Name Game
  • sarahcl
    March 30, 2010

    Argh! the dreaded ‘cis’ prefix has spread this far already!

    As if any of us perform gender perfectly.

  • ally
    March 30, 2010

    I think being cis gender is more about identifying as the same gender you were assigned at birth- if you’re taking hormones and have SRS, your biological sex can match your gender identity, but you can still identify as trans.

    While cis isn’t perfect, I think it’s better than pretending the categories are “trans” and “normal”.

  • Les
    March 30, 2010

    I have mixed feelings about this particular strip.

    I mean, cis isn’t there to make you feel guilty, it’s just to have a word that means “not trans” without that word being “normal” as Ally says above. I’m fully covered by the word “male,” but I’m not cis.

    I’m also a composer and the idea that musical output is without gender baggage is kind of funny, but I’m not sure it’s true. It’s also kind of discouraging that they smile as they retreat into privilege. They don’t have to talk about cis/trans issues if they don’t feel like it. They can just sing and be happy.

  • Rinconboy
    March 30, 2010

    LOVE this! The universal language.

  • narrwahl
    March 30, 2010


  • Azundris
    March 30, 2010

    So is the note they’re humming a cis (C sharp)? :)

  • Oliver
    March 30, 2010

    Dorothy, this is beautiful.

  • Niha
    March 30, 2010

    I’m with Ally,in “cis” and “trans” being better than “normal” and “trans”. Even if you define “normal” just as the more frequent thing, it sounds as if what is not “normal” would be bad, or ill.

  • chase
    March 30, 2010

    YES! thanks from the genderqueers.

  • Egypt Urnash
    March 30, 2010

    “You have to come look at this Cat & Girl”, my boyfriend said.

    Shortly afterwards, I was rubbing my breasts on his head and whistling the end titles of Looney Tunes shorts. He was left feeling unclean.

  • Laura Ess
    March 30, 2010

    So many cisgendered folk will probably feel like Girl initially does. It threw me when I first heard it last year, and I’m transgender about to do a graphic novel all about gender transition!

    Methinks though that the last row demonstrates the correct response to many modern distinctions. As a (hopefully) active pagan I recognise that while we chop the world up into a million identifiable bits with our minds and language, ultimately it is all one.

  • jayinchicago
    March 30, 2010

    It’s a perfectly fine word. geez. can’t i go an hour looking at the internet without running into this?

  • totalfox
    March 30, 2010

    Oh hey Jay.

  • jayinchicago
    March 30, 2010

    howdy neighbor

  • Copacetic
    March 30, 2010

    The cis/trans distinction implies an annoyingly Manichean distinction. “Trans” does not simply imply that I am dissatisfied with my biological [sic?] gender, but that I prefer the only available alternative.

    It seems unlikely that there are only two options.

  • Eris
    March 30, 2010

    Yes, yes. I’m so sick of people throwing around “privilege” and related language. It is part of the reason I don’t hang out with other transfolk. :(

    Music is the language of us all!

  • The Modesto Kid
    March 30, 2010

    I love, love, love this strip. Thanks so much.

  • Andy L
    March 30, 2010

    Ha-ha. I love that Girl carries The List around with her.

  • Andy L
    March 30, 2010

    Grrl’s half-hearted attempt at stopping Girl from adding it to the list is also great.

  • JoshH
    March 30, 2010

    Yes! Finally us cisgendered folk have been recognised as a legitimate group.

  • The Modesto Kid
    March 30, 2010

    The list is great — also the relief Girl and Grrl feel when they just stop talking.

  • Nick Brienza
    March 30, 2010

    I understand the sentiment, but don’t hate the “cis-” prefix just because it’s being used by the gender scolds. :) My group of friends includes a lot of really laidback transpeople and genderfluid people, and we use “cisgender” because it’s just really handy to have a term for “not trans.” It’s a shame if the identity politics crowd is using it as a guilt hammer, but that’s not the word’s fault. Also, we have tried the whistling and it didn’t really work, especially when we needed to give driving directions that didn’t involve nectar. :)

  • Erika
    March 30, 2010

    It is rather frustrating that not all ideas can be put into words; that words are an imperfect attempt to describe reality. I like the music idea…. it’s better than words at capturing emotions, certainly, although it’s extremely inefficient at transmitting hard data.

