Note: This post was originally published in 2011. Over the last 5+ years, we’ve seen the menstrual & reproductive health space really begin to shift with respect to trans & nonbinary inclusion and are proud to be part of that change. Today, we feel more committed than ever to serving our customer'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 I added to our website recently. For those who haven’t seen it yet, it reads:
Our customers 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 for people to overlook that some transgender men, genderqueers, and nonbinary folks (like me) have periods too. While visibility around this issue is complicated, framing menstruation as an experience that's 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 might be transgender or intersex. None of these factors make a woman any less a woman than one who menstruates. It’s so important to be mindful of the women 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.
True 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 can equal, or expose anyway, exclusion in practice.
If you’re a trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming person who has comments or feedback to share, please hit me up on twitter or at lisa(at)periodaisle.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.
- Can You Not? 3 Reasons to Quit Saying "Feminine Hygiene"
- Trans 101
- On Purportedly Gendered Body Parts
- Beyond the Pap: Preventative Care for All
- 3 Examples of Everyday Cissexism
- Julia Serano on "Cis"
- Moving Towards an Inclusive Menstruation Dialogue
- Ob-Gyns: Prepare to Treat Transgender Patients
- Always Removes the "Female" Symbol from its Products