk-full of awesome quotes: “… Because of its ubiquity worldwide gender non-conformity appears to have been part of the proto-human cultural complex.” What an awesome sentence is that!

And now I’m an expert…?

I was lost and confused for years and now I’m suddenly an expert. I gotta admit it feels good.

(From a Fetlife questions whose gist was: “I feel like this but am not sure how to identify. Non applicable, genderqueer, genderfuld, etc.)

Well a lot of what queer theory is in general is just postmodern philosophy applied to human sexuality. And one of the great contributions of postmodernism was its emphasis of the “translinguistic”.

That may sound complicated, but it really just means that every experience, from our gender to eating an ice cream sundae is technically ineffable. We can approximate how we feel with words and phrases. And we do all the time. Some phrases fit quite well. If you’ve ever studied a foreign language you’ve probly had the experience of learning some phrase that you were like “Oh, that’s so perfect for situation X! I wish we had that phrase in English!”

So, to answer your question, genderqueer and genderfluid are just two terms with a slightly different emphasis on the gray space ‘twixt male- and femaleness. Genderfluid tends to be used for people who feel their gender “flows” or is variable day by day or hour by hour. Whereas genderqueer emphasizes a more static state between male and female. Basically like androgynous, but you also get a queer identity and get to be part of the queer community… I guess.

Loved your question. As a trans person currently transitioning, I’m still pondering whether I identify as a dykey androgynous woman or as someone non-binary or genderqueer or genderfluid… or if there’s really much of a difference there at all, if it’s just two angles of the same thing.

My strategy’s been to “feel out” what fits best. We’ll see. Best of luck!

Joanne

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