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This trans person wants you to know that women aren’t the only people who get periods

This trans person wants you to know that women aren’t the only people who get periods

Transmasculine activist Cass Bliss free bleeding for the #BleedingWhileTrans menstruation campaign

Menstrual products like tampons and pads are often labelled as ‘feminine hygiene products’. To complete the stereotype, these items are usually sold in colorful, floral packaging. But not all people who get periods are women.

One transmasculine person in particular is working to shatter the misconceptions around menstruation.

Cass Bliss’s story

‘I am a nonbinary trans menstruator. Someone with a uterus that bleeds monthly, but who identifies outside of the fixed categories of male and female. Because of that, I have to navigate the challenges of getting my period every month in a world that refuses to acknowledge that not everyone who gets their period is a woman. And not every woman gets their period,’ writes Cass Bliss for Huffington Post.

‘But what does a nonbinary trans person do when our period comes rolling around once each month? Instantly remind[ing] us that… much of the world will still see us as women just because we get our periods? The persistent gendered messages I regularly encounter hit me like thousands of metal slivers piercing through my skin. The feminine hygiene signs, the lack of disposal bins in men’s restrooms. The sanitized advertisements featuring thin white women preserving their femininity with dainty white pads and periwinkle “blood”.’

Menstruation woes

Bliss goes on to outline the complexity of having to purchase these products and use them in public restrooms.

‘When I run out of products, I have to go looking for a [menstrual product] that’s not awash in the traditionally feminine coding of pinks, purples and flowers. I slink down under the gaze of those “Feminine Hygiene” signs at Target, CVS and Walgreens. [I] try to grab anything that won’t make my period dysphoria worse. If you thought just having cramps and mood swings was bad, try experiencing all of that while literally having a sign hanging over your head telling everyone around you that you don’t belong.’

‘Once I have the products that I need, I have to figure out a way to change out my used products with new ones. Before I started transitioning, if I couldn’t find a gender-neutral toilet, I would just use the women’s bathroom during my period. It was safer for me to be in there if my menstrual cup dropped or someone heard the sound of me opening a tampon or pad. Not to mention, women’s bathrooms have disposal bins and private stalls. [Here], you can deal with your menstrual blood without fear of being outed.’

Bleeding in the men’s room

‘But now that my appearance has tipped the scale toward masculine, I’ve found myself ushered out of a lot women’s bathrooms by moms with young daughters. As if I’m inherently dangerous or being trans is a disease they could catch from breathing in the same air as me. On the flip side, using the men’s restroom means that I have to pray that I’m not already leaking when I walk in. And figure out the best ways to keep myself safe while discreetly tending to my period.’

#BleedingWhileTrans

Last year, Bliss started the #BleedingWhileTrans campaign on social media. Additionally, the artist and activist wrote a song about their experiences.

Companies looking to make a difference

Thankfully, there are some companies working to help transmasculine people feel more comfortable during their time of the month. One such brand is Thinx, which designed revolutionary period underwear.

Another company called Pyramid Seven has also launched a line of menstruation-friendly boxers.

‘There is a real need for products that cater to all bodies. And we are hoping to be part of that solution,’ Pyramid Seven creator Zipporah Jarmon told Mashable.

‘It’s been a pleasure to open up space to have conversations about menstruation and the varying needs of folks who menstruate,’ Jarmon said. ‘We’ve heard from so many of our customers what a difference it makes to feel comfortable inside and out while on their period’.