Where are the women and non cis males?


Reading with interest, but I am a little baffled, as a white male fast approaching 50 years old (does this make me CIS - I admit I don’t fully understand the term and it kinda feels like an insult if I am honest) who has been making music in one form or another for over 30 years, I don’t have any accolades to speak of, feel pretty much totally undervalued as a musician, have never proved myself, and can only really point to a small number of folk on the whole internet who seem to appreciate what I do. Okay I have never particularly tried to become recognised (whatever that means) but regardless here I am, at the bottom of the musician pile in admiration of amazing folk (of any gender) who have apparently ‘made it’. I enjoy what I do and that’s enough for me.

Maybe I am just stupid, I mean I did think Sigur Ros (one of my favourite bands ever) had a female lead singer for far too long because I simply listened to the music and never actually watched anything so the true gender was completely lost on me. It wasn’t until I saw Heima that I realised my ‘mistake’.

I never ever attribute gender to posters here or anywhere else, unless they specifically draw attention to it. It just never occurs to me to do so.

I’m not sure what I am trying to say here other than I am sorry that some folk feel music is gender biased and I totally agree it shouldn’t be.


cis just means that a person’s gender identity matches the gender assigned to them at birth. it’s a descriptor. that’s all :slight_smile:


Thanks @analogue01

In that case I am only partly CIS

The other part is the portion of my identity that ‘feels’ feminine, even since I was a kid (all those many moons ago) I have always thought we are all a bit of both, with just a general inclination one way or the other. Kinda the same, but a bit different too. Is anyone, if they are really honest with themselves, 100% CIS? Or have I missed the point?

I’ve never felt the need to express this anywhere until here and now, and only because the question has been raised. I have no inclination to change my gender or anything. I have always accepted myself for who I am, even when made fun of for doing things other men folk deemed ‘girly’. I just don’t care about these things and what other people think - maybe that’s an outcome of my ‘privileged’ position in life?

I may have got the wrong idea here so happy to be corrected, it would appear that what is being said is that as a male happy with my birth gender I have a lot more privilege and opportunity than those who don’t fit into this category? Is this correct?

If so, then even more admiration to those who don’t fit into this category and have done great things regardless, and shame on me because even with all that advantage, I still amount to a big pile of musical nothing.

Then again, maybe it is precisely because of the oppression and difficulties that some folk have done so well? I know the biggest limitation in my life was being born disabled with quite a severe structural congenital defect; I spent the first 3 years of my life being operated on (they kept cutting my tendons letting them heal then cut them again, and again) and when they weren’t cutting me up I was restrained in splints, the doctors said I would never run, but f*ck them… I did run because I was determined to do so because I was told I wouldn’t be able to. I’ve climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. I am fairly convinced that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t had such a brutal start in life.

I hope this is okay, I’m just trying to understand.


Keep trying. You’re doing great. We all have a lot to learn, every day.


Cisgender is a relatively new (at least in popular usage in the English speaking world) neologism. It is often used with a pejorative flavour as a reaction to historical wounding i.e. in the same way it’s purported opposite “trans” was used. You may be picking up on this reality.

It’s widely assumed to be the “correct” descriptor, but it’s a word that has been invented and taken up, and is infact critiqued in the very academia from which it sprang, for serving the purpose of recapitulating the very same prejudice it purports to address i.e. by assuming an essential gender binary with which one has no conflict and is thus identified as “cisgendered”


That would make you cis-gendered, yes. Definitely not a bad thing, definitely not used as an insult! Just means that you are comfortable with your birth gender.

Also, gender and how you want to express it can be quite a spectrum, and quite fluid. I was very much a tomboy as a child - in fact, I was often mistaken for a boy because I had short hair and wasn’t interested in stereotypically ‘girl’ things. I did think I was a boy at times, too. Nowadays, I’m pretty happy being a woman, albeit one who is somewhat on the butch side…but that’s okay!

Regarding privilege and gender - I think the discussion isn’t meant to induce any guilt, nor is it meant to downplay individual challenges and achievements. For me, it’s about just acknowledging the experiences and challenges of not being the dominant gender of an area.


I just wanna say thanks to everyone pitching in to this discussion still.

I don’t come here (lines/forums) so much anymore, but this thread is a valuable read. With relaxed, insightful, respectful additions and comments. Not so everywhere where I brought up this discussion.

Hi-fives and hugs! :heart:


I think it might be worth clarifying, too, that ‘cis’ as a cultural term is mostly meant to mean ‘not-trans.’ So being partly ‘cis’ isn’t really a thing that’s available. It came from people trying to break away from assuming that being not-trans was “normal,” as was the language before it came into use. ‘Cis’ in no way on its own assumes gender essentialism, rather the society itself already does and the term denotes a distinction for those who are struggling against the definition that was put upon them.

