In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to distinguish between married and unmarried women while allowing abortion when the foetus is between 20-24 weeks. Going a step further, the court said the term ‘woman’ in the judgment included persons other than cisgender women.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is cisgender?
- Cisgender: Origins of the term
- Criticism of the word
What is cisgender?
- The term cisgender is used to define people whose gender identity and expression match the identity assigned to them at birth.
- When a child is born, it is assigned a gender identity based on its physical characteristics.
- Many believe that gender is a social construct, and growing up, the child may or may not confirm to the birth identity.
- For transgender people, their sense of gender identity does not match the one assigned to them at birth.
- Thus, a cisgender woman is a person who was assigned female at birth and continues to identify as a woman. On the other hand, a child assigned female at birth can feel it identifies more authentically as a man as it grows up.
Cisgender: Origins of the term
- The latin prefix ‘cis’ literally means ‘on the same side of’, while ‘trans’ means on the other side.
- Trans as a prefix is used commonly (transatlantic, trans-tasman), though cis is rarer in popular usage.
- ‘Cisgender’ entered Britain’s Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, and the USA’s Merriam Webster Dictionary in 2016.
- Both dictionaries document its first usage around 1994.
Criticism of the word
- Some people, including those working on trans rights, feel terms like ‘cisgender’ belong in the realm of gender theory alone, and their usage can be counterproductive – people are less likely to grasp a message if they have to look up the individual words that make up the message.
- Others feel ‘cisgender’ as a counter to ‘transgender’ is restrictive – reinforcing a binary of genders that many choose to reject – and does not have space for intersex people (people born with a combination of male and female biological features).
-Source: Indian Express