By: Brenda Mongare (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thumbnail photo courtesy of: www.amazon.com
Menstrual pad maker Always has announced that it will remove the female symbol from its products to reflect the fact that some people who menstruate don’t identify as women, including transgender men and nonbinary people.
The company was forced into deciding at the behest of lobbyists, Always’ parent company, Procter and Gamble, released a statement saying it opted to make the change after continued feedback from customers, including trans men and allies.
“For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so, we’re also committed to diversity and inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers.”
“It’s just a way to have accurate, affirming medical care, to exist in your body and be comfortable and recognized for who you are, periods are a biological, reproductive function that has nothing to do with how you think of yourself, which is what gender is. People have to get away from this idea that gender is connected to genitals.” Erika Hart added
But it’s possible to have a uterus without identifying as a woman, as is the case with transgender men, as well as nonbinary and intersex people since gender identity and sex are two different things.
Gender identity refers to a person’s internal concept of self and can include terms like man, woman, transgender, and nonbinary.
For example, a transgender man is someone who was assigned female at birth but identifies as male. A nonbinary person is someone who identifies as neither male nor female, regardless of how they were assigned at birth.
Some transgender people may choose to have hormone treatments or surgery to make their physical characteristics better align with their identity, but many do not.
The discomfort of menstruation can be magnified for trans men who choose to take testosterone since the hormone can cause vaginal inflammation and can make using tampons or menstrual cups painful.
The monthly experience can also be emotionally painful for trans and nonbinary people due to gender dysphoria, or the psychological distress caused by a disconnect between a person’s identity and their assigned sex.
While gender dysphoria can be brought on by social situations, such as when someone is misgendered (referred to in a way other than how they identify), it can also happen to trans men and nonbinary people when buying and using menstrual products. That’s because periods are typically referred to as only a “women’s issue” and most conversations about menstruation focus on women and girls.