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Allyship

#CisWithTheT Trends as Thousands Decide to Speak Out & Denounce Transphobia

Handmade sign reading "Trans Lives Matter" at protest of Donald Trump's election in November 2016
Josh Steichmann / Shutterstock.com

The internet works in mysterious ways sometimes, and Twitter trends are no exception. 

Seemingly out of nowhere, the hashtag “#CisWithTheT” started trending in the United Kingdom and elsewhere today, with many people — but mostly cis white women — declaring they are comfortable with trans women in women’s spaces and beyond.

It may seem like the hashtag came up randomly, but it follows a visceral amount of transphobia in media and public discourse over recent days. Besides the ongoing controversies surrounding Dave Chappelle, trans youth in sports, and the usual-but-still-ridiculous “pronouns are stupid” declarations, a BBC story was published this week with the title, ‘We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women’.

The story cites a study by “Get the L Out,” an anti-trans organization, purportedly reflecting the perspective of several lesbians who claim that they are being targeted for being anti-trans or not wanting trans women in cis women spaces.

As the title of the article suggests, several claim they and others have experienced “pressure” (as is used several times in the story) from trans women to accept having sex with them. One person is reported as saying that people “would rather kill me than Hitler” and even tweets and quotes included by other trans people that support lesbians’ efforts to exclude trans women. 

Despite the backlash, of course, the BBC has stood by their story in a statement and asserts that it is editorially sound, even though if you accept their own story’s reporting on its face, the so-called “pressure” being experienced by cis women is only from “a minority of trans women.”

Still, the report only encourages TERFs and anti-trans advocates, such as the LGB Alliance, who is even quoted in the BBC report as being “particularly concerned about younger and therefore more vulnerable lesbians.” With their scaremongering being furthered, the anti-trans group has tried to assert that the Twitter hashtag is an attempt to “silence” TERFs and cis women and lesbians.

Some have even pushed “#IStandWithLesbians” as a retort and claim that the hashtag attacks those who have been raped, although only one such allegation is reported by the BBC and is not the focus of the article or subsequent tweets.

Yet, much of #CisWithTheT is cis women speaking up for themselves, seemingly unfettered.

Several other people spoke up too, on behalf of trans women and others in the community.

Others made a point to note that while making tweets in support of trans women is fine and dandy, there is much more that needs to be done to protect trans and gender non-conforming people, especially as a litany of anti-trans laws here in the United States continue to take effect and anti-trans rhetoric continues to find a home in mainstream media outlets.

Thankfully, while some responses may be performative, many others are committing themselves to supporting trans people beyond typing on their keyboards.

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