How To Manage Your Period as a Nonbinary or Trans Person
Written by Cinestie Olson
Historically, education on periods and menstrual health has been severely understudied and mostly founded by non-menstruators. Also (historically), the LGBTQIA+ community has been left out of the conversation surrounding periods; especially nonbinary, transgender, and genderfluid persons. We’ve created a guide on how to navigate your period for our nonbinary and trans friends!
According to the National Library of Medicine, 93% of trans and nonbinary youth go through distressing puberties because of their period. Period products to this day are still marketed as “feminine products” in many stores across the world. Buying products that aren’t directly marketed to you may feel disconnected and stressful. Here’s a few tips on purchasing and using period products that may ease the gender dysphoria you may feel when shopping:
Shop Gender-Inclusive Brands. Though there is still so much growth that needs to be done, many period product brands have changed the language they use to be more inclusive. Instead of reaching for a brand that labels themselves as “feminine care,” look for one that uses the terms, “menstruators'' or “menstrual care.” Sunny, an LGBTQIA+ owned business, has made the effort in their campaigns to make sure that their products feel like they are for everyone who menstruates. Midol, a popular menstrual symptom relief brand, has included transgender and nonbinary people in their advertisements, proudly showing that they are inclusive to all menstruators (as every period-care brand should be). Our other favorite inclusive period brands are Somedays, a period pain relief company as well as Monthly, a period underwear brand who make boxer briefs!
Choose a Product That You’re Comfortable With. If you experience dysphoria when you get your period, here are a few period product options that can help you.
- Don’t Need To Be Inserted: Pads, reusable pads, and period underwear are great at absorbing your flow without having to be inserted.
- Can’t Be Seen/Don’t Need To Be Changed Frequently: Period cups and discs are meant to not be seen once they are inserted in you. You can leave them in for up to 12 hours at a time. You also shouldn’t be able to feel them once you have them in!
- No Loud Wrappers/Bathroom Friendly: Reusable cloth pads and period underwear usually don’t come in wrappers that can cause loud noise in public bathrooms.
Hormone Therapies Can Change Your Period. For those who are able to have gender-affirming hormone therapy, you may notice your period start to change once you start taking testosterone. Hormones can be administered by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, patch, topical gel, implanted pellet, or pills. In testosterone replacement therapy, the reproductive system is one of the last changes your body will experience. It’s totally normal to feel dysphoria when your identity does not align with your reproductive organs! However, with continued use of HRT, your period will get lighter and shorter before they ultimately stop altogether.
Please note that though testosterone replacement therapy can lower your chances of getting pregnant, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk! Always use a form of birth control if you’re sexually active and don’t want to become pregnant.
For children, teens, and those who are not able to get HRT (hormone replacement therapy), it’s important to find a physician or therapist who you are comfortable with! Some physicians may put you on hormonal birth control that can stop your periods altogether, and therapists are a great resource to have when navigating gender dysphoria. There are also many Title X clinics across the United States that can issue birth control, HRT, and other medical care without going through insurance or for confidentiality reasons. You can find a Title X clinic near you using this website.
The conversation about adequate period health for nonbinary and transgender people starts with us! Head to our socials to start a conversation, or check out our form Sunny Says (scroll to the bottom) to share your own personal and anonymous stories!
Please note: Nothing in this article should not be taken as medical advice, as Sunny is not a health care expert. The information provided is based on research from other reputable sources. Please refer to a health care provider for proper health care guidance.