MENSTRUATION HAS NO GENDER

 min read
May 5, 2022

Before we begin, a note, especially for my trans readers: I have chosen not to place a content warning on this because doing so contributes to the (negative) stigmatization of menstruation, which is something I want to actively fight against. That said, I understand that discussing menstruation can be triggering for trans folks for a multitude of reasons, so if you are trans, take care of yourselves however you need. I will also remind you as affirmatively as possible:

Menstruation is not womanhood incarnate. If you are a woman and you do not menstruate, that does NOT make you any less of a woman. If you are not a woman you DO menstruate, that does not make you a woman!

Some people are extremely offended by calls to de-gender the menstrual movement. Cis men, sit down and stop talking. This is not your space. Cis women, I understand your discomfort as deeply as I can. I, too, have felt marginalized because of my body and my experience through menstruation. I understand that women have been subjected to misogyny at the hands of the patriarchy and cis men for millennia, and menstrual and reproductive justice are absolutely central to this.

So, yes, this IS a women’s fight. AND it is also MORE than a women’s fight. Excluding trans folks and ignoring that there are many women (trans and cis) who do NOT menstruate is not feminism. IT is exclusionary and detracts from the fight. Include us-it only strengthens the movement.

 

I sat down with @TheyAreMax on The Period Feels by @ItsAugust last week to chat about gender inclusivity in this movement. I shared what getting my first period was like. It was the most honest conversation I’ve ever had openly about my own experience with menstruation.

 

Check out the episode wherever you find podcasts! Here it is on Spotify.

 

To learn more about gender-inclusive period talk, check out the guide that I partnered with @ItsAugust to make last year!

 

While we’re on the topic, here are some related facts that might get you fired up about the issue:

  • Most (30) states tax menstrual products as  non-essential ‘luxury’ products (which means they have a high tax.) [3,4] Period care is absolutely essential. This is referred to as the Tampon Tax, or sometimes colloquially as "the pink tax." Other essential health items like prescriptions, some over-the-counter drugs, clothes in some regions, toilet paper, condoms, and groceries — and even some less essential items like golf club memberships         and erectile dysfunction pills — are typically tax-exempt. [5]
  • Nearly 1/4 menstruators in the US do NOT have access to period care products. [6]
  • The army will provide free Viagra to soldiers but they will not provide menstrual products. [1]
  • People who menstruate are not given time to take care of themselves in most school or work environments,         despite the fact that 80% of teen say they or someone they know has missed school because of their period. [6]
  • Period products are not in every school and absolutely should be! [2]

 

TAKE ACTION BY:

  • Signing this petition and urging your representatives to sign the Menstrual Equality Act. (Make sure you scroll down to the TAKE ACTION button.)
  • Talk about periods as openly as you can!
  • If you're a cis man or cis boy, de-construct why you think periods are "gross," when they are just a normal bodily process.
  • Joining August's community here! They've got support groups, seminars, and many other opportunities.

 

Sources

[1] https://www.saltwire.com/nova-scotia/news/free-menstrual-products-still-in-process-but-military-provides-free-viagra-310539/

[2] https://www.npr.org/2021/12/02/1056830306/free-tampons-public-schools

[3] https://www.taxjar.com/blog/medical/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-pink-tax-and-the-tampon-tax#:~:text=Why%20is%20it%20controversial%3F,a%20necessity%20by%20most%20women.

[4] https://www.itsaugust.co/blog/posts/what-is-the-tampon-tax

[5] https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/tampon-tax-explained-definition-facts-statistics/

[6] https://www.lbbonline.com/news/fake-cereal-brand-utilises-a-loophole-to-tackle-period-poverty-in-the-us

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