In 2011, I wrote A Period Aisle For All Genders & All Bodies to talk about the harm caused by cissexist assumptions about periods and bodies — and to share my hopes for a more nuanced, affirming and inclusive dialogue about menstruation.
Lacy’s message to me below highlights their lived experience as an agender person trying to navigate their period while contending with marketing messages and products that are heavily gendered in ways that are totally incongruous to who they are. I asked to share Lacy's story to demonstrate that inclusion is not just a nice ideal to have, but something that actually matters in real people’s everyday lives.
If you're trans, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming and have questions, resources, or feedback to share (or just want to say hi!), feel free to get in touch with me anytime at @nettlecrown or email@example.com.
Hello! I’m an agender person (they/them pronouns) and I just wanted to say how refreshing and appreciated it was to see an acknowledgment from a company selling “feminine” hygiene products that it’s not only females who have periods. Though it’s a little thing, it gets tiring to hear the “only women get periods/periods are a part of being a girl” spiel every time I see an ad for pads or tampons. Seeing your website not only acknowledge that periods aren’t female-exclusive (and that not all females have them, or have the parts to have them) was truly a breath of fresh air, and gave me a sense of relief.
I’ve always found that my dysphoria is worse when I'm on my period, but I recently figured out that my period itself wasn’t the issue. What was causing me so much gender discomfort and stress was the constant insistence that the products I was using are only for females and female parts. It came from all directions- the products themselves, their commercials, their labeling of “feminine hygiene” in the grocery store - and it was enough to make me feel like a stranger in my own body. Though it was frustrating and upsetting, I accepted it as something that just wasn’t going to change, and tried to ignore it.
However, earlier today, I talked with a friend about my frustrations with regular pads and tampons (the bleached cotton makes me break out) and she recommended me to your site. She says she’s used your products for years and has never been disappointed, so I figured why not give it a look. I did, and not only was I extremely impressed with your products (and I plan to buy some next paycheck!), but I was moved to actual tears after reading the bit you included on people who weren’t cis women using your products. To see a company like yours treat menstruation as something that not only women (and not all women!) experience is so refreshing, and I can’t express how much it means to me personally.
Thank you so much for this step forward in inclusiveness!
Update: I just finished my first period with your products and it was an incredible experience. I didn't have to deal with the breakouts I usually get during my period- which confirms, for me, that it was definitely caused by the disposable pads I wore. Better yet, they gave me a way to handle my period on my own terms, without having to walk through the feminine hygiene section and feel out of place.
I felt at home and at peace with my period, and they were so soft that I'm actually looking forward to using them again. Thank you so much for all your kindness! I'm thankful to have found such a caring person in such a wonderful company!