College librarians discover new ‘transmisic microaggressions’

Simmons College librarians are warning against “transmisic microaggressions” in a new guide arguing that cisgender people are “fragile” and “defensive.” 

The “Anti-Transmisia” guide seeks to resist the “systemized discrimination or antagonism directed against transgender/nonbinary/genderqueer/agender persons,” explaining that it is a form of hatred “rooted in a desire to maintain the gender binary.”

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The gender binary, the librarians argue, is a social construction that causes so-called transmisia and “obscures the reality of the spectrum and fluidity of gender and marginalizes the identities and experiences of persons whose gender does not align with their birth-assigned sex.” 

To that end, the librarians worry that people will intentionally or unintentionally commit “transmisic microaggressions,” which they suggest “communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults in relation to gender, gender identity, and/or gender expression.” 

“They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of a (cis)gender hierarchy. Transmisic Microinvalidations, Microinsults, [and] Microassaults are specific types of microaggressions,” they add. 

The guide also links transmisia to the “cis fragility” of people who aren’t transgender, meaning transmisia causes “cis fragility.” 

“Cis rooted in a desire to restore and reproduce cisnormativity,” the guide explains, adding that this results in non-trans people developing a “lack of stamina” that leads to a tendency to become angry and defensive during conversations about transgender issues. 

“Cis people therefore can exhibit a low tolerance for that which challenges their gender identities and their conceptions of gender more broadly,” the librarians contend. 

[RELATED: Librarians learn to create ‘safe spaces,’ fight ‘privilege’] 

The guide was collectively created by staff librarians, according to Jason Wood, the deputy director of the Simmons College library.

Notably, the college’s librarians have conducted similar work over the years, creating guides for professors on topics such as using trigger warnings in the classroom, privilege and intersectionality, and social justice allyship.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen