The “Shit Cis People Say” Alphabet: F is for “fake genders”

Welcome to another episode of the Shit Cis People Say Alphabet! Today:

F is for “fake genders”

Cis people sometimes like to refer to trans people’s genders -and particularly non-binary genders – as being ‘fake’ or ‘made-up’. As if their own genders are somehow natural, and not simply the accumulation of generations of social conceptions of what gender is and means, right?

Like, I wish I didn’t need to say that most of the trappings of gender are socially constructed and context-dependent, and that there is nothing natural about the ideas of what the categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’ mean. These categories are made up, too, and they’ve evolved and changed and been made to hold multiple meanings, in various cultures around the world (and, it should be noted, alongside a great many other genders that have been and are recognized in various cultures and at various times).

I honestly barely know what it means to claim that someone is ‘faking’ their gender. Or rather, I definitely have no idea why anyone ever thinks they are somehow a better authority on someone’s gender than that person is themself. Just trust people when they tell you their gender, already.

To be honest, it doesn’t matter if someone coined their own new word to name their gender – that doesn’t make it fake. That’s not how words work. There is literally no such thing a fake word – we as humans put mostly arbitrary sounds together in different ways to indicate different things, and while some words are better at conveying their intended meaning to other people (it is generally more effective to use words people are familiar with where possible, or to invent new ones based on existing conventions  – this is where ‘cisgender’ comes from, for the record; ‘cis’ as a prefix is an established complement to ‘trans’ in the English language) but words can’t be ‘fake’, not really.

My gender isn’t fake, just because I use new(ish) words to describe it. And neither is anyone else’s.


Check out the rest of the “Shit Cis People Say” alphabet!

3 comments

  1. It’s a bit like mathematics. Cis men are positive ‘real’ numbers on the patriarchal privilege axis, and cis women are negative ‘real’ numbers, and anyone else therefore is clearly imaginary. Why are people so complex! (I’m sure there’s a joke in here somewhere about conjugal rights.)

    (If there’s a point to this comment, it’s only that us cis people really have no understanding of gender at all. I am a man, but without reference to biology, I am at a loss to explain what that means. Does it mean nothing more than that I am more or less comfortable with the social construct that is male gender? But by that argument, all genders are fake – especially male and female.)

  2. It’s like people calling modern paganism a fake or made up religion. Even if we assume any God is real, humans have constructed all our religions as ways of figuring out the world and how to move through it, and alas, how to control each other in it.

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