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“Die Cis Scum” is catch phrase used by some members of the transgender community in protest of the oppression they feel by people who identify as cisgendered, or those whose identities match the sex they were assigned at birth. The phrase is a response to the death threats commonly received by members of the transgender community. Additionally, in certain social justice blogging circles, the term cis has become as a negative slur towards those who question or dislike the choices of people who identify with non-standard gender practices.
On November 21st, 2011, Tumblr user Char the Butcher made a post containing a photo showing off a tattoo that reads “Die Cis Scum” (shown below). In the post, Char explains they got the tattoo the previous day in honor of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to memorializes those killed as a result of transphobia. The phrase was chosen as a way to highlight the continuing violence endured by the trans community, and to express the blogger’s feelings of fear and worry about walking around in public.
The same day, Char’s sentiments were reposted on Asher Bauer’s blog Tranarchism, where Bauer acknowledged giving Char the tattoo with a sewing needle and ink. By December, discussion of the tattoo flooded Wordpress blogs and Tumblr, debating the reverse bigotry, the value of the death threat and the promotion of violence inherent within the phrase. In February 2012, Char posted a message from an anonymous reader discussing if the tattoo comes from a place of white privilege, as it is not necessarily a sentiment that a trans* person of color would be able to freely express.
What troubles me about your tattoo is not that an oppressed person is advocating violence against their oppressor: I support this completely, and on somebody other than you I would support your tattoo 100%. Rather, what troubles me is that you point the finger to others as your oppressors in a way that conveniently excludes you as somebody responsible for the systems of oppression that facilitate most forms of violence against trans folks.
On March 3rd, 2012, a single topic blog titled Dear Cis People launched, allowing an anonymous space for transgender people to air their grievances with those who are cisgendered. One of the first posts included a message asking cisgendered people who are offended by the phrase “die cis scum” to put their energy in stopping the violence against the trans* community. As of May 2013, the blog has more than 650 posts.
On March 7th, 2012, YouTuber BlackLipstckBuxomBoy posted a video titled “Die Cis Scum,” sharing several opinions about the controversy caused by the phrase. The video was met by mainly negative and mocking responses, receiving a number of reply videos as well. Although the original video was eventually removed from YouTube, it was online until at least February 1st, 2013, when it was shared on the r/Cringe subreddit, mocking the YouTuber.
On April 18th, 2013, blooger Witch.Words investigated the power the language of “die cis scum,” saying it does not hold the same weight as “die trans* scum” because transgendered people have died for their gender variance. In August 2012, the subreddit /r/CisScum launched to criticize and parody posts made by social justice bloggers. Discussions about the use of “die cis scum” continue on Tumblr, with the phrase used as a tag for both serious discussions and playful usages of the phrase.