23 January, 2011

I'm getting in a dumb fight on obietalk (my college's anonymous forum). Seriously cis people flipping out about the word cis probably makes me more mad than anything in the world. It just makes me really mad that whoever created the word went out of their way to find this completely neutral term, and people still claim it's an insult.

I really don't like the word neurotypical, I think because people kind of use it without walking the walk (my definition of "walking the walk" would be "not othering people with ASD or setting up people without ASD as an example for us to aspire to"). Just as a random example, ADCN found this, written by a non-ASD woman who has a very passing as ethics slant but refers to herself as neurotypical. But I do get annoyed when I see people react to the word neurotypical in kind of a similar way and automatically categorize it as an insult. I've even occasionally seen straight people who can't handle the word straight because they don't "feel straight."

This just kind of makes me want to barf. It sort of reminds me of Asher's post about tone and how there's always someone who will say that he has an unreasonable or aggressive tone. Someone on obietalk tried to explain to me why they thought "cis" was offensive by saying "what if straight people decided that all gay people should be called faggots?" It just really freaks me out how something totally neutral can be transformed into a slur when it reaches someone who is incredibly offended by the idea that everyone who isn't like them should just be accepted as another kind of person, instead of being an Oh My Gosh You Guys Look At That Weird Thing.


  1. define "cis"... I have no idea what you are talking about. :)

  2. I have mixed feelings about the word "straight" (even though I've used it to describe myself), but for (I think) different reasons than what you're talking about. It just seems to imply that non-straight people are "twisted" or perverted or something. I haven't heard too many people express this opinion though, so maybe I'm reading too much into it.

  3. hi Jess, cis just means a person who isn't transgendered. the prefix "trans" means "across," so people figured that an appropriate word to mean the opposite would be the prefix "cis" which means "on the same side."

    and Mtthw I guess that's fair--actually, yeah, it totally makes sense--but I just get the impression straight people don't like the word straight because they think it sounds boring or something...and then I'm just like, well you have way more life opportunities because you're straight, so why don't you just use those opportunities to make yourself ~a rebel~ instead of complaining about the word straight.

  4. This post made me want to go straight to Privilege Denying Dude and find all those pictures where people in privileged groups say "Why can't I just call myself 'normal'?" I've seriously had people ask me that, about both "neurotypical" and "cis."

    But I couldn't because Privilege Denying Dude is gone again! I am very sad.

    In Women's Studies last year there were several "radical feminist" cis girls who would say things like, "If trans people took women's studies classes, maybe they wouldn't have to transition" and "I don't understand how anyone can feel uncomfortable with their gender or their body -- I feel totally comfortable with mine." I tried to explain to one of these girls that the reason she felt so comfortable with her assigned gender and sex was because she was cisgender and cissexual, an experience which is NOT universal. Her response was an indignant "How do you know how I identify?"

    I hate it when privileged people use anti-oppression language to back up their privilege.

  5. I don't get why cis people think the term "cisgender" is insulting. It's just a way to refer to non-trans people without othering trans people.

    I don't like the term "neurotypical" when it's used to mean "nonautistic", because I think that erases the fact that people with all other kinds of neurological conditions aren't "neurologically typical." Like, is a person with epilepsy neurotypical? How about a person with Tourettes?

  6. es, I use neurotypical to mean "people not having any brain disabilities." But there is a gray area around things which are more like physical disabilities but originate in the brain, like CP or epilepsy as you mentioned.

  7. I use neurotypical to mean "people not having any brain disabilities."

    That's fine, that's how I use it as well.