Gender identity certainly stretches and weaves in many ways, and it seems most people probably cluster around man or woman, hopefully understanding that being a man doesn’t mean someone has to be masculine in everything and being a woman as feminine in everything. Traits themselves and presentation inform identity, as does the context the identity is being formed in, but they do not create it.

I think one of the reactionary things to being labeled ‘cis’ is a sense of exclusion, but that’s part of the point. While there is no The Trans Community, there are many parts of life for trans people that they have worked and struggled for. They have had to carve something out to define themselves. That doesn’t work the same way for people who are cis-gender, society is already built around them.

I understand that there’s a defensive response to say not-all-cis-people, but being cis is still a place of privilege regardless of how one is expressing their gender identity or gender politics. If a person identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, that doesn’t make them a bad person, but we should be aware that in terms of recorded history, being not-cis-gender was and continues to be incredibly difficult and risky.

‘Cis’ is certainly not an insult, and I think it’s important to say that if someone has a gender identity they can grab ahold of for themselves, that is a major positive. Being a man doesn’t equate to indulging in toxic masculinity, and in fact doesn’t have to be about masculinity at all. Queering gender identity is great, and if someone feels like they aren’t the gender that was assigned to them at birth that’s worth exploring. There are many great resources out there. Similarly, if someone doesn’t feel comfortable being out then passing can be an important armor for those who are in more dangerous situations.

I just want to make sure that to this point, someone saying “partly-cis” reads very much like wanting to have the cultural cache or whatever of being gender non-conforming without any of the inherent risk. This is a great space, and I’m personally grateful for the support I’ve received and seen spread among us, but after all this is just the internet.


Absolutely not my intention and I do not wish this interpretation to be associated with my words. Just no - that’s a horrible thing to accuse someone of. I am not impressed one little bit.

I guess you’re entitled to your opinion. As a cisgendered male I still find life incredibly difficult and I haven’t managed to carve out a space for myself anywhere and I don’t have any personal factors that could help me do so. I can only define myself in my own space on my own terms. I am alone. I am regularly judged on how I look. If I don’t look after myself no one else will. As old age approaches there is a possibility of finding some identity that enables support from others to hold onto there, but as a middle aged cisgendered male, I feel totally isolated and without any support whatsoever from anyone, anywhere. I spent years trying to find something and failed. I just learned to exist alone. Sometimes I have a nice girlfriend but it doesn’t last that long for whatever reason mostly because I find it extremely difficult to form close relationships and trust people. That’s just my lot in life. Sometimes I suffer from extreme anxiety, I can’t even go outside and when I do it takes an immense amount of effort to do so. I often portray an image of someone who is extremely confident and capable and in a sense it is true, but I work very, very hard to achieve that.

In short, life is incredibly difficult and risky no matter what your < insert anything here >

I don’t mean to be argumentative or to say anything other than everyone has their struggles in life, but also I don’t have any time for anyone saying that theirs are worse than mine or anyone else - who are they to judge? Well, they can judge all they like, I don’t mind, but I do think they are very wrong to do so.

Again, I wish no ill will and have no problem with anyone here and wish everyone the best :slight_smile:


I would never dispute this, but it comes off as dismissive to bring this up in what is a pretty specific discussion about specific struggles.


Apologies if my self defence from the attack on my character cause any upset - I thought this was a safe place.

My mistake… please continue as you were and ignore me. I am perfectly capable of living life without being involved in this thread any more.

Enjoy :slight_smile:


I find the notion of characterizing this discussion in terms of defense and attack unfortunate and a misunderstanding of intentions.


I think intersectionality is an important part of this discussion, and certainly disability, ageism, race, sexuality, social class, and many other issues and identities create risk and difficulty. If you’re interested in exploring your gender identity, please do, I want to be incredibly encouraging about this for everyone. I am very sorry for making you uncomfortable, and by no means was I saying your life is easy if you are cis-gender, but that specific aspect does have privilege, and that shouldn’t be ignored. But, as you said, there are many aspects of life that can make someone’s life difficult, that shouldn’t be ignored either. That’s just not what this discussion is about.


Okay, I accept your apology, lets just leave it at that!

Again, wishing you the very best :slight_smile:


I like this thread. I like that it gets messy sometimes…
Because there is no correct/incorrect way to discuss/engage with this stuff, in my opinion. Everyone’s just speaking honestly from the space they occupy, and that’s the best thing that can continue to happen! Reading both your thoughts on this IS THE conversation (@geh2oman and @Kel and all the other contributors).
So yeah…just some encouragement while I lurk.


