Difference Between Man And Cis Man

Difference Between Man And Cis Man
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: A Guide To Gender Identity Terms. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

Gender expression is how you show the world your gender. It includes the way you dress, groom yourself, and act. Someone who identifies as male, for instance, may dress in what’s considered “men’s” clothes or have a certain kind of haircut.


Cisgender, or cis, means that the gender you identify with matches the sex assigned to you at birth. Transgender is when your gender identity differs from the sex on your birth certificate. In Latin, “cis” means “on this side,” while “trans” means “on the other side.”

A transgender woman had male genitals at birth but identifies as female. A transgender man had female genitals at birth but identifies as male.

People who are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or asexual and still identify themselves as the sex assigned to them at birth are cisgender.

Sex and Gender Identity

Not everyone’s sex at birth lines up with their gender identity. That identity is how you see yourself and what you call yourself — he, she, they, or neither. Non-binary gender identity is when your gender identity isn’t one of the two categories used in modern society — a man or a woman.

Some examples of non-binary gender identities include:

  • Genderqueer
  • Gender fluid
  • Agender
  • Bigender

Some people are gender nonconforming. That means they don’t follow social expectations of how a person of a particular gender should dress or act.

Gender expression is how you show the world your gender. It includes the way you dress, groom yourself, and act. Someone who identifies as male, for instance, may dress in what’s considered “men’s” clothes or have a certain kind of haircut.

In rare cases, people can be born with or develop issues with their external genitals, reproductive organs, or sex-related hormones. These are known as intersex conditions or disorders of sex development (DSD). They include things like:

  • Genitals that can’t be easily categorized as male or female
  • Gender differences between the genitals and the reproductive organs
  • Missing or underdeveloped reproductive organs
  • Too many or too few sex hormones or an unusual response to these hormones

Gender Identity vs. Sexual Orientation

The term sexual orientation is different from gender identity. It has to do with the gender for which you feel sexual desire or attraction. For example, a straight or heterosexual person feels attraction toward people of the opposite sex. Straight men find women attractive, while straight women feel attraction toward men.

Gay or lesbian means your attraction is to someone of the same sex. Gay men like other men. Lesbian women like other women. Bisexual people find both sexes attractive. Asexual people might not feel sexual attraction or may have little interest in having sex.

Gay, lesbian, or bisexual isn’t the same thing as transgender or gender nonconforming. For instance, a transgender person can be straight or gay.

Transgender Stigma

Societies often have fixed ideas about gender and what it means to be male or female. People who don’t meet those expectations may face stigma. They may face harassment or even physical abuse because of their gender identity.

People can also face discrimination at work and when trying to find housing because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Thirty percent of transgender people surveyed said their company had fired them, denied them a promotion, or mistreated them in some way due to their gender identity or expression.

Transgender people — especially transgender women of color — are at a higher risk of violence and sexual assault than cisgender people. More than 1 out of every 4 trans people have experienced a hate-based assault.

Gender identity can also lead to health inequalities. Transgender people are more likely than cisgender people to have long-term stress, mental health issues, and medical conditions due to stigma.

Many transgender people lack health insurance, which may be because they have higher rates of unemployment. Without insurance, it’s harder for them to see doctors and use other health care services.

Even when they do have insurance and can make doctors’ appointments, they may find that their doctors and nurses don’t have the training to care for transgender people. And they may face harassment and may not get care — especially if the sex on the ID they present at the time of service does not match their gender identity.

Other examples of areas where cisgender people may have more access or privilege than transgender people can include:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Legal protection

Show Sources

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: “It’s Sarah, Not Stephen!”

American Psychological Association: “Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality,” “Key Terms and Concepts in Understanding Gender Diversity and Sexual Orientation Among Students.”

bStigmaFree: “Reducing Stigma About Transgender Identities.”

GLAAD: “How is sexual orientation different from gender identity?” “Transgender FAQ.”

KidsHealth.org: “Sexual Attraction and Orientation.”

Human Rights Campaign: “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Definitions,” “Understanding the Transgender Community,” “Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2019.”

National Center for Transgender Equality: “Issues: Anti-Violence,” “The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.”

