NBC News published a transgender “health and wellness” story about biological females who identify as males, yet must deal with normal menstruation.
For transgender men, pain of menstruation is more than just physical. https://t.co/5fNEgu8xsO
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 12, 2020
The article attempted to highlight the “physical and psychological pain” biological females who claim to be male experience when they get their normal monthly periods.
When transgender model and activist Kenny Ethan Jones experienced his first period, he faced both physical and psychological pain. Initially, Jones, who had not yet come out as trans at the time, felt like he was losing control and didn’t understand what was happening to his body. However, one thing was clear: He didn’t feel like himself.
“I didn’t believe that having periods would be a part of my lived experience,” Jones told NBC News. “I felt isolated; everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this and nothing in the world documented that.”
According to NBC News, Jones also experiences “a wide range of challenges” in obtaining sanitary napkins because her “[gender] dysphoria becomes heightened” when she must obviously shop for these products in the feminine care aisle.
“Some transgender and gender-nonconforming people who menstruate, like Jones, say when the products are categorized as women’s products, they can feel alienated — and may even avoid purchasing them altogether,” NBC News asserted.
“People are still reluctant to the idea that it’s not only women that experience periods,” Jones complained.
The article then pointed out the “high cost of period supplies” as another “hurdle” experienced by biological females who claim to be males.
NBC News stated:
A box of 36 tampons, which could easily be used within one menstruation period, could cost as much as $12 — that’s significantly more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Additionally, menstrual hygiene products sold in the U.S. are still subject to sales tax in 32 states.
While biological females without gender dysphoria must also pay the price of feminine sanitary products, NBC News reported the situation is far worse for those women who identify as men:
The cost and taxation of menstruation products could hit transgender people even harder, according to Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Trans individuals, according to Heng-Lehtinen, “are experiencing poverty, unemployment and underemployment at higher rates, so there is absolutely economic vulnerability here.”
Finally, NBC News asserted biological females with gender dysphoria have the additional problem of not finding feminine hygiene products in men’s rooms, or embarrassment when bringing a sanitary napkin or tampon into a men’s room:
While they are sometimes available without cost in women’s restrooms, Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, said that those who menstruate who feel more comfortable using male restrooms will almost never have access to free tampons and pads.
Even if cost is a nonissue, using a men’s restroom can be daunting for those who have their period. The sound of opening a tampon or pad, or simply carrying one, can lead to unwanted attention.
NBC News interviewed Dr. Juno Obedin-Maliver, an assistant professor at Stanford University and co-director of the Pride Study, who bemoaned the discrimination that is claimed to be experienced by transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals.
“We need to broaden the discussion around sexual and reproductive health, and move away from it being solely a gender conversation about women and think about people of all genders,” Obedin-Maliver said.