Elon Musk claims cis is a ‘heterophobic word’. He’s entirely incorrect

Elon Musk, looking upwards while speaking at an event.

Elon Musk has, yet again, claimed that the term cis is a “heterophobic” word and a slur despite the fact that it isnt.

The owner of X, formerly Twitter, made the entirely false statement in a Thursday (11 January) post where he wrote: “Cis is a heterophobic word. Shame on anyone who uses it.”

Musk made essentially the same claim in a post in October 2023, where he wrote: “The word ‘cis’ is a heterosexual slur. Shame on anyone who uses it.”

Not only is the term cisgender not a slur but it also has nothing to do with heterosexuality. Cisgender is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as a term used to describe “a person whose gender matches the body they were born with.”

It comes from the prefix ‘cis’ meaning ‘on this side of’ compared to the prefix of ‘trans’ meaning ‘across from’ or ‘on the other side of.’

Users flocked to the laughable post to mock the tech billionaire, with one user saying Musk has “gotten so lost my dude.”

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Others simply pointed out his glaringly false statement, pointing out that the word cis can be used to describe people who aren’t straight.

The tech billionaire has been mocked for his claim in the past, with some correctly and efficiently stating the term has “absolutely nothing to do with sexuality.”

“Do you even have the slightest clue what it means?” they continued.

Another wrote: “As a cis woman, and a parent of a trans kid who actually knows about trans issues, I can tell you you’re talking s**t.”

Media Matters journalist, Ari Drennen, wrote following Musk’s post saying: “They think ‘cis’ is a slur because they use ‘trans’ as a slur.”

Musk has made similar claims about the term in the past, albeit without the wholly false comparisons to heterosexuality.

In June, he responded to a social media post saying that the words ‘cis’ and ‘cisgender’ would be considered slurs on Twitter under its hate speech and harassment policy.

In an interview with The Independent responding to the claim, the former interim director of comms for Just Like Us, Amy Ashenden, said that the term “Isn’t a cruel word by any means.”

“I personally think it’s important that everyone is able to use the language that they feel describes them,” they continued.

“The word isn’t black and white, so there may well be some people who don’t feel trans or cis accurately describes them and that’s OK – language should empower us and give us options for describing how we experience the world.”

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