Let’s Flow Together: Period Talks For All Genders

Who can you talk to about your period without feeling awkward? In many parts of the world, traditionally, most conversations and information about periods are had by women and girls. This excludes trans and non-binary people who menstruate, and also people who don’t menstruate. At Monthly Dignity, we believe that by involving everyone, regardless of gender identity, in conversations about menstruation, we create a more empathetic and informed society that promotes understanding, support, and equality.

Exclusionary gendered language ignores the experiences of transgender men and non-binary individuals who menstruate. The lack of visibility and understanding surrounding their experiences can lead to feelings of isolation and invalidation. Menstruation may already be an event that contributes to gender dysphoria, and a sense of unease in one’s body. By including their voices and stories in discussions about periods, we validate their experiences and affirm their identities. Inclusive conversations also provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the specific needs and concerns of gender-diverse folks, leading to better access to resources and support.

Using language that is not gender inclusive promotes the idea that cisgender men should not be concerned or informed about menstruation. Non-menstruators are systematically excluded from conversations about periods, both in educational and informal contexts. Involving those who don’t menstruate in conversations about periods is crucial. While they may not experience menstruation firsthand, they play significant roles in the lives of menstruators as partners, friends, family members, community members, and healthcare providers. Non-menstruators play a role in perpetuating menstrual taboos and, therefore, should participate in challenging these norms. People who menstruate can sometimes avoid talking about their periods with non-menstruators, because of internalized stigma and shame. By educating and including cisgender men and other non-menstruators in conversations about periods and debunking myths and stigmas, we empower them to be more empathetic, understanding, knowledgeable and supportive allies. 

Inclusive conversations also provide valuable educational opportunities. When everyone is included in discussions about periods, a broader range of experiences and questions come to light. This exchange of information can lead to a better understanding of the menstrual cycle, reproductive health, and the various menstrual care products available. 

Involving non-menstruators in conversations about periods fosters empathy and solidarity. When people take the time to listen to and learn from the experiences of others, they develop a deeper understanding of what it’s like to menstruate. This shared understanding can lead to more supportive and respectful interactions.

How to Include Non-Menstruators in Conversations

Creating inclusive conversations about periods requires intentional efforts. Here are some strategies to ensure that non-menstruators are included:

  • Use Inclusive Language: When discussing periods, use gender-neutral language that acknowledges the diverse range of experiences. For example, instead of saying “women’s health,” opt for “menstrual health.”
  • Educate and Raise Awareness: Share information about the experiences of transgender men and non-binary individuals who menstruate. By educating others about these experiences, you can help challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.
  • Encourage Questions and Listening: Create a safe space for questions and discussions. Encourage non-menstruators to ask questions and to actively listen to the experiences of menstruators without judgment.
  • Include Menstrual Education in Schools: Advocate for comprehensive and inclusive menstrual education in schools. This education should cover a range of topics related to reproductive health, including different gender identities and experiences.
  • Promote Representation: Support media and content that portrays a diverse range of menstruators, including transgender men and non-binary individuals.

Inclusive conversations about periods are essential for promoting understanding, empathy, and equality. By involving non-menstruators in these discussions, we challenge negative narratives, break down taboos, and promote an environment where everyone’s experiences and perspectives are valued. In this collective effort, we create a more inclusive, informed, and compassionate society that supports the well-being of everyone, regardless of their gender identity. Hopefully, this article helps inspire you to join this movement, and talk about periods with those around you!