What's it like having your period when you're gender non-conforming?
By Twiz Rimer
Hi, I’m Twiz, and for the sake of words, I most likely identify as a masculine of center- gender non-conforming-gender variant person.
I deal with my period every 28 days for a solid week, and my cramps are unreal. I bleed like Niagara Falls. My period is awful. My insides are a full-blown baby-makin’ machine. With that said, having naturally high testosterone levels (most likely due to fibroids in my uterus), my periods are brutal and my PMS does not lie. Sometimes, I cry in the shower, while a voice in the back of my mind tells me to “Suck it up and get over it,” something like a male friend might say in the locker room. My emotions can become really manic and confusing during this time. Apologies to all the girls I’ve ever dated: “Sorry, I love you…”
But, alas, periods are inevitable. When I was younger, I was completely embarrassed to go to the pharmacy and buy “feminine hygiene products”, or whatever the kids call ‘em these days. I picked up from society that vaginas are secret, dirty, dark places that nobody talks about, so, hiding one in my pants, I was terrified to walk into stores to buy those forbidden items. I am 100% male passing, but back then I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was because I was six-feet tall with double Ds and a mustache, or maybe it was the fact that I was raised being told I was female and assumed others also thought that way.
Where did this terror come from? Why is there a stigma surrounding vaginal products? Who taught me this? And why aren’t these products free in the first place?
You know, if cis men had periods we wouldn’t have to grapple with these dilemmas. I eventually just stopped using menstrual hygiene products altogether, and would just pray I wouldn’t leak all over myself (which was inevitable, by the way). It was worth not having to face the store clerk. I would just use the bathroom more often and clean up. It was what it was. As I’ve gotten older it has gotten easier. I have more life experience now, and have “convinced” myself that I am fully drifting through this world seen as a man, and I no longer care about the clerks’ feelings… or the fact that I own a vagina. I have no problem buying menstrual products and I can confidently walk into the men’s room to use/apply them. And in the unlikely event that someone will be confused, it is not my problem, and I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. This is obviously a big relief, and it took a long time to accept.
I love my body, even though I still hate my period.