Richards, C. Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide, SAGE Publishing, 2013.

SAGE Open: “Gender Roles and Expectations: Any Changes Online?”

Social Science & Medicine: “Transgender stigma and health: A critical review of stigma determinants, mechanisms, and interventions.”

Sylvia Rivera Law Project: “Fact Sheet: Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Youth in School.”

Kanigel, R. The Diversity Style Guide, Wiley-Blackwell, 2019.

T-Vox.org: “Cisgender Privilege.”

A Guide To Gender Identity Terms

Laurel Wamsley at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., November 7, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)

“Pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It’s how someone refers to you in conversation,” says Mary Emily O’Hara, a communications officer at GLAAD. “And when you’re speaking to people, it’s a really simple way to affirm their identity.” Kaz Fantone for NPR hide caption

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Kaz Fantone for NPR

Difference Between Man And Cis Man

“Pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It’s how someone refers to you in conversation,” says Mary Emily O’Hara, a communications officer at GLAAD. “And when you’re speaking to people, it’s a really simple way to affirm their identity.”

Kaz Fantone for NPR

Issues of equality and acceptance of transgender and nonbinary people — along with challenges to their rights have become a major topic in the headlines. These issues can involve words and ideas and identities that are new to some.

That’s why we’ve put together a glossary of terms relating to gender identity. Our goal is to help people communicate accurately and respectfully with one another.

Proper use of gender identity terms, including pronouns, is a crucial way to signal courtesy and acceptance. Alex Schmider, associate director of transgender representation at GLAAD, compares using someone’s correct pronouns to pronouncing their name correctly – “a way of respecting them and referring to them in a way that’s consistent and true to who they are.”

Glossary of gender identity terms

This guide was created with help from GLAAD. We also referenced resources from the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Trans Journalists Association, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, Human Rights Campaign, InterAct and the American Psychological Association. This guide is not exhaustive, and is Western and U.S.-centric. Other cultures may use different labels and have other conceptions of gender.

One thing to note: Language changes. Some of the terms now in common usage are different from those used in the past to describe similar ideas, identities and experiences. Some people may continue to use terms that are less commonly used now to describe themselves, and some people may use different terms entirely. What’s important is recognizing and respecting people as individuals.

Jump to Pronouns: questions and answers

Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically assigned at birth, usually on the basis of external anatomy. Sex is typically categorized as male, female or intersex.

Gender is often defined as a social construct of norms, behaviors and roles that varies between societies and over time. Gender is often categorized as male, female or nonbinary.

Gender identity is one’s own internal sense of self and their gender, whether that is man, woman, neither or both. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not outwardly visible to others.

For most people, gender identity aligns with the sex assigned at birth, the American Psychological Association notes. For transgender people, gender identity differs in varying degrees from the sex assigned at birth.

Gender expression is how a person presents gender outwardly, through behavior, clothing, voice or other perceived characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine or feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture.

Cisgender, or simply cis, is an adjective that describes a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transgender, or simply trans, is an adjective used to describe someone whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth. A transgender man, for example, is someone who was listed as female at birth but whose gender identity is male.

Cisgender and transgender have their origins in Latin-derived prefixes of “cis” and “trans” — cis, meaning “on this side of” and trans, meaning “across from” or “on the other side of.” Both adjectives are used to describe experiences of someone’s gender identity.

Nonbinary is a term that can be used by people who do not describe themselves or their genders as fitting into the categories of man or woman. A range of terms are used to refer to these experiences; nonbinary and genderqueer are among the terms that are sometimes used.

Agender is an adjective that can describe a person who does not identify as any gender.

Gender-expansive is an adjective that can describe someone with a more flexible gender identity than might be associated with a typical gender binary.

Gender transition is a process a person may take to bring themselves and/or their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. It’s not just one step. Transitioning can include any, none or all of the following: telling one’s friends, family and co-workers; changing one’s name and pronouns; updating legal documents; medical interventions such as hormone therapy; or surgical intervention, often called gender confirmation surgery.

Gender dysphoria refers to psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. Not all trans people experience dysphoria, and those who do may experience it at varying levels of intensity.

Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Some argue that such a diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender incongruence, while others contend that a diagnosis makes it easier for transgender people to access necessary medical treatment.

Sexual orientation refers to the enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or other genders, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight orientations.

People don’t need to have had specific sexual experiences to know their own sexual orientation. They need not have had any sexual experience at all. They need not be in a relationship, dating or partnered with anyone for their sexual orientation to be validated. For example, if a bisexual woman is partnered with a man, that does not mean she is not still bisexual.

Sexual orientation is separate from gender identity. As GLAAD notes, “Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman. A person who transitions from female to male and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a gay man.”

Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe people with differences in reproductive anatomy, chromosomes or hormones that don’t fit typical definitions of male and female.

Intersex can refer to a number of natural variations, some of them laid out by InterAct. Being intersex is not the same as being nonbinary or transgender, which are terms typically related to gender identity.

Nonbinary Photographer Documents Gender Dysphoria Through A Queer Lens

The Picture Show

Nonbinary Photographer Documents Gender Dysphoria Through A Queer Lens

Pronouns: questions and answers

What is the role of pronouns in acknowledging someone’s gender identity?

Everyone has pronouns that are used when referring to them – and getting those pronouns right is not exclusively a transgender issue.

“Pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It’s how someone refers to you in conversation,” says Mary Emily O’Hara, a communications officer at GLAAD. “And when you’re speaking to people, it’s a really simple way to affirm their identity.”

“So, for example, using the correct pronouns for trans and nonbinary youth is a way to let them know that you see them, you affirm them, you accept them and to let them know that they’re loved during a time when they’re really being targeted by so many discriminatory anti-trans state laws and policies,” O’Hara says.

“It’s really just about letting someone know that you accept their identity. And it’s as simple as that.”

Difference Between Man And Cis Man

Getting the words right is about respect and accuracy, says Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Kaz Fantone for NPR hide caption

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Kaz Fantone for NPR

Difference Between Man And Cis Man

Getting the words right is about respect and accuracy, says Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Kaz Fantone for NPR

What’s the right way to find out a person’s pronouns?

Start by giving your own – for example, “My pronouns are she/her.”

“If I was introducing myself to someone, I would say, ‘I’m Rodrigo. I use him pronouns. What about you?’ ” says Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

O’Hara says, “It may feel awkward at first, but eventually it just becomes another one of those get-to-know-you questions.”

Should people be asking everyone their pronouns? Or does it depend on the setting?

Knowing each other’s pronouns helps you be sure you have accurate information about another person.

How a person appears in terms of gender expression “doesn’t indicate anything about what their gender identity is,” GLAAD’s Schmider says. By sharing pronouns, “you’re going to get to know someone a little better.”

And while it can be awkward at first, it can quickly become routine.

Heng-Lehtinen notes that the practice of stating one’s pronouns at the bottom of an email or during introductions at a meeting can also relieve some headaches for people whose first names are less common or gender ambiguous.

“Sometimes Americans look at a name and are like, ‘I have no idea if I’m supposed to say he or she for this name’ — not because the person’s trans, but just because the name is of a culture that you don’t recognize and you genuinely do not know. So having the pronouns listed saves everyone the headache,” Heng-Lehtinen says. “It can be really, really quick once you make a habit of it. And I think it saves a lot of embarrassment for everybody.”

Might some people be uncomfortable sharing their pronouns in a public setting?

Schmider says for cisgender people, sharing their pronouns is generally pretty easy – so long as they recognize that they have pronouns and know what they are. For others, it could be more difficult to share their pronouns in places where they don’t know people.

But there are still benefits in sharing pronouns, he says. “It’s an indication that they understand that gender expression does not equal gender identity, that you’re not judging people just based on the way they look and making assumptions about their gender beyond what you actually know about them.”

How is “they” used as a singular pronoun?

“They” is already commonly used as a singular pronoun when we are talking about someone, and we don’t know who they are, O’Hara notes. Using they/them pronouns for someone you do know simply represents “just a little bit of a switch.”

“You’re just asking someone to not act as if they don’t know you, but to remove gendered language from their vocabulary when they’re talking about you,” O’Hara says.

