Model Kenny Ethan Jones explains the ‘physical and psychological pain’ of having periods as a trans man
British model Kenny Ethan Jones has spoken out about getting periods as a trans man to advocate for transgender-inclusive menstrual healthcare.
He highlighted that the pain of menstruation is psychological as well as physical, and talked about the safety concerns and lack of access to menstrual products for trans people who get periods.
“I didn’t believe that having periods would be a part of my lived experience,” Jones told NBC News about his first period. “I felt isolated; everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this and nothing in the world documented that.”
“Having a period already causes me a lot of dysphoria, but this dysphoria becomes heightened when I have to shop for a product that is labeled as ‘women’s health’ and in most cases, is pretty and pink,” Jones explained.
Some trans and non-binary people who get periods can struggle with accessing products aimed at women – and may even avoid purchasing them altogether.
“I’ve definitely seen a positive shift with the discussion around women experiencing periods, but the stigma towards trans men, non-binary and intersex individuals having them is still alive and well,” said Jones. “People are still reluctant to the idea that it’s not only women that experience periods.”
This was demonstrated when menstrual-hygiene company Always removed the female “Venus” symbol from its sanitary-towel packaging in a move towards inclusivity.
In a statement to Metro, Always owner Procter & Gamble said that the company had “realised that not everyone who has a period and needs to use a pad identifies as female… To ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable in doing so with Always, we updated our pad wrapper design”.
Always’ decision, in October 2019, was praised by many in the LGBT+ community – but was also met with backlash from anti-trans campaigners.
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The Daily Mail accused company of “kowtowing” to the “transgender lobby” (which does not exist), and feminist agitator Julie Bindel told The Mail on Sunday: “Removing the female symbol from sanitary towel packaging is basically denying the existence of women.
“We’re now moving towards the total elimination of women’s biology. The women’s symbol has been used by feminists for decades. This is pure cowardice and virtue signalling from these big corporate brands who are capitulating to the trans agenda.”
But the trans advocacy group, Trans Actual, responded: “We’re quite frankly worried for the women whose sense of self is so fragile that the removal of a symbol from a packet of sanitary towels makes them feel ‘erased’.”
As for Kenny Ethan Jones, he said he has no plans to stop advocating for more transgender-inclusive health care.
“I’ll be spending my 2020 championing for further inclusion of my community,” he said.