A guest blog by the awesome team behind @we.menstruate, Sian Callaghan & Miller Nelson, all about periods and pronouns.
If you've been on social media lately, it's likely you've seen the J.K. Rowling scandal. How can a woman who created such a magical world have such narrow minded thoughts underneath the surface!? It's mind boggling!
We are Miller (he/him) and Sian (she/her), we both menstruate and wanna talk about why J.K. Rowling is wrong. If you don't know what we are talking about, then allow us to fill you in real quick. J.K. Rowling revealed herself to be transphobic, and spoke out about anyone who menstruates other than cisgender women (those whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex).
So, let's get cracking shall we as we have a lot to discuss.
Firstly though, we would like to emphasize the importance of talking about periods, it's really bloody important! It not only helps to dismantle the stigma, shame and insane amount of misinformation surrounding them, but it helps to empower those who menstruate... But only when talked about correctly.
All too often period talk can be alienating to many people who are left out of the conversation.
Not all who menstruate are women, and not all women menstruate. Now let's say it again louder for the people at the back!
What on earth do you mean? We hear you ask, well allow us to explain...
Not All Women Menstruate
Menopause, stress, medical conditions and hysterectomies are just a few reasons why cisgender women don't have periods. Transgender women don't menstruate either. Periods are often talked about as super feminine and something that defines all women, however, we know this isn't the case and it can be extremely toxic for women who don't menstruate. A lack of periods does not make a person lesser than they are. You can still be a bad ass, feminine goddess and not menstruate.
Not All Who Menstruate Are Women
Transgender men and non binary people, are just two examples of those who also menstruate. In discussions they are often ignored or made to feel lesser than, due to the fact they bleed every month. Periods are a biological function. There is absolutely no need to gender body parts, or bodily functions. You can still be fudging VALID, IMPORTANT and FANTASTIC human being whilst bleeding every month.
The two of us have totally different experiences when we get our period every month, and we would love to tell you about them to help put what we've said into perspective for you.
Sian - I love my period and I LOVE to talk about my period, blood clots and all. My periods are very irregular, and I'm not sure why but either way when I start bleeding I feel completely in tune with myself and my body. Growing up, I was reminded by my friends, family, the media and advertising how completely natural it was for me. It wasn't until I met Miller, that I truly considered what it must feel like for a trans or non binary person, who are completely ignored or made to feel invalid. I am one of the lucky ones, and I don't take that for granted so I will continue to use my voice and raise awareness for those who aren't so lucky, including those affected by period poverty. I urge you to be an ally too.
Miller - As a transgender guy, my period really affects my mental health and knocks my confidence. I don't feel I fit in with society norms and often feel excluded from the important conversations. Saying only women menstruate and not using inclusive language makes me feel invalid. I cannot stress just how important it is to be inclusive and gender neutral on menstruation products! It means people like myself can walk into a shop and pick up the products and buy them without feeling like I'm doing something I shouldn't. By being included on the packaging, it feels less embarrassing and sneaky.
Also, while we are talking about being inclusive here's something to consider. If you are unsure of a persons pronouns, then it's okay to politely ask. It saves a lot of awkward conversations and avoids hurting a persons feelings.
Let's demystify and destigmatize menstruation whilst keeping the conversation inclusive.
Miller & Sian x
P.S. F you J.K. Rowling.
Find Sian and Miller on Instagram: @we.menstruate.