“I identify as nonbinary myself and I appear feminine. People often assume that my pronouns are she/her. So they will use those. And I’ll just gently correct them and say, hey, you know what, my pronouns are they/them just FYI, for future reference or something like that,” they say.

O’Hara says their family and friends still struggle with getting the pronouns right — and sometimes O’Hara struggles to remember others’ pronouns, too.

“In my community, in the queer community, with a lot of trans and nonbinary people, we all frequently remind each other or remind ourselves. It’s a sort of constant mindfulness where you are always catching up a little bit,” they say.

“You might know someone for 10 years, and then they let you know their pronouns have changed. It’s going to take you a little while to adjust, and that’s fine. It’s OK to make those mistakes and correct yourself, and it’s OK to gently correct someone else.”

What if I make a mistake and misgender someone, or use the wrong words?

Simply apologize and move on.

“I think it’s perfectly natural to not know the right words to use at first. We’re only human. It takes any of us some time to get to know a new concept,” Heng-Lehtinen says. “The important thing is to just be interested in continuing to learn. So if you mess up some language, you just say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ correct yourself and move forward. No need to make it any more complicated than that. Doing that really simple gesture of apologizing quickly and moving on shows the other person that you care. And that makes a really big difference.”

Why are pronouns typically given in the format “she/her” or “they/them” rather than just “she” or “they”?

The different iterations reflect that pronouns change based on how they’re used in a sentence. And the “he/him” format is actually shorter than the previously common “he/him/his” format.

“People used to say all three and then it got down to two,” Heng-Lehtinen laughs. He says staff at his organization was recently wondering if the custom will eventually shorten to just one pronoun. “There’s no real rule about it. It’s absolutely just been habit,” he says.

Amid Wave Of Anti-Trans Bills, Trans Reporters Say 'Telling Our Own Stories' Is Vital


Amid Wave Of Anti-Trans Bills, Trans Reporters Say ‘Telling Our Own Stories’ Is Vital

But he notes a benefit of using he/him and she/her: He and she rhyme. “If somebody just says he or she, I could very easily mishear that and then still get it wrong.”

What does it mean if a person uses the pronouns “he/they” or “she/they”?

“That means that the person uses both pronouns, and you can alternate between those when referring to them. So either pronoun would be fine — and ideally mix it up, use both. It just means that they use both pronouns that they’re listing,” Heng-Lehtinen says.

Schmider says it depends on the person: “For some people, they don’t mind those pronouns being interchanged for them. And for some people, they are using one specific pronoun in one context and another set of pronouns in another, dependent on maybe safety or comfortability.”

The best approach, Schmider says, is to listen to how people refer to themselves.

Why might someone’s name be different than what’s listed on their ID?

Heng-Lehtinen notes that there’s a perception when a person comes out as transgender, they change their name and that’s that. But the reality is a lot more complicated and expensive when it comes to updating your name on government documents.

“It is not the same process as changing your last name when you get married. There is bizarrely a separate set of rules for when you are changing your name in marriage versus changing your name for any other reason. And it’s more difficult in the latter,” he says.

“When you’re transgender, you might not be able to update all of your government IDs, even though you want to,” he says. “I’ve been out for over a decade. I still have not been able to update all of my documents because the policies are so onerous. I’ve been able to update my driver’s license, Social Security card and passport, but I cannot update my birth certificate.”

“Just because a transgender person doesn’t have their authentic name on their ID doesn’t mean it’s not the name that they really use every day,” he advises. “So just be mindful to refer to people by the name they really use regardless of their driver’s license.”

NPR’s Danny Nett contributed to this report.

Cisgender and Straight Don’t Mean the Same Thing — Here’s Why

five people smiling and laughing with one another

“Cisgender” is a word used to describe gender identity. “Straight,” on the other hand, is used to describe sexual orientation.

Being cisgender isn’t the same thing as being straight, but they can overlap. In fact, people can be both cisgender and straight.

Here’s what you need to know about when these labels apply, other terms to use, and more.

When you were born, people looked at your genitals and decided that you were a girl or boy based on what they saw.

As you grow up and learn about the concept of gender, you might identify as the gender you were assigned at birth or you might not.

