Word of the Day 9.1.15: Cisheterosexism.

Cissexism” (or cissexual assumption or cisnormativity) is the appeal to norms that enforce the gender binary and gender essentialism, resulting in the oppression of gender variant (non-binary) and trans identities.

“Heterosexism” is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that other people are heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior.

Source: Wikipedia

Cisheterosexism * is the system at the intersection of heterosexism and cissexism where attitudes, biases, and discrimination contribute to the oppression of those who do not conform to gender-normative, essentialist or binary behaviors, identities, presentations or relationships.

*I did not coin this term, but I have been unable to find an origin. If any reader knows the proper attribution for any of these words, please comment below.

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  1. But can’t these terms be reduced to just plain old sexism in the end? Don’t all stem from a binary heterosexual “gender-role” brain’s discrimination/superiority? I realize the nuances and specifics matter to people within those “categories” for maybe legal purposes as civil rights advance, but won’t they all come down to just sexism?

    I’ve recently argued with lesbians who think trans people are suffering from mental disorders and are the victims of “eugenics” and I was compared to hitler and the KKK… as I defended transgender peoples. I was dumb in thinking the LGBTQ community was mutually supportive of one another. There are so many factions and some leave out the T and the Q. I also learned of the “A” recently… which is “a-sexual” being added… but whatever… my point is that I think your article here listing these definitions is important… because it’s really confusing…

    I just don’t have barriers in my brain about LGBTQ and sometimes A people… so when I encounter the prejudices, among “us” I’m baffled… but then I don’t understand gay republicans either… or black republicans… you know? It’s like “privilege” and “self-interested ideology” cancels out one’s best interests… at that point.

    Okay, I’m still glad to be one of your readers and just putting this out there. 🙂 xoxo

    • I think it’s important that we recognize the interconnectedness of oppressions, specifically anti-trans, anti-queer, and anti-femme systems, but also it’s important to name how they can influence each group in different ways. Ultimately, I’m sure you could make the argument that it’s all sexism (and that’s a reason why sexism is a part of the word), but you can’t ignore how sexism affects queer and trans people differently than cis women.

      • Yeah, what you say is entirely true. I just think it is all stemming from the same source, bottom line. We police ourselves this way, if we fall into any of the categories discriminating against/oppressing others…

        But noting the specifics can and will and is changing the bottom line (for the better) so I’m glad your writing about the terms and seeking sources of info to share. I had to read your list over and over actually to even hear the vocabulary and how to apply the labels.

        Thanks for your response and help.


  2. I don’t know if that made sense… when I wrote about policing ourselves. I mean when I encountered the lesbians who were against transgender women and men specifically, they used the same sexist or chauvinist language against them… falling into gender stereotyping and binary thinking roles… and so it didn’t have to be perpetuated by a “heterosexual patriarchal traditional person” directly… it was all built into it and founded on it so that the lesbians were enforcing chauvinism. And they meant to be against chauvinism and sexism. Like, they are feminists.

    I’m bisexual… and I support the LGBTQA communities… and still need to learn about my own micro-aggressions due to ignorance.

    thanks again for the forum.

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