Ok, let me not lurk because I can contribute something here.

First, @geh2oman let me say that your responses were really informative and very positive. I dig the way you talk about this stuff.

Next, @Kel I think it’s not completely ridiculous to feel as if “cis” has an insulting vibe to it. It can. Sometime people use it as if it’s just neutral, but it can have the feeling that it assumes something (words do this in general…“What water?”).

@sixnon made some good points:

Here’s a recent video of Rose McGowan in an argument with a trans woman where she (Rose) says “Do not put your label on me, I do not come from your planet.” Expressing the sentiment you’re expressing…and it’s something I kinda agree with too. The assumptions it makes just aren’t quite right from where I’m standing.

Also, that it’s a new word. So to feel as if we all need to catch up–that we’re all at a deficit and need to catch up on something we missed–isn’t exactly right. You said you’re 50. I’m 36 and it’s a new word to me too. It’s only been in my world, being used in the mouths of my friends for…about 6-7 years (?). I’m not quite sure how words make it into everyday speech, but this one still has training wheels on. Everyone’s figuring it out: mainstreaming it, reacting against it, dismissing it, etc…

So when you said you’re only partly CIS, I got what you were saying…and I think it’s good that you where trying to figure out where you stack up in relation to this new framing. There’s a willingness to play ball there and that’s helpful/pretty cool in general (Just outright aggression/rejection/reactionary stance wouldn’t have been as good…as civil…though still valid to the conversation.).

*edits to clarify, edits again: damn! I got your names mixed up! Corrected now. (sorry)


Throwing some fuel on the fire:
And here’s a video (about Millenialsplaining) from Gavin McInness who rejects the mainstreaming of the word cis. I know, I know…he’s definitely a flavorful conservative character, but he’s where he’s at and it’s good to hear his points to to know how to address them or to agree/disagree. And he says:

  • I know the word, still don’t want to use it
  • it’s actually an upper class vs lower class thing to want me to use it


Thanks @Angela, I couldn’t just ignore your post so it seems I am here again, I hope I can keep my responses messy, informative and positive :wink:

I totally get what you are saying about the label, and the video, wow! I promise I’m not that angry :star_struck: I was mildly irritated about being labeled with something I barely understand, but was more annoyed by having my attempt to understand and relate to it turned into an attempt by me to associate with it to benefit from it in some way. This really couldn’t be more wrong. Believe me, I am a fiercely independent person and have no need to associate with any group in any way. As I say all is forgiven and I can see that the intent wasn’t malicious - please allow me a little adjustment time - I just came in here from the cold.

There is part of me that would like to continue to thrash this out, if we can all agree that we’re all here with positive intentions and are not intending any harm, then I am open to that if it would be welcomed?


Exhausting even contemplating any kind of response to this at all. Completely lacking in any form of empathy. How do you communicate with someone who is actively rejecting the notion of communication itself?


@Angela, thank you, I do understand that it’s a word that can be thrown at people as a way of other-ing and distancing, which feels bad, it feels uncomfortable, especially if that happens to one’s self. I understand the sentiment of wanting to distance one’s self from this assumed position of negativity, but if “cis” is being used as an insult, it’s being done in the same way that “white” can be used, to account for the fact that there are people in that group who have more power do things that are shitty. We can dismantle #notallmen all day, but I think it’s on the part of everyone to acknowledge their part. It’s important to engage with a label, not just reject it.

I really have to say though, Rose McGowan’s position is incredibly problematic. Rose is trying to say that there’s no distinction between cis-women and trans-women (and then goes on to say no distinction between race too?) and tries to assume a monolithic woman experience, when that is definitely not the case. It’s very transphobic and creates this essentialist viewpoint centering on physical points of vulnerability. It’s one thing to agree, yes, trans-women are women, but you can’t do that and then say “You’re not a woman because you didn’t grow up as a woman.” There’s nobody in any broad defining category whose experience entirely maps that narrative. That doesn’t mean they don’t belong in those categories, because humans categorize things. Trying to erase the terminology around ‘cis’ and ‘trans’ is undermining the experience of people who don’t follow the normative narrative.

@Kel Likewise, I send many good vibes in your direction and I appreciate your candor.

I’m not directing this at anyone or trying to say a viewpoint is invalid, but we all have to work together on understanding each other, and part of that is understanding when our positions are privileged and what that means when we take a position. I was raised and socialized as a man, and I’m not going to reject that experience just because that’s no longer who I am; I try to use that experience to inform my actions and opinions in a more positive way for everyone.