This is the fourth and final installment of my compilation. It is composed entirely of my own thoughts and opinions on the subject. Here goes…
I feel that the phrase serves several purposes, one being to hold a mirror to privilege, to give cis people just the tiniest inkling of understanding as to what it’s like to be one of us every day. If this makes cis people feel uncomfortable or unsafe, mission fucking accomplished, now they might have just the barest understanding of how trans* people feel every day just walking down the sidewalk. This phrase embodies the tiniest taste of what it feels like to be hated just for being what you are, something that it is crucial for people in privileged groups to understand if they are ever going to have any empathy for oppressed groups.
“Die cis scum” serves a purpose every time it acts as an empowering cry or a pushback against oppression. It is a valid expression of frustration and rage. Rage is a healthy and natural reaction when you’re getting the snot kicked out of you day in and day out, sometimes literally. Rage reminds us why we keep fighting. Anger over injustices done to us and ours is crucial, if we weren’t so pissed off we’d be too depressed to get out of bed in the mornings and fight for our right to exist in this world. If you can’t understand why anger is empowering then there are not enough words in the world for me to explain it and we probably won’t get along very well.
1.) To anyone who says, “I’m cis and I think…”: Any cis person that argues against the use of this phrase is automatically wrong. This is not about you. You do not get to decide who this phrase is directed at. You do not get to decide what it means. You do not get to decide what is an “appropriate” way for trans* people to express their anger and outrage. You do not get to set the terms of this discussion, the only reason you think that you do or you should is because of your fucking privilege. This is NOT. ABOUT. YOU.
2.) To cis people who say it is “alienating” or “will hurt our movement”: Cis people do not get to decide what is or is not an effective tactic for achieving our liberation, they do not get to tell us what is or isn’t “progressive” or “helpful”. This is not your fucking movement. And if you’re so fucking concerned about trans* people quit fucking sitting around on the internet and policing our rhetoric and actually do something useful. You do not get to tell us what to do, that’s your privilege talking. Also, what makes you think we care about whether or not you feel alienated? We feel that way all the damn time.
3.) To anyone who thinks this phrase indicates that trans* people desire to become the oppressors/ actually go around massacring cis people: First of all, you are an idiot. Second of all, it is literally impossible for trans* people to oppress cis people solely on the basis of them being cis. I find it utterly ridiculous that any cis person would actually read the phrase “die cis scum” and believe that trans* people are literally out to get oppress/kill them. How many people have ever been murdered for being cis?
4.) To those who say that violence, or even violent rhetoric, is unacceptable: FUCK YOU. Respect my autonomy and quit policing my rhetoric. Try googling “diversity of tactics”, you say what you want, I’ll say what I want and we’ll leave each other the fuck alone. Also, while you try to politely mediate this discussion between angry trans* people and offended cis people by pointing out that “die cis scum” is “just as bad as x thing done to trans* people…” go look up some trans* murder statistics and then tell me all about how these WORDS are “just as bad as” that.
5.) To those who say, “not all cis people are like that”: First off, see the diagram below…
Most cis people, rather they mean to or not, act like cis scum at some point during their interactions with trans people, often out of ignorance. If you yourself are not cis scum then the burden of proof is on you (hint: a good way to not be cis scum is to not argue with us about our lived experiences). We have no way of knowing upon meeting you that you are NOT cis scum, and for many trans* people it is safer to assume that you are, because assuming that you are safe and friendly could get them killed.
6.) In response to “saying “die cis scum” is just as bad as saying making death threats/using slurs against trans people”: Fuck you. When trans* people say “die cis scum” cis people get butthurt, they feel a little bit threatened and uncomfortable sitting at home on their computers, and then they go on with their lives. When cis people make death threats against trans* people TRANS* PEOPLE ACTUALLY DIE. That is why these things are not the fucking same.
To quote the author of the blog Witch.Words. who put it so eloquently, ““Die cis scum” is an oppressed group basically shouting “fuck you” up at their oppressors, while both groups know full well they don’t have the power to do much harm. The other [threats/slurs against trans* people] is the group in power, shouting “fuck you” back down the ladder as they continue to kick the people below them in the face. They are not equivalent. They are not equal. Just because they use the same syntactic structure does not mean they are expressing the same kind of sentiment, because the power differential changes things.”
If you really consider yourself an ally you should be able to take a step back and realize first and foremost this is not about you. That’s what being an ally means, not coming into our spaces and conversations and using your privilege to make everything all about you. You should understand that our displays of rage and fury are valid. We have a right to be angry about what people who share your privilege have done to us, what they do to us every day. If you are truly an ally than you you will respect us and our right to be angry and understand that “die cis scum” is not a personal attack or threat against you as a complex individual and human being, it is an attack on the social system that privileges your identity over ours, it is about power and empowerment, it’s our oppression, our struggle and our liberation, it’s about us. Not you.