Where Does the Word ‘Cis’ Come From?

imageFriend Sellmaeth mentioned in a comment on the purplesagefem blog that she hadn’t known where the term ‘cis’ came from. “Aha” I said “others may also be unaware of this terms fundamentally bullshit-y nature!” So I made this graphic. To be abundantly clear: ‘cis’ is a pun. A play on the word ‘trans’ in chemistry. Which has nothing the fuck to do with transgender. The words trans and transgender derive from the word ‘transsexual’. Which was coined in the 60s to mean somebody who has had a sex change operation. The term ‘transgender’ was made up later probably as part of an effort to legitimize the breasts and penis porn-derived type of man.


5 thoughts on “Where Does the Word ‘Cis’ Come From?

  1. NO! NO! NO! Sorry, but as a chemist, there are some HUGE inaccuracies here. 1st, in your graphic, a structural isomer (there are also stereoisomers) has the same molecular (not chemical) formula but different chemical structure. 2nd, Structural isomers can be subdivided into enantiomers and diastereomers. Diastereomers can be further subdivided into “cis” and “trans.” Organic molecules designated cis or trans have double or triple bonds, so there is no rotation. 3rdly, the graphic is incorrect because cis-trans isomers are not restricted to organic chemistry. They also appear in inorganic chemistry in coordination compounds. 4th, the “cis” structural isomer is NOT more “common” than the trans isomer. The cis isomer is the isomer where the same functional groups are on the same side. The trans isomer is the isomer where the same functional groups are across from each other. 5th, cis and trans isomers certainly are NOT mirror images of each other. You are confusing them with enantiomers! Remember, cis-trans isomers are diastereomers, not enantiomers! Finally, trans is the root word, not transsexual! Trans means across from (or opposite from!) I hope this helps.


    • Sorry lovetruthcourage, I’m not reading that. I was already told this was inaccurate by @wild on Twitter.

      Neither of you seem to grasp that I don’t give a shit about chemistry. If you want to be helpful don’t try to teach me what’s wrong with this. Look at my objective in making this, and make a better one. You don’t disagree I think that the word ‘cis’ is a technical term from chemistry, right? And that’s where the transgender movement got it, right?

      Therefore what is needed is a simple way of explaining that the word ‘cis’ is SOMETHING to do with the structure of molecules. And not some legitimate technical term from biology or sex or gender. I would appreciate your help with this. You may find that getting rid of all the jargon about isomers and stereoisomers and just conveying that there are different categories of molecule structure to the every day public who doesn’t care about this stuff is harder than you think.

      Please note, I’m not defending any inaccuracies in the little graphic I made. If you say there inaccuracies in it I absolutely believe you. And I have absolutely no interest in how molecule structures work. I just wanted to convey that the word ‘cis’ is a technical chemistry term. I got the graphic and the first paragraph off Wikipedia.


      • Yeah, many people are confused by chemistry, but we MUST be accurate because trans supporters claim that feminists don’t know science. Some of us do.

        Here is how I would change the graphic:

        “Where does the word cis come from? Cis-trans isomerism. In chemistry, diastereomers are non-rotational molecules with the same molecular formula, but different chemical structures. The cis isomer has the same functional groups on the same side of a non-rotational bond. The trans molecule has them across the non-rotational bond from each other. Cis = on the side of. Trans = across (or opposite) from. That’s it. It’s super exciting, but has nothing to do with sex or gender.”


        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you. I agree we have to get scientific things right. I’ve never seen the trans accuse feminists of not knowing science but who the fuck knows. if they did accuse us of that it would make a cat laugh.😹

          Thanks for this but it’s way too long and complicated. Nobody’s gonna read all of it and get to the good part. Can we say, without making some giant howler:

          “Molecules have complicated and varied structures. There’s complicated language for talking about that. Cis and trans are part of that jargon. Cis = on the side of. Trans = across (or opposite) from. That’s it. It’s real scientific stuff, but has nothing to do with sex or gender.”

          If this doesn’t have some huge fuck up in it I will make a new graphic with this in. And thanks for your help. (But my god I never want to hear the fucking word “isomer” ever again!! 😩 Compared to this the hardest shit you have to learn in brain science is like lying around eating chocolate pudding.)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, the new version is fair enough, though I’d hate for people to think that chemistry is overly complicated! (losing battle?) In fact, Chemical and Engineering News just published an article showing that many college sophomores struggle with organic chemistry classes.


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