Hit the road, ‘feminine hygiene’ products
If you’re a queer, gender non-conforming, or trans person who gets their period, finding a menstrual product that’s inclusive of your gender identity can be a serious undertaking. Buying something that’s labeled “feminine hygiene” can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous experience when you don’t present as female. The act of getting your basic needs met should not include having to contort yourself into looking a certain way. (See: the need for gender neutral bathrooms.)
Fortunately, the conversation around who gets a period is changing (cisgender folks, you play a vital role in furthering that conversation and modeling gender inclusive language), and now there are more menstrual products available for folks who menstruate. The products aren’t labeled according to the gender binary, and are instead designed to help you feel like your best, and most authentic self, during your period.
These products are invested in making that happen.
Chicago-based and queer identified Michelle Janayea and Zipporah Jarmon created underwear for people with periods who were sick of being limited to wearing feminine underwear that wasn’t reflective of their gender identity. After Jarmon bled through a pair of panties, she went home and started sketching pictures of boxer briefs that could accommodate a menstrual pad, tampon, liner, or cup. “The fabric is organic cotton with jersey stretch for if you have curves and hips. Also open and inclusive,” said Jarmon. Pyramid Seven‘s underwear, which ranges in sizes from XS to XL, are currently sold out, and the company is in the process of restocking.
Instead of ‘women,’ on Aunt Flow’s website, you’ll find the word ‘menstruators,’ and ‘people,’ an indication of founder Claire Coder’s investment in everyone who gets a period having access to the products they need. In addition to acknowledging the socio-economic realities that prevent people from being able to afford menstrual products (they aren’t covered by food stamps or WIC), Coder and her team are invested in the quality of the tampons and pads Aunt Flow distributes. The products are biodegradable, FDA-approved, and made of organic cotton. How it works: you customize a box of pads or tampons for yourself, pick an organization to donate a box to (like Gracehaven, an anti-sextrafficking organization), and boom – you’ve made menstrual products accessible to countless folks who need them, while supporting an organization who’s serious about helping to dismantle both the gender binary and taboos around menstruation.
Lunette is in the business of menstrual cups and menstrual cup accessories, like cleansing wipes, as well as an aromatherapy oil that’s designed to ease your mind and body when you’re feeling like garbage at a particular time of the month. You will find the word “woman” on Lunette’s website, but you will also find a statement about inclusivity, and the phrase “everyone with a uterus.” Lunette’s blog is also a great source for learning about everything from Toxic Shock Syndrome to the current state of advertising for menstrual products (spoiler: it’s dismal). Head over there immediately for a comprehensive and super accessible article about gender, periods, the importance of language, and concrete ways we can change how we talk about bodies and sexuality, without falling into the trap of gender essentialism.