courtesy of PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement
Around December of 2015, a case went to Supreme Court where a bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in Colorado because he believes marriage is only between a man and a woman. They relied on the freedom of religious expression and free speech to justify turning away the gay couple. On June 4th of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Colorado bakers with a religious bias. However, they left undecided whether a business owner can refuse service because of a customer’s sexual orientation. Once again, America has shown its true colors and leaves the lgbtq+ community in the dust.
With this political climate and tension constantly bubbling in the air, PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement created solidarity over one thing that shouldn’t be political and probably the best thing on earth: cake! PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement celebrated Pride by discussing how periods affects queer bodies with five queer-identifying menstruators based in New York by doing something that unites us all. Decorating and eating a cake at Sugar Sketch Bakery! “If they don’t bake you a cake, bake it yourself!”
Periods are often correlated to hundreds of different things; pain, impurity, bitchiness, dirty, and women. As periods are becoming more destigmatized and normalized, it’s still often associated to femininity and womanhood.
Societal norms tell us that once you start menstruating, you finally become a woman. “Well for me, I’m gender fluid*. I never saw the association between having a period and being feminine or being considered a woman”, Grey said.
*Gender fluid: People who identify as genderfluid may move back and forth between gender presentations and identifications, or participate in queering of gender by mixing masculine and feminine presentations.” In short: Defining “gender-fluid” is very unique to each individual who identifies with the term. The same goes for which pronouns they prefer to use.
Jhenna also explained, “I realize that not everyone who identifies as a female menstruate, and that took a while for me to understand”. There are trans men who do not have access to hormone therapy and has periods and a female anatomy, but that does not make them less of a man. And “not having a period doesn’t make you less of a woman”, Clara says.
“Not having a period doesn’t make you less of a woman”
As we always talk about the physical health surrounding periods, like the awful cramps and cravings that comes with it, we do not discuss our thoughts and feelings. Especially ones that comes up when you’re queer. When discussing their relationship to their periods, Bronwen explains, “I think I kind of had to go through almost a grieving process when I realized that I probably wasn’t going to wind up with a man because I feel like I’m going to miss out on having children that looks like my partner. Like ‘Oh she has your eyes and my hair.’ ”
Capitalism and society displays menstruation as happy feminine white skinny women being able to climb mountains and run a marathon while on their periods. However, there are queer women who do identifies as themselves as female but presents themselves more masculine. Fabliha comments, “I present as a feminine queer [woman] so I feel like it’s easier for me to talk about periods. I can’t imagine what butch* women go through. Like when it comes to their periods, [society] automatically correlates [their presence] to traditional masculinity” which makes it harder for them to discuss their experiences of mensuration.
*Butch: A queer woman who presents themseleves more masculine.
Grey responded back saying, “Your brain automatically associates periods with a woman. Since I am gender fluid, I’m use to navigating different sides of that spectrum of femininity and masculinity. But I feel for people who are so purely masculine. That can sometimes be emasculating. Anatomy is not gendered”.
“Anatomy is not gendered”
They also explore the topics of public bathrooms, accessibility to period hygiene products for all and more. Check out the full video and learn more about queer bodies and periods now!