The Hello Cup x #PeopleWithPeriods |
Let’s Talk About Period Inclusivity
There is a lot of talk about period inclusivity. For many people, it’s a confusing topic. We figured now was the time to shed on some light on the subject.
First up is making the distinction between sex and gender. Everyone is assigned a sex at birth that’s dictated by genetics and body parts. But the sex you are born with is not always in line with the gender you identify with as a person.
In their guidelines for treating gender-nonconforming and transgender people, the American Psychological Association explains, “Gender identity is defined as a person’s deeply felt, inherent sense of being a girl, woman, or female; a boy, a man, or male; a blend of male or female; or an alternative gender. Gender identity differs from sex assigned at birth to varying degrees, and may be experienced and expressed outside of the gender binary.
There are a few other terms that are also commonly used today regarding sex and gender which some people are unfamiliar with that we want to clarify—the most common of these are cisgender and non-binary.
When a person’s gender identity matches the sex assigned to them at birth the term cisgender is used. The opposite of cisgender is transgender, which describes a person who doesn’t identify with the sex they are born into. When a person desires medical assistance to transition from one sex to another this is known as transsexual.
Non-binary or genderqueer refers to a spectrum of gender identities that are neither masculine nor feminine. Non-binary individuals can also fall under the term transgender since many non-binary people don’t identify with the gender they are born into.
In terms of global numbers, unfortunately, right now, the data that has been collected both in NZ and overseas in relation to sex and gender has been limited and inconsistent. Thankfully, most countries, including NZ, are currently rethinking the way they survey their populations to be more inclusive and compliant with best statistical practice.
Unlike gender, menstruation comes down to biology. If a person has a functioning uterus and a vagina menstruation will occur regardless of gender identity. Transgender men, who are born with a vagina will menstruate, which is why transgender men who menstruate every month can feel excluded if the discussion is that only women menstruate. Transgender women on the other hand are not born with uteruses and vaginas so they will not get their period. At the end of the day, gender identity has nothing to do with menstruation.
When it comes to monthly periods, the truth of the matter is that not all women menstruate and not all people who menstruate are women. This is one reason the word ‘menstruators’ is being used more commonly rather than specifically calling out ‘women who menstruate.’ This is the motivation behind our decision at The Hello Cup to remove all gender-specific labels on our products to promote a barrier-free conversation to include all people with periods.
“While The Hello Cup is known to have a fun and light-hearted approach to life at times, we are also committed to kindness and inclusivity 24/7,” states Co-founder Robyn McLean. “If you are a transgender male, non-binary, a ciswoman, or identify as something else and you have a period—then you are welcome to be a part of The Hello Cup gang any time.”
To further the conversation in the public square, The Hello Cup launched its campaign, #PEOPLEWITHPERIODS, an initiative aimed at encouraging free-flowing, kind, and open conversations around everyone’s cycle in partnership with non-binary activist, model, and kindness campaigner, Rain Dove.
In conjunction with The Hello Cup, Rain, who is non-binary person with a period, has been working with our team to create a series of videos where Rain shares their experience with menstruation, public perceptions on the topic, and societal stigmas associated with periods. “I’m working with The Hello Cup because the fact that not only women have periods is something that is not discussed enough,” explains Rain. “People have periods and The Hello Cup’s commitment to not making periods a gender issue is refreshing.”
You can see the kick-off video here.