Twitter users are in an uproar after Elon Musk replied to a tweet and announced that “the words ‘cis’ or ‘cisgender’ are considered slurs on this platform.”
Cis and cisgender are terms used to refer to people whose gender corresponds with their assigned gender at birth. As their usage has grown, however, the terms faced backlash from anti-LGBTQ activists who object to their prevelance in the mainstream lexicon.
Musk’s post came in response to a tweet from a user who said that after they claimed they would never use the word cisgender, people sent him numerous tweets calling him a “cissy.”
“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,” wrote @JamesEsses.
“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,” Musk said.
The matter kicked off when Esses, who describes himself as focued on “the impact of ideology on society and the safeguarding of children” said, “I formally and publicly declare that I reject the label of ‘cis.'”
Although Esses’ proclamation reads like the same kind of copypasta people share on Facebook to reject fake news alerts about Mark Zuckerberg changing the site’s terms of service, Esses was indeed sent some tweets that called him both “cis” and a “cissy.”
“Thank you for standing up for reality, Elon,” Esses wrote after Musk replied to his concern about what he felt was target harassment. In his response, Musk also shared a since-debunked claim that the term “cis” was coined by a pedophile.
Still, the fact that Musk claimed a commonplace word could no longer be used on his platform because it upset anti-trans activists prompted backlash and jokes.
One user pointed out that as hate speech has soared on Twitter since Musk took over, his deeming cisgender a slur means people could now say it all they want.
“‘The words cis and cisgender are considered slurs on this platform’ cool, I guess that means I get to say them with absolute impunity & total freedom from consequences,” they wrote.
And the effort to try to ban the word may have backfired, as this morning “Cisgender” was trending with over 70,000 tweets.