Rethinking the Gender of Menstruation

As we continue to destigmatize menstruation and reclaim the reverence for moon cycles, you will often read or hear a member of Pua Mohala use the term “menstruator(s)”, or even the phrase “people who experience periods”, in reference to this community and the people we are trying to engage. We will not address menstruators as women or girls for two very simple reasons: not all people who menstruate are women and not all women menstruate.

Not all people who experience periods are women, for example, people of various gender identities born with a female reproductive system, especially trans-men. Without judgement, we understand that many people aren’t aware of or actively thinking about the experiences of LGBTQ+ people, but it’s never too late to start being more inclusive in your thoughts and in your language. Using a term like “menstruators'' is an example of gender inclusive language. Not only is speaking in this way easy to do, but it’s also incredibly important and affirming. Refusing to think or speak inclusively when in discussions about menstruation can lead to the denial of not only identity, but of access to resources like menstrual and other hygiene products.

For people who don’t identify as women, getting one’s period can create a lot of shame, even self-hatred, especially if it feels like their body is going against them. But these negative feelings towards menstruation are the reality for many cisgender women as well. This shame is only possible because of the intricate connections between menstruation and womanhood.

Not all women menstruate – trans-women, postmenopausal women, women with PCOS, just to name a few. We think it