    I suppose you could encode data into it somehow. But then you’d still be using words, just translated ones.

  • sep
    March 30, 2010

    Hmm hmm hmmm ta ta ta te tum tum…

  • Emily
    March 30, 2010

    Anyone else notice how Girl only smiles when she’s caught up in a rare moment of irrational optimism?

  • Inara
    March 30, 2010

    This, out of every Cat and Girl strip, did not just make me laugh but made me genuinely smile.

  • Emily
    March 30, 2010

    (e.g. – The Return, Hot Topic, Great Escapes, Secrets of the Sofas, Winners and Losers, Evangelists, CCTV, Surrounded, Pyramid Scheme, Hunters and Gatherers, Minus One, Morning in America especially…)

    (Except for in ‘Grace.’ It is never irrational to be optimistic about bacon.)

  • Nny
    March 31, 2010

    reading this comic, i had the same reaction girl did. my sex and gender identity do happen to match and i started to feel bad about it.
    i dont think the problem is with the words so much as their definition. who decided what normal is anyway? religion teaches were all far from perfect, evolution says we`re the culmintaion of the best of biological accidents. either way, we all have to breathe, eat, and crap to stay alive.
    also, wether or not you believe in God, The Cribs and Streetlight Manifesto make a pretty good playlist. that is scientific fact. anyone who says otherwise is a communist. your not a commie, are you?

  • P
    March 31, 2010

    This made me incredably happy!
    Although as a chemist we often shorten cis to ‘Z’ & trans to ‘E’ when naming isomers (molecules with the same parts just layed out differently), so my first reaction was to think of the contraction Z-Gend. & E-Gend. Also to think of cis people/Trans people standing in the appropriate shapes :D
    Still just to throw something else into the mix, I don’t particularly identify as Male of Female, more just as mentally androgynous, or something to that affect…so while it doesn’t usualy bother me too much (I figure there’s not too much to do about it, & just get on as I normaly do) I am somewhat between the two categories…

  • Lisa Harney
    March 31, 2010


    “cisgender” doesn’t mean “normal.” The whole idea is to remove any standing for a “normal.” You have people who are cis and you have people who are trans. That’s all it means. It deconstructs normal, and does not reinforce it.

    Nick, “gender scolds?” I don’t recall finding anyone trying to use “cis” to make anyone feel guilty, but I certainly see a lot of cis people who certainly react that way.

  • sfe
    March 31, 2010

    i like what Erika said:)
    :( I can’t seem to find who’s whistlin’/singin’/playin’ the same tune as me (or I the same as them?)

  • Ben Kirkup
    March 31, 2010

    The so-called humanities sometimes have something ingenious to say, and sometimes they seem to get confused. While I can sympathize with an amputee, I will not attempt to equate such a state with ‘normal’ and ‘healthy.’ I know that some blind and deaf persons are offended by their state being considered lacking in any way, but I cannot offer them any other honest evaluation.

  • Celeste
    March 31, 2010

    Yeah, this totally gets it. “That’s not the (point)-” it’s not about guilt for having privilege, but starting off with being aware of it, y’know?

    This strip is basically every kind of win.

  • J
    March 31, 2010

    Hmmmmmm hmmm hmmm ta ta ta te tum tum

  • Anonymous
    March 31, 2010

    haters gonna hate

  • Mr Lapin
    March 31, 2010

    I’m OK with the idea that non-transsexual might want a label other than “normal.” If not “cis,” invent something.

    But it seems to me that this “gender” stuff is like calling urinating “wee-wee” and table legs “limbs.” Gender refers to nouns. Sex refers to people. I don’t understand why we can’t use the grownup words any more – sexual identity, transsexual, sex, and so on. Are we that uncomfortable with saying “sex”?

