The Social Perception, Attitudes, Mental Simulation Lab

Gender Glossary: Cisgender Experience


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Term and Definition:

Cisgender experience (or cisgender identity): Refers to the combination of a birth-assigned category and current gender identity that are the same. (Cis- is the Latin prefix for “on the same side as.”) Thus, a cisgender person is on the same side of his or her birth-assigned gender label. Cisgender identity appears to be the most numerically common profile of gender experience (see Tate, Lebdetter, & Youssef, 2012, Table 1). Further, cisgender identities always mark in language the gender identity that the person currently has. For instance, if a person was assigned to the female gender at birth (based on external genitalia) and also identifies as female now, then this person is considered a cisgender woman (or, cis woman). Virtually all cis women prefer female pronouns (she/her/hers) to communicate their identity. Similarly, if a person was assigned to the male gender at birth (based on external genitalia) and also identifies as male now, then this person is considered a cisgender man (or, cis man). Virtually all cis men prefer male pronouns (he/him/his) to communicate their identity.

Return to Glossary of Gender-Related Terms

Go to our Definition List of Gender-Related Terms (all terms; alphabetically listed)

Note: This glossary of terms was compiled by Charlotte Tate, Ph.D. (who publishes under "Charlotte Chuck Tate" to have female, trans, and butch lesbian visibility simultaneously) and Jay Ledbetter, M.A., in an attempt to provide quick, concise definitions of gender-related concepts to a general audience. Most of the definitions are paraphrased and expanded from manuscripts and published articles by these two authors. All of the definitions were inspired by and summarize existing work on gender identity in gender studies. Accordingly, the point of the glossary is not to provide definitive definitions of the terms listed; instead, the point of the glossary is to help people understand the various experiences of gender that people have and how these experiences are related to psychological science.

On a practical level, this means that some scholars and activists may disagree with some the definitions within the glossary (esp. concerning the meaning of “genderqueer”). Nonetheless, we offer the glossary as a starting point, and, an admittedly incomplete, compendium so that readers of Dr. Tate’s websites can have some understanding of the terms used. This is a living document and will change over time with additional research, findings, and feedback.

For those interested in further discussions (both academic and popular) of the gender categories and concepts presented in this glossary, we may find this bibliography helpful.