My First Period
My first period wasn’t one of those big deal-type stories. I was nine years old and I was using the bathroom when I noticed a spot – not quite a full blown stain – on my toilet paper. So I called my mom in and told her, and she explained to me what was going on. My mom was more freaked out than I was, to be honest. She couldn’t believe that I was growing up so quickly, and I was more annoyed by the fact that I had a new unwanted responsibility.
From the very beginning, I found my period uncomfortable. I didn’t like the feeling of blood or feeling something down there when I usually don’t. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m trans, but I’ve just never liked it. After I got it for the first time I was like, ‘Okay great, now I have something to deal with.’
Every time I got my period, I would become very tense. I would walk around with my shoulder tight, and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. I couldn’t loosen up at all, which I’m pretty sure made the symptoms of my period worse. I accepted that it was happening to me, but I always moped about it, like, ‘Why is this happening to me?’
I began transitioning when I turned 20, I’m 22 now. When I started to take testosterone shots in 2021, my period stopped completely. I felt euphoric, pretty much like a whole new man. After a while, I stopped taking testosterone for a bit because I became depressed. I was confident in my ability to maintain the testosterone/estrogen level I was at, however my period started back up again around five months ago. It was devastating. When you start testosterone, that's one of the first things you expect to change, so when it came back it made me feel super dysphoric.
I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my period. It’s almost like it’s something that existed independent of me. But it’s better than it used to be and that’s partly because my partner introduced me to period underwear. Since they come in different styles such as the boxers or boy shorts, it makes me feel more included and less like a woman. I used to put boxers over top of whatever period product I was wearing. Obviously you can’t wear a pad with boxers because they drop the crotch.
What I’d Tell My Younger Self
Looking back, I would tell myself to take better care of yourself during your period. I always made myself feel guilty and disgusting when I would get it, because ‘men don’t get a period’ but that’s not true and it doesn’t make sense to make yourself feel bad over something that you can’t control and naturally experience as a human being.
I’m only now learning how to care for myself and comfort myself when I’m menstruating. I like to take long showers and then lather myself in whatever masculine lotions and colognes I have on hand. I also give myself words of affirmation, telling myself that it’s okay to have a period as a man, that I’m still a man if I experience this. I will also give myself whatever food I’m craving, which is usually McDonald’s or junk food from the gas station. Learning how to do that for myself has been the biggest part of my journey so far.
What Cis People Should Know About Trans Menstruation
If you’re asking a trans man directly about what it’s like getting a period, we would probably tell you to stop talking about it. It’s a bit annoying because it makes us feel like the odd ball out compared to other trans men. We do not want to be associated with periods because they make it harder for us to be validated as men. But it is important to discuss the fact that some trans men still do experience a period, because for some people it’s very surprising. I would say that cis people need to be less opinionated and more open to listening when it comes to discussing trans menstruation.