    Maybe I should just go hum a nice tune in the corner.

  • Michael
    March 31, 2010

    Gender is about more than screwing.

  • Fred Davis
    March 31, 2010

    I would like to table the notion that people who spend a lot of time complaining about the term “cis” shall be labelled “fac-persons” until they stop whining.

  • A chemist
    March 31, 2010

    Sorry Fred Davis, but if one group of people were “fac-persons”, their counterparts would actually be called “mer-persons”.
    Which implies the existence of fishtails, and I don’t think that’s the image we’re going for…

  • Naomi
    March 31, 2010

    Mr. Lapin:

  • dan
    March 31, 2010

    the last I checked, Word was a virus, pretty sure about that one

  • Rachel
    April 1, 2010

    No, no. “Virus” is a word.

  • Chris
    April 2, 2010

    Gender has been borrowed from linguistics, and will soon include other meanings: “I think he’s perverted, Stan. He told me he had gender with a woodchuck.” … “Pull up your pants, Russel. I told you, anal gender is high-risk fun!” — George Carlin

  • Katie
    April 6, 2010

    Ultimately I don’t see the need for this kind of categorizing, we’re creating labels exponentially to try to break down the use and need for labels. Which is kind of making everything worse. I know plenty of gay straight trans queer and everything in between people, and sweating over labels seems like more effort than good.

  • gus
    April 6, 2010

    No, no — I’m adding it to the list.

  • Chris C.
    April 12, 2010

    I don’t have anything more intelligent to add than the rest here, and I love this comic, but I don’t think ‘cis’ as a prefix necessarily has to incite guilt.

    For the ‘privileged’ (however defined), don’t waste time feeling guilty – it’s a miserable, useless emotion! However, adding a new prefix, ‘cis’, seems like a small adjustment to make if it starts to lessen the discrimination faced by trans folk.

  • Abdullah the Gut Slasher
    June 7, 2010

    And the moral of the story is… singing sounds better than speaking in sqeaky voice!

  • lifethelemon
    October 11, 2010

    I love this strip, I am white, male, heterosexual, cisexual, et cetera. I totally have a List.

  • J
    January 11, 2011

    Oh boo hoo, the cisgender kids have to “feel bad” about a term that was created to empower. What poor, troubled souls. Haha, oh wait who fucking gives a shit? Cisgender is a term that is both important in discussions on gender theory and necessary to bring cis and trans folk just a little bit closer to a level playing field. I am completely disgusted by the kind of people who refuse to accept the term “cisgender.” As much as I love Cat and Girl, this one leaves a bad taste in my mouth. As is mentioned above, cis is not a term used to make cis men and women feel bad, it’s used to validate everybody’s gender identity.

  • Gareth
    February 23, 2011

    Can I be cis~human?
    I’ve just become sort of ok about being born human.

  • The Nerd
    December 15, 2011

    That feeling Girl gets… that’s the feeling of running face-first into the glass door of privilege awareness.

  • Gwen
    June 1, 2012

    If Girl wanted something to feel bad about…before this comic I felt like I connected with her. Now I will have to try and remember that she views me as the “other”. I have been catching up on Cat and Girl recently…hopefully she will grow past this.

  • Anne
    November 9, 2012

    Makes me think of Vonnegut’s Harmonium’s

  • Golux
    October 12, 2013

    Heh, organic chemistry was worth something. And CJD, Kuru and BSE are caused by prions doing a sort of cis to trans refold on proteins in the brain which renders them totally useless killing the brain matter that contains them. The prions being indestructible, continue being a catalyst in this process till the brain resembles Swiss Cheese. When passed on by consumption, this inert, lifeless molecule melts the next brain it infects.

  • David Thomsen
    August 24, 2023

    Content that could not be created these days as Elon Musk had decreed that ‘cisgender’ is a slur

Add comment