If you do identify with that gender, you’re cisgender, or “cis.”

For example, if you were born with a penis and identify as a male, you’re a cisgender man.

Similarly, if you were born with a vagina and identify as a female, you’re a cisgender woman.

If you don’t identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, you may find that you’re transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming.

It’s not that simple.

Cisgender is considered the opposite of transgender, but some people feel that they identify as neither cisgender nor transgender.

Some people identify as nonbinary, which means they don’t identify strictly as a man or a woman.

Some nonbinary people consider themselves to be transgender, but some consider themselves to be neither entirely transgender nor cisgender.

For example, let’s consider a nonbinary person who was assigned male at birth. This person might describe themselves as genderfluid. They might feel that their gender identity shifts over time and they could identify as a man some days and a woman on other days.

In this case, the person shifts between the definitions of cisgender and transgender. They might identify as both cisgender and transgender, or neither.

So, cisgender and transgender aren’t a part of a strict binary. It’s possible to be neither cisgender nor transgender, or to identify as a bit of both.

The word “straight” is often used to mean “heterosexual.” It can also mean “heteroromantic.”

Heterosexual means you’re sexually attracted to the opposite sex only.

Heteroromantic means you’re romantically attracted to the opposite sex only.

Generally, “straight” means you’re attracted to the opposite sex, whether it’s in a sexual or romantic way.

This is also not so simple.

Some people are straight and some people are gay, but there are many other possibilities.

For example, you can be:

  • Bisexual or biromantic: you’re attracted to people of multiple genders
  • Pansexual or panromantic: you’re attracted to people of all genders
  • Asexual or aromantic: you experience little to no sexual or romantic attraction
  • Sexually or romantically fluid: your orientation changes over time
  • Queer: you’re not straight, though this term means many things to different people

These are only a few examples of how people may describe their sexual or romantic orientation. Of course, some people choose not to label their orientation.

You can be sexually attracted to one group of people and romantically attracted to another group of people.

For example, it’s possible to be homoromantic and pansexual. This means you’re romantically attracted to people of the same gender as you, but sexually attracted to people of all genders.

Orientation and attraction can be complicated — it isn’t just a matter of simply being gay or straight.

“Cishet” means someone is both cisgender and heterosexual. It could also mean both cisgender and heteroromantic.

In other words, a cishet person identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth, and they’re attracted to people of the opposite gender.

There are many cisgender people who aren’t straight. So, you can be cisgender and gay, cisgender and bisexual, or cisgender and asexual, to name a few identities.

Similarly, you can be transgender and straight. Some trans people find themselves exclusively attracted to people of the opposite gender.

Every human is unique.

There are different terms to describe orientation and gender identity because there are so many ways to experience attraction and gender.

The diversity of terms actually reflects the diversity of humans.

Having a term to describe who you are can be validating for many people. Often, these terms help people find community so they feel less alone.

Some people tell you what terms they use to describe themselves. For others, you might have to ask.

If you’re not sure and you aren’t comfortable asking, don’t assume the labels someone does or doesn’t use.

Remember that some people might feel uncomfortable talking about their gender or orientation, especially if they’ve experienced discrimination in the past.

If you’re unsure about what terms to use to describe yourself, take time to think about it. Read up about terms that might describe you. Check out forums on Reddit and Facebook groups.

You can’t always tell what pronouns someone uses by looking at them. They might state their pronouns up front, or you have to ask. Remember, it’s better to ask than to assume.

If you’d like, you can share your pronouns when you meet new people.

For example, you could simply say “Hi! My name is so-and-so and my pronouns are they/them.” You can also add your pronouns to your social media bios and email signature.

There are many places where you can learn more about gender, sexuality, orientation, and attraction. For example:

  • LGBTA wiki
  • AVENwiki
  • Everyday Feminism
  • Genderqueer.me
  • TSER (Trans Student Education Resources)
  • National Center for Transgender Equality

Healthline also has a transgender resources guide.

If you’re an LGBTQIA+ person looking for support or community, it might also be helpful to reach out to any LGBTQIA+ social and activism groups in your area.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.

Last medically reviewed on August 1, 2022