This will be shorter than usual, but I think no one will blame me.
By “most cis people don’t know”, I mean that they don’t live any of this, never have to think about it either, because cis people don’t feel the weight of cisnormativity on a daily basis. In effect, most cis people have no way of knowing how ridiculous our society is in some ways unless a trans* person tells them. This is something I have observed while doing our petition for trans* rights. However, it still affects them in various ways all the same, because cisnormativity is strongly linked to pure sexism, to patriarchy, to gender as a structure, to the enforcement of identity.
It makes no sense that only the way to call people whose name is unknown is to assign them a gender. “Sir, you dropped your pen.” “Have a little change, ma’am?” “Miss, what time is it?” To most cis people, this is unnoticed (except perhaps “ma’am”/”miss”, because it also assigns an age category), but it is not by trans* people. And even in cis people, this reinforces gender as a structure, by reminding everyone that there is a structure and where they are in it (or rather where they are forcefully placed).
It makes no sense that centralized government police individual identity. No matter how many people use my real name, only the word of the government seems authorize random people use it. Individuality, in our society, is not a subjective experience: it is taken as an objective reality, incrusted in and enforced by official records. At my bank, you can’t change your legal gender, your name, even your title of address, nothing, without documents from the government. If someone writes me a check, either it will be invalid, or I will need to reveal my status as a trans woman and state my legal name. So I have to get through ridiculous procedures just to be recognized as who I am. Because no one believes anything about you if the state says the contrary.
It makes no sense that public bathrooms be entirely identified with gender separation. At the moment, how to you know where are the restrooms? Look for gendered symbols. A “woman” sign will never lead to a gynecologist or a women-only feminist committee, or a “man” sign to information about prostate cancer or a barber shop. No. A gendered sign means “bathroom for this gender”. The identification is so strong that people seem to have forgotten that there are ways to say that something is a bathroom without gendering them. Like, you know, saying “bathroom” on the door. Proof of all this: gendered single-occupancy bathrooms placed next to one another. If only one person can go in, why the gender sign? And if you don’t have enough people to need large bathrooms with multiple stalls, why have two of them at all in the first place, except to create a gender separation? Defining public bathrooms as fundamentally gendered is pretty strange.