I love “cis” and “neurotypical” and “non-binary.”

Because they reject the default setting.

“Cis” is the opposite of “trans,” as in cisgender, meaning (more or less) “identifying as the gender that [society tends to] correlate[s] with the body parts you were born with.”

Neurotypical” is used to describe people who are not on the Autism spectrum. 

[Update from the comments:  Unstrangemind explains that “neurotypical is the opposite of neurodivergent. The opposite of Autistic is allistic. I know many people who are allistic but not neurotypical.”   I love this even more — two different ways of rejecting the default setting.]

Both of these terms reject the concept that the opposite of transgender or autistic is “normal,” and I love them for precisely that reason: they reject the default setting.

I love reading the thoughts and experiences of people who are trans, or autistic, or non-binary, which is being “on the spectrum,” but just another spectrum. I love that parents are more and more open to listening to kids who don’t want to live as the gender they were physically assigned.

I love fat activism, which says beauty norms are contingent and health and happiness come in many shapes and sizes. The fact that we now insist that women have flat stomachs and men have six-packs seems as random as fashion, and as open to change if we all open our minds.

I love universal design, which says you can build a structure for every body, not an archi-typical structure that you then have to retrofit to accommodate people whose bodies and abilities don’t fall within a narrow part of that spectrum. A structure that accommodates all of us from the start.*

Why, I’ve asked myself, would a cis, largely neurotypical, straight, nondisabled, averaged-sized person find these concepts so compelling? Because they reject the cubbyholes society creates for all of us. My theory is that every time a trans*, autistic, non-binary, fat, and/or disabled person makes society pry open its language and — following close behind** — its minds, we all win. It pushes back against the default setting and makes it easier for us all to be who we are and find or create our own cubbyhole, or none, or multiple.

I love Robot Hugs pretty much any day, but this comic was timed perfectly for this post, which had been rattling around in my head for a while.

2014-07-21-Gender Rolls

Image description by the artist:

GENDER ROLLS:

Daily Gender Check:

Roll Three:

Roll 1d8

1 – Agender

2 – Genderqueer

3 – Trans

4 – Genderfluid

5 – Cis

6 – Non-Binary

7 – Questioning

8 – Bigender

Roll 1d10

1 – Dapper

2 – Femmetype

3 – Twinky

4 – Sophisticate

5 – Androgynous

6 – Leather

7 – Flexible

9 – Queerdo

10 – Nonconforming

Roll 1d12

1 – Princex

2 – Dragon

3 – Beefcake

4 – Shortcake

5 – Dudebro

6 – Gentleperson

7 – Cumberbatch

8 – Butch

9 – Bear

10 – Dandy

11 – Otter

12 – Queen

A: What did you get today?

B: Genderqueer femmetype dudebro

A: Tough one.

B: Nah, I’m going to totally rock it. You?

A: Agender sophisticate dragon.

B: Nice.

*************

* That said, the next person who says a building is “accessible without looking all disabled or hospital like” gets whapped upside the head (gently but effectively) with a soft, non-fatal, but memorable wheelchair part.

** I’m a linguistics major and happy to talk about how language shapes thought — I wrote a thesis on it! — so ask at your peril!

5 thoughts on “I love “cis” and “neurotypical” and “non-binary.”

  1. captainglittertoes

    Nice post! I like the robot-hugs comic. I also wanted to note that “binary” is probably the word you’re looking to add in your title. It’s the more privileged category (compared to non-binary).

    Like

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Peter Singer and the TERFs: We Know You Better Than You Know Yourself | Thought Snax

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