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June 26, 2023

Musk Sanitizing ‘Cis’ and ‘Cisgender’ Slurs

Is it censorship, or re-instilling normality?

Elon Musk, mercurial owner of Twitter, announced last week that he would be adding the terms “cis” and “cisgender” to the list of slurs that are banned on the social media platform. “Cis” and “cisgender” refer to a person who is a particular sex and identifies as that sex. As the late great Norm McDonald said, “It’s a way of marginalizing a normal person.”

The term “cisgender” was introduced to the lexicon in 1991 by a person named Volkmar Sigsuch. Surprise, surprise, Sigsuch was a German sexologist who promoted pedophilia. This underlines once again the intrinsic link between transgender ideology and the ultimate goal of normalizing pedophilia. To be clear, this man’s depraved ideas are not particularly at issue. However, the words he created to marginalize normal, productive people who are not struggling with gender identity are.

It is also of a piece with any LGBTQ+ orientation to use words to describe normal male-female sexual attraction as a way to demean rather than describe. “Heterosexual” and “straight” are the typical words, but “cis” and “cisgender” are wielded like a cudgel against people with identify with reality.

In fact, the very use of these words was the impetus for the ban. James Esses, cofounder of Thoughtful Therapists, posted on his Twitter platform: “Yesterday, after posting a Tweet saying that I reject the word ‘cis’ and don’t wish to be called it, I receive a slew of messages from trans activists calling me ‘cissy’ and telling me that I am ‘cis’ ‘whether or not I like it’. Just imagine if the roles were reversed.” To which Musk personally replied: “Repeated, targeted harassment against any account will cause the harassing accounts to receive, at minimum, temporary suspensions. The words ‘cis’ or ‘cisgender’ are considered slurs on this platform.”

The immediate reaction to this news from Musk was jubilation. This nonsensical word that is thrown in regular people’s faces is tiresome. Having a social media platform that is a relief from the abuse is refreshing.

However, there was the niggling thought about Musk’s stance on free speech. Musk is a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist. If transgender terms are censored, is it not restricting speech? Does that not violate Musk’s own principles?

Then again, Twitter’s own policy on hate speech is, “You may not directly attack other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” When viewed in this light, not permitting “cis” and “cisgender” is actually being fair. Perhaps it has been so long since conservatives have had someone who captains culture bring nuance to the conversation that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to have fair treatment.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling — who is by no means a conservative — commented on Musk’s enforcement of the Twitter policy on this matter. She said: “‘Cis’ is ideological language, signifying belief in the unfalsifiable concept of gender identity. You have a perfect right to believe in unprovable essences that may or may not match the sexed body, but the rest of us have a right to disagree, and to refuse to adopt your jargon.” To which Musk replied, “Exactly.”

We are at a tenuous point in our battle for truth. Musk has given users a place where they will no longer be harassed because of their beliefs about sexuality, and that is creating a public square where more productive conversations can be had.

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