Pride in Period
If I ask you a simple question – who menstruates, most likely your answer would be, “women of course, who else?”
Unfortunately, for a long time, we have been living in oblivion and passing on the wrong information that ONLY women menstruate.
Wherein, the fact is PEOPLE menstruate. It could be a woman, a trans man, or a non-binary person – all of them can menstruate.
It’s time we need to start to emphasize upon this discourse that not all women get periods, and not everyone who gets their period is a woman.
All this may sound a little confusing, so let’s break it into simpler pieces.
Gender and Sex – Is it Same?
Gender and sex are two distinct aspects of our identity. Biological sex largely has to do with our sex organs. For example, if a baby is born with XY chromosomes, that is assigned ‘male’. If the baby is born with XX chromosomes, then assigned a female.
Now, if the gender identity doesn’t match with the sex organs the person is born with, they may be transgender or non-binary. For example, if you were born with a vagina but do not identify with being a woman and may identify as a man or something else entirely, you might be non-binary, agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, or something entirely else.
Who can have a period?
The only factor determining whether or not someone gets a period is having a functioning uterus and vagina. It’s a biological reality.
Gender isn’t a determining factor when it comes to periods. It’s a biological reality.
Apart from women, trans, non-binary, genderfluid, and nonconforming people can get periods too.
A guide to gender identities
Cis – An adjective describing a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Transgender – Someone whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth.
Trans men – A man who was assigned female at birth but feels otherwise.
Trans women – A woman who was assigned male at birth but feels otherwise.
Nonbinary – People who do not describe themselves or their genders as fitting into the categories of man or woman.
Genderfluid – A person whose gender identity is not fixed and changes over time.
Intersex – People who are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads, and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
Genderqueer – A spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine, identities that are outside the gender binary.
Challenges faced by 'everyone else' having a periods
It’s a ‘taboo within a taboo’.
In our society where even the menstruating women are outcasted and looked down, imagine the plight of menstruating trans men or non-binary people.
These people have to face a great deal of gender dysphoria (a sense of unease and discrimination). It causes immense discomfort and anxiety. Their experience of menstruation is harder and battels of acceptance are tougher than one can imagine.
- Find it difficult to use public washrooms to change or use a period product
- Experience non-inclusivity from women and society in general
- Face ‘Period Poverty’ but usually get no assistance from originations and government agencies
What YOU can do?
Here are some little steps you can take to be inclusive of everyone!
- Ask beforehand about the pronoun a person prefers to associate with, such as she/her or he/him, they, or even it.
- Refer to sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups as ‘menstrual products’ or ‘period products’ rather than ‘feminine hygiene products’.
- Information and knowledge regarding menstruation should be shared with all children at an early stage irrespective of their gender.
- Use gender-neutral terms when referring to menstruation. To be inclusive of all, say ‘menstruators’ instead of ‘a menstruating girl or woman’.
- When talking about attaining menarche (commencement of periods), refer to it as ‘reaching puberty’ rather than assigning it to ‘becoming a woman’.
- Not all people who menstruate are women, and not all women menstruate
- Use inclusive and non-gender-specific language. Avoid using the phrase ‘feminine hygiene’ instead, say period or menstrual hygiene products.
- Be respectful and accommodative
Normalizing menstruation for all can be achieved through education and creating awareness around menstruation. Gender inclusivity in menstruation is the need of the hour.
Let ALL experience PERIOD with PRIDE!