Periods Aren’t Just For Cis Women: The Truth About Trans & Male Menstruation
As we all know, there’s a serious taboo surrounding women’s menstrual cycles. People don’t like to acknowledge that yes, women bleed every month. But is it just women that bleed? Nope.
Who else bleeds?
Do trans guys get periods? Yes! Trans men and non-binary people can get periods too, just like women. In some cases, they don’t actually bleed, but will still experience the same symptoms leading up to and during their time of the month, like bloating, cramping, and PMS.
Women sometimes shy away from talking about their periods because it’s “gross,” “impolite,” or “TMI.” The typical woman already has a hard time speaking openly about her period, and this stigma is even worse for transgender and non-binary people. We need to normalize the conversation about periods – and trans periods in particular.
I would also like to point out that not all women get periods! For instance, not all trans women will necessarily menstruate every month, but this doesn’t make them any less of a woman.
Image via Instagram (@catherinejkim)
Do cisgender men have periods?
Cisgender is a person whose gender and identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. So, do guys have periods? The answer is no: there’s no such thing as a male period. So what do guys have instead of periods?
Some men experience what’s known as male PMS – also called Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS).
IMS is attributed to men experiencing a drop in testosterone – the hormone that gives men their “mojo.” Unlike women, who tend to experience PMS within the same window each month, IMS can happen at any time, because the male hormonal cycle happens every 24 hours. Generally, testosterone levels are highest in the morning and drop off throughout the day.
The dip in testosterone during a man’s hormone cycle can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, dietary changes or fatigue. Men who experience Irritable Male Syndrome can become angry or moody, and in some cases it can also cause them to be anxious, depressed, and exhibit low self-esteem. Who knew?!
Image via Instagram (@violettinder)
Changing the conversation
Not only do people shy away from discussing periods, but the narrative that does arise has become exclusive as opposed to inclusive. It’s important to fight against this. One activist, Cass Clemmer, has already made huge steps.
Cass is a trans artist and educator who created a taboo-fighting coloring book called The Adventures of Toni the Tampon: A Coloring Book. With characters like Patrice the Pad, Sebastian the Sponge and Marina the Menstrual Cup, an otherwise avoided topic becomes something fun for everyone. If you’re as excited about this as we are, we highly recommend checking out Cass and Toni’s Instagram accounts.
Here at Knixteen, we’re always trying to smash the taboo! Our ‘Oh-No’ Proof Underwear is made for anyone that bleeds, no matter what your gender identity. We must keep working together to end this stigma, because no one should be ashamed of their period! It’s a beautiful, natural thing and should be treated as such.
Image via Instagram (@tonithetampon)