Hi everybody, Lisa (@lunaplaids) here. Our most recent guest post (My Genderqueer Period) has inspired me 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 community members are cisgender, transgender and genderqueer individuals who span the gender spectrum. Our staff is working to providing an inclusive and welcoming space for all those seeking eco friendly solutions to their everyday and monthly needs.
Because most conversations about periods focus on cisgender girls and women — that is, people whose gender identity (girl, woman) matches the sex (female) they were assigned at birth — it may be easy to forget that some transgender men, genderqueers, and other nonbinary-identified folks have periods too. Talking about menstruation as though it’s an experience or function exclusive to women perpetuates a gender essentialist view that harms and further isolates those dealing with gender dysphoria. We can do better than that.
Another important truth to acknowledge about periods is that some women don’t have them. This may be due to menopause, stress, disease, or a hysterectomy. Some women may have never started menstruating due to a medical condition, or they may be transgender or intersex. None of these make a woman any less a woman than one who menstruates. Be mindful of those who are made invisible or invalid by statements that elevate periods as the ultimate source of womanhood or femininity. Consider the implications of these statements, and how your words may inadvertently hurt 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 I believe that exclusion in language equals, and exposes, exclusion in practice.
Using inclusive language and terms, and broadening the conversation to hold space for a wider diversity of experiences and perspectives is not just in the interest of the groups above, either. Feelings about menstruation vary so widely among menstruators of all genders and identities. There are plenty of cis women who oppose or feel alienated by an essentialist / binarist / cissexist / heteronormative / etc dialogue about periods, sexuality, bodies, fertility, and so on.
If you’re a trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming person who has comments or feedback, please get in touch with me at email@example.com – I’d love to hear from you. In fact, that invitation extends to anyone who feels they have a unique perspective to share about menstruation, what choosing reusable menstrual alternatives has meant for them, or what barriers they face in making the switch and/or getting on board with what we do here at Lunapads.
In related news, I read about a really encouraging development in the OB-GYN world this week that I want to share. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has issued a statement addressing the significant barriers to health care that trans people routinely face, encouraging physicians to take steps towards ensuring that they are better equipped to provide accessible health care to their patients. Please check out the press release here: Ob-Gyns: Prepare to Treat Transgender Patients.
Trans 101 Sylvia Rivera Law Project
On Purportedly Gendered Body Parts by Dean Spade
30+ Examples of Cisgender Privilege It’s Pronounced Metrosexual
Definition of Genderqueer Nonbinary.org
Julia Serano on “Cis” The F Word UK
Moving Towards an Inclusive Menstruation Dialogue s.e. smith
Gynecologists told to prepare to treat transgender patients Feministing
OB-GYNs Instructed to Provide Better Care for Transgender Patients Slate
ACOG issues statement urging OB-GYNs to treat transgender patients Radical Doula
Ob-Gyns: Prepare to Treat Transgender Patients Health Canal
Opening our Office Doors to the Transgender Community ACOG