Note: This post was originally published in 2011. Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen the menstrual and reproductive health space really begin to shift with respect to trans & nonbinary inclusion and are so proud to be part of that change. In 2016, we feel more committed than ever to serving our community’s needs in ways that value, respect, and affirm the diversity of their experiences and identities. To our trans & nonbinary customers: thank you for trusting and supporting us over the years, and please continue to let us know how and where we can do better.
I wanted to take a moment today to tell you a bit more about the note on gender that I added to our website recently. For those who haven’t seen it yet, it reads:
Lunapads users and staff are cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer individuals who span the gender spectrum. Our team is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming space for all those seeking better solutions to their everyday and monthly needs.
Because most conversations about periods focus on cisgender girls & women — that is, people whose gender (girl, woman) aligns with the sex (female) they were assigned at birth — it can be easy to forget that some transgender men, genderqueers, and nonbinary people have periods too. While visibility around this issue is complicated, framing menstruation as an experience or function exclusive to women is a frustrating microaggression that trans & nonbinary people regularly face – it reinforces biological essentialism and perpetuates cissexist assumptions that harm and marginalize. We can do better.
Another important truth to acknowledge about periods is that some women don’t have them. This might be due to menopause, stress, disease, or a hysterectomy. Some women may have never started menstruating due to a variety of medical conditions, or they may be transgender or intersex. None of these make a woman any less a woman than one who menstruates. It’s so important to be mindful of those who are rendered invisible or invalid by statements that elevate periods as the ultimate source of womanhood or femininity – and to think critically and compassionately about how this line of thinking upholds cisnormativity and inadvertently hurts women.
Inclusion is about so much more than just what we say, but I care about what we say and how we say it because exclusion in language equals, and exposes, exclusion in practice.
If you’re a trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming person who has comments or feedback to share, hit me up on twitter or at lunaplaids(at)lunapads.com – I’d love to hear from you.
In related news, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued a statement this week addressing the significant barriers to health care that trans people routinely face, and encouraging physicians to take steps towards becoming better equipped to provide accessible health care to their trans patients. Check out the press release here: Ob-Gyns: Prepare to Treat Transgender Patients and let’s keep talking.
- Why Inclusion Matters Lunapads Blog
- Trans 101 Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- On Purportedly Gendered Body Parts by Dean Spade
- Beyond the Pap: Preventative Care for All Boi Midwife
- 3 Examples of Everyday Cissexism Everyday Feminism
- My Period & Me: A Trans Guys Guide to Menstruation Everyday Feminism
- Julia Serano on “Cis” The F-Word
- Moving Towards an Inclusive Menstruation Dialogue s.e. smith
- Ob-Gyns: Prepare to Treat Transgender Patients Health Canal