When I express to my cisgender female friends how much I hate getting my period, many of them will brush it off because “nobody likes getting their period.” But for me, it's more than that.
Maybe it’s because discussing real issues I face as a nonbinary person is a bit hard-hitting, or maybe it’s because they truly don’t see why I might hate getting that red reminder even more so than the average person — but I do.
The point is menstruating as a nonbinary or trans person can be really rough. So, I’ve compiled a list of five things that I find useful (or am considering) as a nonbinary person who gets periods.
There are quite a few companies that now take trans/nonbinary people into consideration when it comes to packaging, marketing and describing their products. Using sanitary products that come from companies you know have your best interests at heart really makes using those products feel less awful. Because you feel valid as a trans person using that product and because they’re made for people who get periods rather than being labeled as "feminine products."
I’m very fortunate that my girlfriend is super-supportive of me and my gender identity. She knows that when I get my period, I’m going to be feeling particularly low and (I’ll admit) kind of sorry for myself. During this time, she’ll make extra effort to call me "handsome" instead of "pretty."
A support network can come in all shapes and sizes. It could be cis friends who have your back, trans/nonbinary friends who can empathize, a partner who knows exactly what you need or an online community that makes you feel a little less alone. There are tons of groups online for trans/nonbinary folks, and heck, if you don’t want to trawl through the internet to find one, you’re welcome to tweet me if you’ve got your period and you’re feeling low. I’ll send you a GIF to cheer you up.
For a lot of trans guys and nonbinary people, taking testosterone is a key step in helping them feel like themselves. It also helps to naturally stop menstruation from occurring once you’re taking enough regularly. Personally, I don’t think T is for me. At least not right now. So what can people do if they aren’t interested in testosterone or are unable to take T for whatever reason?
There are a number of ways you can suppress your period. There are a variety of birth-control methods you can explore; the pill, the coil and the implant are just the main ones. Personally, I’m considering the implant. I already take enough daily medication and it prevents you from getting periods for three to five years. But if you’re considering period suppression, you should explore the method that’s right for you.
If you can find it in yourself to laugh about your period, it gives menstruating less power over you and is less likely to cause you as much upset. I know some trans guys who refer to menstruating as their “man period,” and I have a nonbinary friend who would cheer me up by saying I was a Viking with a battle wound when I’d get my period. Laughing about it isn’t always easy, but it helps.
There are so few trans/nonbinary people who feel comfortable talking about their periods because we’re ashamed we get them in the first place. But if we start the conversation, we can all pitch in to help each other feel less alone, and we can even help to normalize the idea that it isn’t just women who get periods. We aren’t helping anyone by suffering in silence.
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