Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Disability Intersections and 'cisgender'

Portraying marginalised groups accurately and sympathetically can remove some of the prejudice surrounding them, so including these characters is paramount. Disabled people are one of the groups who are still lacking accurate and respectful representation in the media. (Alice Hewitt, 2014, from the article pictured, left)

Stumbled across this online magazine looking for something else: this particular article/essay has a rather distinctive voice, adding a feminist critique on top of considering disability representation in isolation. As I'll often point out, it makes sense to consider any given category in combination with others too - this writer addresses sexuality as much as gender.

The author uses a term I hadn't previously encountered, cisgender ... the Wiki seemed a reasonable enough summary:
Cisgender and cissexual (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where an individual's experience of their own gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth.[1] Sociologists Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook define cisgender as a label for "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity" as a complement to transgender.[2]
There are a number of derivatives of the terms in use, including cis male for "male assigned male at birth", cis female for "female assigned female at birth", analogically cis man and cis woman, as well as cissexism and cissexual assumption. In addition, certain scholars have begun to use the term cisnormativity, akin to the queer studies' heteronormativity.[3][4] A related adjective is gender-normative; Eli R. Green has written that "'cisgendered' is used [instead of the more popular 'gender normative'] to refer to people who do not identify with a gender diverse experience, without enforcing existence of a 'normative' gender expression".[5]

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