This Transgender Artist Shared An Important Photo About The Reality Of Bleeding While Trans
2 August 2017, 16:23 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 14:16
This isn't talked about enough.
When people have conversations about periods, oftentimes they'll use language that can exclude the trans community. Framing menstruation as something that only happens to cis women, without taking trans men into account, is an act of erasure that can be hurtful and dismissive.
To illustrate this point, trans artist Cass Clemmer posted a powerful photo to their Instagram to highlight the fact that periods don't just happen to people that identify as women.
Cass is a trans artist whose pronouns are they/them. Cass posted a photo of themselves "free bleeding" as a visual reminder that there are many people who menstruate but don't identify as women.
Free bleeding is the act of menstruating without a barrier (pads, tampons, cup etc). Cass can be seen bleeding through their light coloured trousers while holding up a sign that says "periods are not just for women".
In the caption for the photo, Cass wrote a deeply moving poem about their experience of #BleedingWhileTrans.
"Y’all know I’m trans and queer, And what that means for me all around, Is something that’s neither there nor here, It’s a happy, scary middle ground. So when I talk gender inclusion, And I wrote these rhymes to help you see, I’m not tryna bring up something shallow, Periods are honestly pretty traumatic for me."
Biology and identity are not the same and, for many people, periods or other physiological changes associated with puberty can be scary and unwanted. Cass' poem and photo highlight the need for our language to be inclusive so that we don't accidentally erase the experiences of trans men and other gender non-binary folks.