Elon Musk has recently banned the word “cisgender” on Twitter, deeming it a slur after an anti-trans commentator complained about being called a “cissy” by transgender platform users.
Last week, James Esses, a known homophobic and transphobic social media commentator tweeted the following: “Yesterday, after posting a Tweet saying that I reject the word ‘cis’ and don’t wish to be called it, I receive 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.”
Esses posts tweets on a daily basis that invalidate and undermine trans identities as he pilots a campaign that claims to protect youth by denying them access to transgender physical and mental healthcare. An active commentator on Twitter, Esses’s account consists almost exclusively of attacks on the trans community.
Musk, who has since received backlash and criticism for his open support of conservative ideals on Twitter, responded to Esses’s tweet deeming the phrase “cis” or “cisgender” a slur.
Cisgender is a term used for people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Therefore, anyone who is not transgender would be cisgender. The word was coined in 1994 by researcher Dana Defosse, who has since responded to Musk’s tweet saying to Huffpost that she was not surprised by his announcement as he has a “ghastly history of attacking trans people.”
Because the term “cisgender” is a research-based definition for a group of people and not a slur, it continues to be used in LGBTQ+ friendly rhetoric and research and by members of the community and allies.