Definition of Cisman

The Difference Between Cisgender and Transgender

Man with Full Beard

RoBeDeRo / Getty Images

A cisman, shorthand for "cissexual man" or "cisgender man," is a non-transsexual man—a man whose assigned gender is male, and whose assigned male gender is more or less consistent with his personal sense of self. This distinguishes him from transmen, shorthand for "transgender men"—men who were initially assigned a female gender, but who now have a male identity. If you identify as a man but are not a transgender man, you're a cisman.

Cisgender and transgender identity are grounded in gender roles, but because gender roles are socially constructed and gender is not a very clearly-defined concept, the argument could be made that nobody is completely cisgender or transgender—that these are relative terms representing individual experiences of what gender is. As Ashley Fortenberry, a local transwoman, explains:

"Gender cannot be defined by anyone other than the individual... Gender is personal and is based on ideas and characteristics that usually pertain to a specific sex. The simple fact is that everyone has characteristics of the opposite gender."

Pronunciation: "siss-man"

Also Known As: cissexual man, cisgender man, cisguy, "natural-born man" (offensive)

Antonyms: transwoman