We Need a New Word

I don’t like the word “transsexual”. There are a couple of reasons here. First, it’s a term with very uncomfortable associations with the medical establishment and is popular with pornographers and Janice Raymond (Boo! Hiss!), and, second, refers not to the person’s actual identity and how it relates to how they’re gendered by those around them, but instead to whether or not they desire/have willingly undergone medical interventions to alleviate gender dissonance. It’s also fairly binarist in its history and usage (h/t to Dreki for pointing that out) and so should probably be changed anyway, but, specifically, it doesn’t give the most important bit of meaning.

The natural grouping here is not “people with strong enough dysphoria to decide to risk physical transition” and “everyone else”, which the transsexual term implies. There’s a far more natural way of slicing this in “people whose assigned gender matches their gender instinct” and “people whose assigned gender does not match their gender instinct”. Following the existing pattern, unless we’re going to change the latin we’re using, this should be cis(something) and trans(something), respectively, but I don’t have a “something” right now.

There is, of course, another trans- word here, “transgender”. This one is an even worse fit for what I’m trying to get across, since it’s an umbrella term that includes not only transitioners, but also people whose natural gender presentation doesn’t match their gender, meaning masculine women and feminine men, such as crossdressers. This group is different from, and overlaps, the gender-misassigned, and I don’t want to use a word that includes them when I’m writing theory that is more properly about the first group, because that would be exclusionary; solidarity words should only be used when you’re actually expressing solidarity.

So, I’m looking to invent a new word (well, new antonym pair) that actually says what I want to say. Takers?

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