Scroll To Top

Elon Musk Dials Up Transphobia on Twitter, Says 'Cis' Is a Slur

Elon Musk Dials Up Transphobia on Twitter, Says 'Cis' Is a Slur

Elon Musk

The controversial billionaire continues catering to far-right extremists and right-wing ideiology.

Twitter’s billionaire owner Elon Musk, who had previously declared himself a “free speech absolutist,” has now declared that the words “cis” and “cisgender” are slurs. He said that using the term in a “repeated, targeted" way could result in sanctions against accounts.

This dictate was issued following a complaint by a cisgender British anti-trans activist who found the term offensive.

“Yesterday, after posting a Tweet saying that I reject the word ‘cis’ and don’t wish to be called it, I received a slew of messages from trans activists calling me ‘cissy’ and telling me that I am ‘cis’ ‘whether or not I like it,’” wrote self-described “advocate on gender ideology” James Esses Tuesday. “Just imagine if the roles were reversed.”

Even though Musk was not tagged in the tweet, he responded to the complaint.

Elon Musk\u2019s tweet

“Repeated, targeted harassment against any account will cause the harassing accounts to receive, at minimum, temporary suspensions,” Musk wrote on Twitter shortly after midnight Wednesday. “The words’ cis’ or ‘cisgender’ are considered slurs on this platform.”

No insult is attached to the term or any associated criminal activity. Instead, the adjective indicates that someone is not transgender. According to the Human Rights Campaign, cisgender is “a term that describes a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth.”

GLAAD adds that the Latin prefix “cis” means “on the same side as, and is, therefore, an antonym of ‘trans-.’”

As a graduate student in 1994, researcher Dana Defosse needed a way to describe people who were not transgender in a way that wasn’t framed in normalcy, she wrote in an essay explaining how she coined the term for HuffPost in February.

Defosse told HuffPost she was not surprised by Musk’s decision after it was announced because he has been hostile to transgender people since he acquired the site last year, the site reports.

“The post on Twitter has degenerated into a sort of free-for-all for antisemitic and racist tropes, so it sort of fits in with the direction that platform is going,” Defosse said.

“The fact is, whether or not somebody identifies as cisgender doesn’t negate the fact that cisgender identity is a valid construct. It exists, and it has meaning in how we operate in the world,” she added. “Banning use of a word that’s part of our daily vocabulary around the world, that appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s a cowardly and futile attempt to censor an idea which is, in my opinion, way bigger and more enduring than anything Musk could hope to offer.”

Several recent changes to Twitter’s privacy policies have made transgender people feel unsafe using the app.

The social media platform reversed a policy prohibiting misgendering or deadnaming transgender people in April. Deadnaming is intentionally using a trans person’s name before they transition, which Twitter banned in 2018. Twitter used to label this conduct as harassment.

As Twitter’s hostility toward transgender people reaches new heights, Musk said misgendering individuals is “definitely allowed” on the platform in a tweet on the first day of Pride Month.

Elon Musk tweet

“Whether or not you agree with using someone’s preferred pronouns, not doing so is at most rude and certainly breaks no laws,” Musk wrote. I should note that I do personally use someone’s preferred pronouns, just as I use someone’s preferred name, simply from the standpoint of good manners. However, for the same reason, I object to rude behavior, ostracism or threats of violence if the wrong pronoun or name is used.”

Advocate Magazine - Gio BenitezAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories