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No, Being Called Cisgender Is Not Offensive

No, Being Called Cisgender Is Not Offensive

No, Being Called Cisgender Is Not Offensive

But, making a film where a cis actor playing a trans woman mutilates herself? That’s offensive.

Girl is one of the most disturbing and frustrating films this awards season, largely because its director, Lukas Dhont, chose to cast a cisgender actor as a young transgender ballerina who -- spoiler alert -- mutilates herself by cutting off her own penis in a Black Swan-esque attempt to be "perfect." Critics have panned the film, with OUT's own Tre'vell Anderson calling it "a dangerous, traumatizing, small-minded, and one-dimensional representation of the trans experience."

Dhont was part of a panel discussion called "Gender Equality is THE Way Forward," and discussed his frustration with the backlash to his film, specifically the argument that as a cisgender man, he has no place telling such a deeply intimate and potentially harmful story about a trans character.

"I really feel like when I read an article about Girl and it will say, 'cis director Lukas Dhont,' I see that as an offensive thing," he said, according to Screen Daily. "If you write about a female director and talk about that she is female just to make a point, I would find that extremely offensive as well...I'm excited seeing female filmmakers tackle any subject they want, and I'm excited to see trans directors tell any story they want. I hope that is the future."

Sis, being called "cis" is not an insult. "Cisgender" literally just means "not trans," and trying to act as if it is oppressive is offensive to trans people. Cisgender folks are happy to qualify our gender -- to most cis folks, I will always be a trans woman, never just a woman -- but not your own. Also, you do not get to make a movie about a trans girl who cuts her dick off starring a cis actor and then get mad when someone calls you cis, sis!

Being unable to accept the very understandable anger of trans people -- who are finally being given the chance to tell our own stories on screen and still seeing trans roles go to cis actors -- and claiming that the major problem in the discourse surrounding his film is the fact that people are calling him cis just shows how out of his depth Dhont is and how he should never been allowed to make this movie. And to compare his "struggle" to female directors being reduced to their gender is such a false equivalency I'd scream if I wasn't worried someone would ask, "are you ok, sir?" Because trans people actually have to fight against attacks big and small against our gender identity everyday, and the last thing most of us would do is complain about being called "trans" when the alternative is so much worse.

The devil works hard, but cisgender men obsessed with trans people work harder. What a cishole.

RELATED | Netflix's Girl is Dangerous and Doesn't Deserve an Oscar

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