Transgender Artist Posts ‘Free-Bleeding’ Photo To Show Periods ‘Are Not Just For Women’

Cass Clemmer who works as a menstrual health activist grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo with little reproductive health education.

Transgender, Free-Bleeding, Are Not Just For Women, Washington D.C, Cass Clemmer, menstrual health activist, menstrual health, health, menstruation
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Menstruation is a natural process but still, people find it a taboo and don’t talk about it in public. A transgender artist and menstrual health activist from Washington D.C. became the talk of social media town after sharing an image which shows themselves 'free bleeding' in public.

 

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. See my life is very clearly marked, Like a red border cut up a nation, A time before and a time beyond, The mark of my first menstruation. So let me take you back, To the details that I can still recall, Of the day I gained my first period, And the day that I lost it all. I was 15 and still happy, Running around, all chest bared and buck, Climbing trees, digging holes, And no one gave a single fuck. I mean I think my ma was worried, So I went and grew out my locks, A sign I was normal, still a girl, A painted neon sign for my gender box. So, the day I got my period, My god, a day so proud, This little andro fucked up kid, Had been bestowed the straight, cis shroud. The relief got all meshed up in my pain, In that moment, I sat down and cried, Just thanking god I was normal, While mourning the freedom that had died. Everyone told me my hips would grow, I looked at them and couldn't stop crying, "What's wrong with you? You'll be a woman!" They kept celebrating a child dying. See my body had betrayed me, That red dot, the wax seal, On a contract left there broken, A gender identity that wasn’t real. Most people deal with blood and tissue, And yet my body forces me to surrender, Cause every time I get my cycle, Is another day I shed my gender. My boobs betray me first, I feel them stretching out my binder, I send up questions, "am I cursed?" And wish to god that she was kinder. The five days it flows, I try to breathe, I dissociate, While my body rips outs parts of me, Leaving nothing but a shell of hate. The blood drips from an open wound, Of a war waging deep inside my corpse, The battle between mind and body, Immovable object; unstoppable force. #bleedingwhiletrans #menstruator #genderinclusion #mencanmenstruate #protectranskids #periodpride #genderdysphoria #menstruationmatters #ifmenhadperiods [PLEASE SHARE!????]

A post shared by Toni the Tampon (@tonithetampon) on

Cass Clemmer, a non-binary artist who does not conform to a specific gender, and prefers to use they/them pronouns, caused quite a stir online after sharing the image which shows Cass sitting on a park bench, having bled through their khaki pants and posing with a sign that reads: 'Periods are not just for women.' They then added the hashtag #BleedingWhileTrans.

With the help of this powerful picture, Cass tried to provoke awareness for trans men's periods.

Cass also included a poem that they read at a spoken word event which took place during a menstrual health conference last summer. 

 

Cass also runs an Instagram account by the name ‘Toni the Tampon’ - featuring a travelling tampon that raises awareness and also answers questions about menstruation.

 

Cass is very open about menstruating and also about the struggles involved, both in terms of dealing with a period in general and how menstruation is a curse for someone who is not a woman.

While talking to HuffPost, Cass told, “I remember sharing for the first time with a friend of mine that I wasn’t able to wear my binder that day because I was on my period and my boobs had swelled up so much that it made it hard to breathe,”.

 

It's #TamponTuesday and today we're posting a photo of the human behind the tampon because if we've learned anything this week it's that queer representation matters. So the question of the week seems to be: men who menstruate?! The answer is quite simple: people with menstruating uteruses may identify on any number of points along the multidimensional gender spectrum. There are agender menstruators, genderqueer menstruators (like me!), other non-binary menstruators, and yes trans menstruators who are men or boys. We simply seek to be inclusive of all menstruators, no matter how you identify. We have never suggested that anyone without a uterus menstruates and if you find yourself bleeding monthly from your penis, you should probably get to a medical center stat. We also try to avoid using terms that equate menstruation to femininity or "womanhood". Not all women menstruate, and the fact that your uterus squeegees out blood and tissue every month or so does not make you inherently "feminine", and particularly not more so than women who don't menstruate. So there you have it folks- let's keep our menstrual health community inclusive by affirming all menstruators. Happy #TamponTuesday! With love, Cass & Toni ***I do not speak for all trans/non binary experiences*** #queeriods #menstruators #periodpower #mhm #resist #periodcoloringbook #protecttranskids #menstruationnation #menstrualhealth #inclusivefeminism #tamponart #mencanmenstruate

A post shared by Toni the Tampon (@tonithetampon) on

“We had been friends for awhile and she’s a feminist activist, but when I realized that not even she had considered what it was like for people like me to experience bleeding on an (ir)regular basis I knew that I had to go public with my story to help shift the mindset around trying periods to womanhood and femininity. Not all people who menstruate are women, and not all women menstruate,” Cass added.

Cass now works to spread awareness about periods as not just something that affects women specifically, and what it means to menstruate as a transgender or a non-binary person.

 

 

They also published a 20-page colouring book late last year, which featured a character that Cass created - Toni the Tampon - a googly-eyed feminine hygiene product who comes complete with their own fun-filled Instagram account.

 

 

Cass created Toni the Tampon on social media with the aim of breaking down stigmas around periods for different genders.

 

 

Cass wants to create more gender inclusive spaces within the menstruation movement.

Title Image: Instagram 

 


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Sumaiya Sheikh (WRITER)

Sumaiya believes in expressing her thoughts with the sword of words. This management lover handled 30 and 100 volunteers for All India Interschool Personality Contest in 2013 & 2016 respectively, by Oxford Speakers’ Academy. A chatterbox, she also hosted three shows at All India Radio. This compotator represented KKSU in the inter-university debate competition - Indradhanushya.

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