Because of lingering period shame and stigma, sometimes it’s hard for people to acknowledge that yes, people really do bleed every month. But it’s not just women who get their periods. People get their periods. Which is why for every order that includes KT’s new Pride print, a pair of Period Underwear will be donated to the Slash Kit Program by I Support The Girls.
As ISTG explains, “Slash represents the space between pronouns. The slash between she/he/they. Managing your period can be tough, and managing your period while living authentically even more so. The Slash Kit is meant to provide relief, comfort, and products to trans and non-binary people through the mail.”
Shop our Period Underwear below to help donate, and read on to learn more about who else bleeds.
Rule of thumb is: Not all women get their periods, and not everyone that gets their period is a woman. Trans, intersex, non-binary people (and everyone in between) can get periods too! If you need a refresher on all these terms, you can mosey on down to the end of this post for a recap. 🌈
Here’s what a lot of us have been taught: that only women get their periods. Whether we were taught this in sex-ed, through media or even just on just packages of tampons, periods are largely considered to be a girl thing— something that signifies womanhood.
But this isn’t really the case. Gender isn’t actually a determining factor when it comes to periods. This is because gender and sex are two distinct aspects of our identity. “Biological” sex largely has to do with our sex organs. Let's break it down: if a baby is born with a penis, they’re assigned male. If they’re born with a vulva, then the assigned sex is female. Sex, like gender, also operates on a spectrum! You can read more about it here.
If your gender identity doesn’t match what you were assigned at birth, you may identify as transgender or non-binary. For example, if you were born with a vagina but don’t identify with being a woman, you may identify as a male instead. This means that there are people other than ciswomen (women whose gender identity matches their sex organs) who menstruate.
The only determining factor on whether someone gets a period? Having a uterus. And people who identify as male or non-binary can have uteruses! Because why? Let’s say it together: Gender and sex are different things. See, you’re getting it already.
Some Terms To Know
Non-Binary: Some people don’t feel like “boy” or “girl” fits how they feel. NB people may feel like both at once, or neither! It just means the binary definitions of man/ woman don’t always apply for them. Respectfully ask what pronouns they prefer, but non-binary pals may use pronouns like they/them or a mix of others!
Intersex: Intersex refers to people born with sex characteristics that don’t fit the typical definitions of boy or girl. You may be surprised to learn that babies can be born with anything other than a penis or a vagina, but it’s not super uncommon. It’s almost as common as being born with red hair. The more you know!
Transgender: Your trans friends have a different gender identity than what sex they were originally assigned at birth. For example, you popped out of your mom, your doctor saw you had “girl” parts and then BAM, “Female” was automatically added to your birth certificate. But your trans pals are people that feel/ identify differently than what their birth info states.
Cisgender: Cis people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. If the doc assigned you as female and you feel like a girl/ identify as a girl, then BAM, you’re cis.
All of these people (and more) can have their periods! In some cases, they might not actually bleed, but will still experience similar symptoms leading up to or during their time of the month, like bloating, cramping, and PMS.
Changing the conversation
We can all be kinda shy about our periods. They can be really hard to talk about. But it’s important to remember that the stigma around menstruation is even greater for trans or non-binary people. It’s also important to normalize talking about menstruation, and not just what that experience is like for ciswomen.
Normalizing menstruation for all makes it so period education, period health and period products are more accessible and inclusive to all different kinds of periods. So how do you normalize periods for all? Having conversations are a great way to smash any kind of taboo and demystify any topic— periods included!
Some things to remember:
- Use inclusive and non-gender specific language. For example, avoid using the phrase “feminine hygiene”
- Menstruating does not mean you are a woman
- Being a woman does not always mean you menstruate
- Every single person, no matter their gender, has a different relationship with their period