"I will name you as you identify. Must you afford me less?"​


British singer Alison Moyet was criticized on Twitter by transgender rights advocates last week after expressing her preference for being identified as a woman, as opposed to a cis woman.


"Cis" is a prefix that, when applied to gender, refers to someone who is not transgender. 


Moyet, who has advocated for marriage equality and has a loyal gay and lesbian following, said on Twitter that she does not wish to be referred to as a cis woman.


"I defend everyone’s right to have the pronoun that they choose and will honour it," she said in a since-deleted tweet. "And I do not choose Cis for mine." 


"It took women like me long enough to own the title 'woman' in the first place. It’s a long enough word for me," Moyet added.

While many ​Twitter users were ​supportive of Moyet's stance, the backlash she received after broaching the subject, as well as ​accusations of ignorance and insensitivity, led her to delete the initial tweet and issue a followup.

Spiked editor Brendan O'Neill condemned the outcry against Moyet on Tuesday, arguing that asking women to identify as ​cis wom​en "is akin to asking black people continually to remind everyone that they are not white."


"'Cis’ is one of those BS terms that nobody outside of the Twitterverse or the Queer Studies departments at universities ever uses. It means someone who still identifies as the gender that they were assigned at birth." O'Neill wrote. 


He added that "it might just be a smidgen misogynistic" for trans activists to "suggest that womanhood is such a slight and flimsy thing that it can be achieved by a mere act of self-declaration."


What the other side says: "If you were an ally you'd understand that the term cis does not delegitimize or affect your womanhood in anyway possible," ​wrote one Twitter commenter in response to Moyet's tweet. "There doesn't need to be a conversation when most people who refuse to use the term already have many problems with the trans community."


In a 2016 ​op-ed for Slate, queer historian and writer Hugh Ryan laid out a case for taking the term cisgender seriously.


Ryan quoted Julia Serano, a trans-bi activist and author, who said that using the term cisgender "allows cis people to see the advantages they get because of their gender identity , and -- hopefully, theoretically -- sets the stage for greater legal and social equality for the trans community."

He cited North Carolina's controversial ​"bathroom bills" as evidence of how problematic it is "that there is only one kind of man or woman, and that we all know exactly who is what from the moment a person is born." According to Ryan, such ​laws amount to "policing how we think about gender."

"
The poisonous heart of this legislation is not what it forbids, but what it promotes," he wrote. "[T]he idea that we can tell trans people from cis people​."