It’s Time to Degender Menstruation

  • by Cindy Belardo

Written by Cinestie Olson


Not all people who have periods are women – and not all women have periods.

This statement has caused quite the controversy, but is nothing short of true. A woman may not have their period due to their birth control, menopause, having XY chromosomes, or other medical reasons! Also, someone with a uterus may get a period but not identify as a woman. This can include nonbinary, intersex, gender non-conforming, or transgender men with uteruses. 

On September 12, 2022, Sunny launched a petition calling to officially degender menstruation. With this petition, Sunny has two main goals with this initiative:

  1. Changing the way retailers label period products in their aisles and on their websites.
  2. Having the gender-neutral term “menstruator” added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

We know, we also can’t believe “menstruator” is not an official word. If you want even further proof, try typing it in your phone and you will notice the red underline highlighting that it is indeed not in the dictionary. 

So what Does ‘Menstruator’ mean you may ask? 

Simply put: Menstruator (n.): a person who menstruates or has a period. This can include people who present themselves as feminine, masculine, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and transgender folks who have periods. We want to emphasize that menstruation doesn’t have a gender, it is a biological process!

Why Does Menstruation Need to be Degendered?

Many popular retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens normally place period products under labels like “feminine hygiene” or “feminine products”. Not only does this provide a narrative that isn’t inclusive to all menstruators, it can pose a threat on transgender individuals who may feel outed or experience gender dysphoria when shopping in period product aisles. 

What is Gender Dysphoria?

Gender dysphoria is a condition that causes distress and discomfort when the gender you identify with conflicts with your biological sex. When retailers or media use traditionally feminine language when talking about menstruation or period products, this can create a type of distress in those who have a period, but don’t identify as a woman or express themselves as feminine. Inclusive labeling such as “period care products” or “menstrual products” can help eliminate gender dysphoria around menstruation!

How to Support:

If you are a trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or allied menstruator who would like to help raise awareness for this cause, we invite you to share your unique feelings, experiences, and perspectives on how using gendered language when talking about periods can have a negative impact on gender-nonconforming menstruators. If you wish to participate, please use the hashtag #WeAreMenstruators on TikTok or Instagram. Sunny will be donating $10 to the National Center For Transgender Equality (NCTE) for each of the first 500 posts using the hashtag!

To support this initiative, read and sign Sunny’s petition that you can find here: https://chng.it/qTcDKQZLVT

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