Over the weekend, Star Trek luminary William Shatner went on a tear about the word “cisgender,” claiming that it’s only used in reference to him in order to “harass” or “debase” him. And when activists tried to call him out for co-opting the word for nefarious purposes, he dug his heels with a straight white cis male victim narrative.
Shatner began to rail against the word last Monday when someone jokingly tweeted at him, “You’re an old white man so you MUST be a hateful bigot, is the new bigotry the kids are all about these days.”
“You forgot CIS as in old white CIS man… need to stay current,” Shatner responded, referring to the word that simply means, “Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.”
Once he’d thrown down the verbal gauntlet “cis,” Shatner hunkered down on Twitter to argue with activists and well-meaning users who attempted to teach him that the word is not offensive.
Responding to writer Dawn Ennis’s piece for Forbes in which she chronicled Shatner’s aversion to being called “cis,” he accused her of harassing him as he conflated gender identity with sexual identity.
Despite an attempt to clarify for Shatner that “cis” is merely the opposite of “trans” and in no way a slur, he continued to exclaim that he’s victimized by its use in reference to him.
It’s not the first time Shatner asserted that he was being victimized by marginalized groups. In 2017, he fought on Twitter with “shippers” (fans who cheer for their favorite fictional relationships to become real) of the Starz historical series Outlander who wished the actors who play the central couple on the series were in an actual relationship. Invoking the language favored by the alt-right, he called the fans “snowflakes” and “SJWs” (social justice warriors), made ageist comments, and claimed he was a target of misandry at the hands of feminists.
After several days of arguing his position on Twitter, Shatner claimed victory against what he called Ennis’s (who is trans) “hatchet job” and an attempt to cancel him via the Forbes article.