Breaking Down the Binary: Cisgender

By Shane Stahl • April 19, 2019 • 12:23 pm

Over the next few weeks, we’ll work to break down the many different gender identities that exist, provide context for what each means, and further illustrate how gender identity protections benefit a multitude of different people. Click here to read our previous entry, Breaking Down the Binary: An Introduction.  


The term that encompasses the majority of people, “cisgender” essentially means non-transgender. It refers to a person who is assigned a sex at birth and also identifies with the gender usually associated with that sex. “Cis-” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as,” and is therefore the opposite of “trans-.” 

 In short: a cisgender man is a man who was assigned “M” on his birth certificate, then raised as a boy, and then grew up continuing to identify as a man. A cisgender woman is a woman who was assigned “F” on her birth certificate, then raised as a girl, and then grew up continuing to identify as a woman. 

 While cisgender people do not typically experience gender identity-based discrimination in housing, employment, and public spaces, their identity is a valid one, and is covered by comprehensive nondiscrimination protections. 

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