Origin and etymology
The term was coined by a Canadian activist Drew Deveaux, a transgender woman. She did not mean the term to have a connotation of sex, contrary to the modern colloquial use of the term. She meant the term to mean transgender women being excluded from, “female spaces”.
The term uses similar language to a feminist concept called the, “glass ceiling”, which describes women who are unable to make as much money as men. Underwear is typically made from cotton. The, “ceiling” is used as a generic concept for an impenetrable barrier, just as in the feminist, “glass ceiling”.
- Wiktionary: cotton ceiling
- Identification of Priorities: The Cotton Ceiling (Canada), Gender Identity Watch, August 30, 2013