A transgender YouTuber last week opened up about “what it’s like to experience periods as a trans guy.”
Jamie Raines told PinkNews that he mostly stopped menstruating after he began hormone therapy in 2012. But a few years ago, Raines said, he switched to a different type of testosterone and experienced the “very unwelcome” return of monthly vaginal bleeding.
“The first time it happened, I was brought straight back to that very dysphoric feeling that I had years ago,” he recalled in a video released on July 25. “And I just remember again being stuck on the toilet crying, just not knowing what to do. It just kind of shook me.”
Raines explained that his feminine bodily function was so upsetting because he considers himself as much of a man as anyone else.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that periods are only experienced by women,” he said. “But in reality, transgender men are real men. We’re just born a little bit different to other guys.”
According to Raines, the marketing of menstrual products to women only makes his gender dysphoria worse.
“It can be quite hard to navigate having periods as a guy when everything to do with periods is aimed very much toward women and is very like female orientated, and all the advertising and packaging and just all of that stuff,” he said.
However, Raines reported that after a couple months, he was better able to cope with his periods. He attributed his increased resilience to “being further along in my transition.”
“I had facial hair. My voice had broken. I was a lot more comfortable in my skin. I’d had top surgery. I just felt a lot better about myself,” he said. “And I wasn’t gonna let this one thing ruin that.”
Jamie Raines and the de-feminization of the period
Raines is not alone. De-feminizing periods is part of the transgender rights movement’s campaign to achieve recognition of gender identity over biological sex.
A British activist group called #periodpositive has created a “flow chart” that seeks to eradicate gendered language in discussing menstruation.
Titled “Queeriods,” the diagram identifies common phrases associated with women’s periods, and offers alternatives. For starters, it admonishes readers not to say “women” at all in this context, but rather to adopt the neologism “menstruators.”
Other suggestions include replacing “femcare” with “menstruation management,” “mothers and daughters” with “parents and children,” and “women” with “people.”
Beyond just language, the chart urges the adoption of gender neutral restrooms or at least putting tampon bins in the men’s room.
However, critics have warned that society can only go so far in accommodating transgender identity. A recent example that crossed the line for many was the case of a Canadian transgender woman who is suing a number of waxing businesses for refusing to service his scrotum as though it were a vagina.