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  1. #1
    old gobbo is offline Newbie
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    Default 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    1. Cis lesbian

    Note to Moderator: The search engine failed to find ‘cotton ceiling’; and ‘cis lesbian’ returned a slew of results, only one among those I checked even containing the word ‘lesbian’ (with no ‘cis’) and most clearly irrelevant.

    Definition of 'Cotton Ceiling' in English Slang: The cotton ceiling is a limit seen by trans women, where cis lesbians will support their cause but will not sleep with them.

    The wonderful Urban Dictionary gives ‘cis’ in this context as
    “Short for "cisgender" (opposite of "transgender"), used to describe someone whose gender identity matches their anatomical gender at birth.” (And this perhaps ought to be incorporated into the English slang section on this website)

    Query: is 'cis' in the definition of 'cotton ceiling' in Using English a legitimate use of ‘cis’: someone born a man could reasonably claim to love women. I suspect that the definer got carried away by ‘trans’, and meant ‘cissexual lesbians’, but I am not very familiar with its usage and am willing to be corrected.


    2. Touching cloth

    In The Guardian (Review p. 11, 14aug12) this is defined as “a euphemism for needing a poo”. Is this definition (itself surely a euphemism ? – and I have the feeling that English Slang on this website is rather light on defaecation though quite strong on copulation) correct ? And does anyone know how the phrase arose, please ?

    Many thanks, OG
    P.S. I did have a couple of links in here, but am too junior to be allowed them - sorry not to be more help.
    Last edited by old gobbo; 19-Aug-2012 at 20:56. Reason: illiteracy

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    1 The slang section is password protected and so none of it appears in search engines. We felt it better to do that and to allow members filter options so they wouldn't have to see it.

    Cis lesbian is used as a term, though I am equally willing to be corrected.

    (And this perhaps ought to be incorporated into the English slang section on this website)
    I'll add it.

    I have the feeling that English Slang on this website is rather light on defaecation though quite strong on copulation
    An interesting point, and you're probably correct on this too. I hadn't noticed, so thanks for pointing it out.

    I first saw touching cloth in a Fat Slags story in the magazine Viz. The definition is correct, though I don't think that touching cloth, which refers to making faecal contact with your underwear, is a euphemism, but a very graphic and brutal way of describing it.

  3. #3
    old gobbo is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    1 The slang section is password protected and so none of it appears in search engines. We felt it better to do that and to allow members filter options so they wouldn't have to see it.

    Cis lesbian is used as a term, though I am equally willing to be corrected.



    I'll add it.



    An interesting point, and you're probably correct on this too. I hadn't noticed, so thanks for pointing it out.

    I first saw touching cloth in a Fat Slags story in the magazine Viz. The definition is correct, though I don't think that touching cloth, which refers to making faecal contact with your underwear, is a euphemism, but a very graphic and brutal way of describing it.
    Thank you for your help. I am now having second thoughts about 'cis lesbian' anyway, so let's drop that query; and your suggestion about the source of 'touching cloth' seems very likely, though implying a slightly more distressing situation than merely needing to defaecate.

    My point about the failed search was that it was use of the search engine on this site that failed to come up with items on the site, not that Google / DuckDuckGo / etc. could not find things in this site. But if the slang section is password-protected against this site's own search engine, doesn't that make life a little tedious for members ?

    Thanks again, OG

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    Yes, it does, but if we don't put it behind a password and offer filters, we will get complaints that we shouldn't put that sort of language on a site for learners. If you sign up and opt to turn the strong content filter off, then you can't complain about it. Our site is used in schools, so we have to be careful.

    I could look into an internal search in the Members' Area.

    PS As an even worse variation on touching cloth, there is the turtle's head.

  5. #5
    old gobbo is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    I do see what you mean, including the PS. Best wishes, og

  6. #6
    Cory Sampson is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    The "cis lesbian" in the cotton ceiling definition refers to cisgender lesbians. The writer (probably) assumes that someone identifying as male (regardless of sex at birth) cannot be a lesbian; by corollary then, anyone who calls herself a "lesbian" also calls herself a "woman" (and bear in mind that the language of gender politics is also fluid; for now, let's just assume that this is the most logical way of conceiving of the term "lesbian").

    "Cis" as short for "cisgender" implies that the lesbians in question were born anatomically female. The issue of the cotton ceiling can be paraphrased like this:

    People who identify as women and lesbians (and who happened to be born anatomically female) may be sympathetic to the causes of other self-identified women lesbians (who were born anatomically male, or perhaps intersex), but there may also be some among those woman-identified, born anatomically female lesbians who, for whatever reason, have stated that they will not have sex (under any circumstances) with any woman-identifying lesbians who have not also been born anatomically female. There are those among the transwoman community who feel this unequivocal denial of the possibility of sexual liaison to be unfair.

    Politics of the issue aside, I think that this is the heart (linguistically) of it. In this context, I think the writer's use of "cis" as a slang term fits the bill.

  7. #7
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    Sometimes I realise that I am just old.

    Those learners who are having difficulty in following this thread should not be too depressed. I am a native speaker of English, and have been so for more than sixty years. Until I read the first post in this thread, I had never come across the expressions 'cis lesbian', 'cisgender' or 'cotton ceiling'. I'm still not sure that I know exactly what they mean.

  8. #8
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    charliedeut is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Sometimes I realise that I am just old.

    Those learners who are having difficulty in following this thread should not be too depressed. I am a native speaker of English, and have been so for more than sixty years. Until I read the first post in this thread, I had never come across the expressions 'cis lesbian', 'cisgender' or 'cotton ceiling'. I'm still not sure that I know exactly what they mean.
    Thank you! I was going trying to figure out certain things here.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  9. #9
    old gobbo is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by Cory Sampson View Post
    The "cis lesbian" in the cotton ceiling definition refers to cisgender lesbians. The writer (probably) assumes that someone identifying as male (regardless of sex at birth) cannot be a lesbian; by corollary then, anyone who calls herself a "lesbian" also calls herself a "woman" (and bear in mind that the language of gender politics is also fluid; for now, let's just assume that this is the most logical way of conceiving of the term "lesbian").

    "Cis" as short for "cisgender" implies that the lesbians in question were born anatomically female. The issue of the cotton ceiling can be paraphrased like this:

    People who identify as women and lesbians (and who happened to be born anatomically female) may be sympathetic to the causes of other self-identified women lesbians (who were born anatomically male, or perhaps intersex), but there may also be some among those woman-identified, born anatomically female lesbians who, for whatever reason, have stated that they will not have sex (under any circumstances) with any woman-identifying lesbians who have not also been born anatomically female. There are those among the transwoman community who feel this unequivocal denial of the possibility of sexual liaison to be unfair.

    Politics of the issue aside, I think that this is the heart (linguistically) of it. In this context, I think the writer's use of "cis" as a slang term fits the bill.
    Thank you very much - I was gradually working towards this but you have expressed it better than I could have hoped to.

  10. #10
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: 'cis lesbian' and 'touching cloth' - advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Sometimes I realise that I am just old.

    Those learners who are having difficulty in following this thread should not be too depressed. I am a native speaker of English, and have been so for more than sixty years. Until I read the first post in this thread, I had never come across the expressions 'cis lesbian', 'cisgender' or 'cotton ceiling'. I'm still not sure that I know exactly what they mean.
    Cis

    I learned "cis" and "trans" in organic chemistry. "Cis gender" is a new one to me, but I got the implication. It's a long way to go to avoid referring to what once would have been called "normal."

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