Transgender Men Claim Lack Of Gender-Neutral Menstruation Products Causes ‘Pain,’ Makes Them ‘Unsafe’
Female-to-male transgender individuals who still menstruate are now saying that feminine hygiene products, which are typically marketed at biological women, should be gender-neutral (and free) so that they are not further oppressed, harmed, or triggered by gender-specific packaging and the cost of period products during their “time of the month.”
The revelation comes in a wide-ranging report from NBC News, which claims that transgender individuals are caused “pain” by the fact that menstruation is assumed to be a female-only process.
“I didn’t believe that having periods would be a part of my lived experience,” one prominent trans-rights activist told NBC about the situation. “I felt isolated; everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this and nothing in the world documented that.”
“Some transgender and gender-nonconforming people who menstruate,” the story continues, taking care not to refer to the individuals as biologically female, though that is what they are, “say when the products are categorized as women’s products, they can feel alienated — and may even avoid purchasing them altogether.”
The problems stem from the products themselves. Typically, feminine hygiene products are referred to as “feminine,” even though there are, now, “masculine” periods. As a result, menstruation products have female-oriented packaging, are marketed to women, and are available exclusively in women’s restrooms (and at a cost). There are also concerns about using feminine hygiene products, if there’s a chance someone a transgender individual encounters in the process is surprised by their need for pads or tampons.
Activists also say that female-to-male transgenders, who haven’t completed their gender transition, are being “discriminated against” by care providers like gynecologists who will only see patients who have female reproductive systems or who identify as biologically female.
And then there’s the cost.
“The cost and taxation of menstruation products could hit transgender people even harder [than cis-gender people], according to Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality,” NBC News reports. Trans individuals, he says, “are experiencing poverty, unemployment and underemployment at higher rates, so there is absolutely economic vulnerability here.”