Some menstruators are men.
I want it to be clear on this website that all menstruators are welcome. So, welcome.
I live in a small town. In fact, I live in the part of the world often attributed to our recent president’s election success. The bigoted, heroin-addicted armpit of the world that is definitely racist and unwilling to accept anything outside of what they consider to be the norm.
These are not my beliefs.
I was raised to accept everyone. I’m thankful. If you don’t like someone, don’t like them because they’re an awful person. Not because of how they dress, who they love or what they believe. How you treat others, animals and the environment determines your ability to be labeled as a good or bad person. The end.
Upfront, I’m going to apologize for this photo. I use stock photos sometimes if I don’t have a good photo of my own. I tried many different search terms and this was the best I could find.
What is transgender menstruation?
We’re taught from a very early age that there are two boxes. Male and Female. There are strict guidelines about what fits into these categories. Males have a penis, like sports and the color blue. Females have the necessary parts to bear children, like pink and can’t lift heavy things.
Whether we know it or not, these stereotypes drive what we see on TV, how we behave on a day to day basis and give even the most open-minded person preconceived notions about others.
Because I’m a big picture person, to best explain it: The fact is that there are men or persons who don’t identify only as a woman born with “female” parts who, as easily as I can explain it, were simply born with the wrong set of organs to fit in with how they feel versus how society thinks they should feel.
Does that make sense?
I can only imagine being born as a man, with a pair of breasts, a vulva, vagina and uterus. Then it starts to bleed? Jesus. It’s still not okay for women to menstruate, let alone men. The stigma is palpable.
Menstruation is hard, on some level, for everyone. There is a lot of social stigma attached to bleeding every month. In some cultures, women are banned to huts or menstruating cabins. Even in a “developed” nation like the USA, menstruation is still not something chatted about over lattes or a welcome facebook status update.
“Hey guys! Wink emoji, just dropped a clot, about half a pint of blood and am headed out for a brownie frappuccino!” That would get some super-fast unfollowing and unfriending.
I can only imagine menstruating as a man.
Deciding which bathroom stall to use, how to dispose of products or carry reusable pads and/or a cup must be a semi-complicated balance of secrecy and strategical maneuvering.
The thought of that plastic pad wrapper crinkling in a men’s bathroom stall surrounded by other men. I imagine unwrapping them before leaving home might help, having a carry bag or large wallet perhaps.
Maybe some men duck use the ladies bathroom for menstrual care. It feels safer, I take my boys in with me because I’ve peeked in the men’s room… I swear some of the men stand and spray poop all over the toilets on purpose. Yeah. I’ve looked and WOW…the difference in cleanliness is shocking.
Perhaps some transgender mentruators simply fling open the men’s room door and yell “move over guys, I’ve got my period!” Then, proceed to toss up a leg and change their pad right at the urinal.
Reusable menstrual products for transgender menstruation
So, I’m an Occupational Therapist. It’s my nature to imagine potential bathroom issues and problem solve. Toileting, menstruation are both activities of daily living.
Immediately, I think of reusable menstrual products. They seem to solve many of the hurdles I’ve imagined, except for the dirty commodes.
A reusable menstrual cup doesn’t need to be carried in your pocket. You carry it right inside your vagina. In addition, it gets emptied and reinserted so there is no paper crinkling, no products to carry around and everything can be completed in a bathroom stall.
You hover or sit on the toilet, take your cup out and empty it, then put it right back in.
What about reusable menstrual pads? Reusable menstrual pads are quiet, no crinkly paper, good for the environment and because you reuse them you don’t have anything to throw away.
Reusable period boxers are great looking boxer breifs with the ability to transform into period underwear. In fact, pyramid seven has been sold out every time I look. They are boxer briefs with a sling inside that is perfect to wrap a reusable pad around.
(This is a pinterest image because they like the tall pictures)
Where does that leave transgender menstruation?
It’s important to remember that not all menstruators are men. There are many individuals in the population who bleed and it’s great to see more products and companies putting out products for everyone.
Are we moving forward as a society? Every time I think we move forward we seem to move back. I do hope that the world becomes move loving, focused on the fact that every day is a gift and we should live it to it’s fullest!
Any product questions are always welcome here and I would love if someone wrote a personal account for The Green Vagina. I’d be happy to publish it.
I added this portion because of some nastiness I’ve seen on social media. One of the reasons I wrote this article was to help introduce others and hopefully increase support and acceptance for transgender persons.
Coming from a less than open-minded family, growing up in a conservative area of the world, I get it. We’re taught that things are either this way or that and if you deviate than something is wrong. The argument I get when speaking about this to others is “if you have a vagina you’re a woman, doesn’t matter what you think.”
Last time I checked, I have never determined someone’s gender by looking between their legs. I don’t shake someone’s hand and then ask them to spread it so I can see what they’re packing under the hood.
Who we are lives in our brain, not our groin. You can live without your arms, legs, penis, uterus, spleen, gallbladder, appendix…and you are still who you are.
I firmly believe that someone does not choose to live as a transgender person because it makes life easier. They do so because it’s who they are and It’s not my place, or yours, to pass judgement on anyone.
How can we all help?
Opening up the conversation is important. Talk with family, friends and even strangers. When speaking with a business I’ll often ask the company to consider changing their “feminine care section” to “menstrual care section.” Saying menstrual care is not only more direct and helps reduce period stigma, but it also welcomes all menstruators to the section. For example, I was born with a uterus and identify as female and certainly would feel a little odd and confused as a teen purchasing vulva wash in the “manly care” section at Target. Why assign gender to menstruation at all?
Very powerful post below. The author wrote “please share widely” so here it is! Please give this post a like and make sure to follow Toni –
Y’all know I’m trans and queer,
And what that means for me all around,
Is something that’s neither there nor here,
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