[Ads-l] cis/cissy

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 21 22:19:35 UTC 2015

On 11/21/2015 10:36 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> I was just introduced at a workshop by a dean who excerpted, from a
> teaching evaluation form I had never read, the comment that Professor
> Horn was a very sympathetic instructor for someone who is a straight
> cisgender male.  And of course "cis(gender)" is one of the more salient
> retronyms of the past decade.  For some of us classically trained
> oldsters (do I speak for you, Wilson?), the term inevitably evokes a
> Caesarian nostalgia for trans-Alpine vs. cis-Alpine Gaul.
> "cissy" I hadn't heard.  Or if I had, I'd misanalyzed it.

See also the South Park episode "The Cissy" (Oct. 8, 2014):


I mention the episode in my WSJ column on "cis(gender)" from last
March (which has now dipped behind the paywall):

[begin excerpt]
As “cis” gained popularity as a prefix and an adjective, new
identifiers were born. Gender activists now routinely critique “cis
men” and “cis women” as perpetuating “cisnormative” attitudes and
encourage them to check their “cisprivilege.” The trendy coinage
“mansplaining,” describing condescending male explanations, has found
its cis equivalent in “cissplaining.”
The explosion of “cis” terms has also led to some satirical responses.
Comedy Central’s “South Park” ran an episode in October entitled “The
Cissy,” poking fun at gender-identity debates. And after Piers Morgan
interviewed transgender writer Janet Mock on CNN last year, Mr. Morgan
countered charges of “transphobia” by claiming that his critics were
guilty of “cisphobia.”
[end excerpt]

And for much more on "cis" terms, see the Winter 2014 installment of
"Among the New Words": http://bit.ly/ATNW89-4


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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