“Nonbinary trans menstruator” Cass Bliss took to the Huffington Post to write about the struggles with simultaneous acceptance of both one’s identity and having a period.
“I am a nonbinary trans menstruator ― someone with a uterus that bleeds monthly, but who identifies outside of the fixed categories of male and female,” Bliss wrote. “Because of that, I have to navigate the challenges of getting my period every month in a world that refuses to acknowledge that not everyone who gets their period is a woman, and not every woman gets their period.”
Bliss detailed personal struggles in the column. Bliss identified as “non-binary” at a very young age and readily embraced being called a “tomboy.” When adolescence came, Bliss said, “I saw my stained underwear like a bloodied flag of surrender I was forced to fly”:
But what does a nonbinary trans person do when our period comes rolling around once each month and instantly reminds us that no matter how hard we try much of the world will still see us as women just because we get our periods?
This question lingers as Bliss describes the “persistent gendered messages” of modern American society hitting like “thousands of metal slivers piercing through my skin.” According to Bliss, feminine hygiene products are marketed in a way that makes it intensely uncomfortable for someone who does not identify as a woman to purchase and use.
Bliss is regularly confronted by a dilemma:
Now that my appearance has tipped the scale toward masculine, I’ve found myself ushered out of a lot women’s bathrooms by moms with young daughters, as if I’m inherently dangerous or being trans is a disease they could catch from breathing in the same air as me. On the flip side, using the men’s restroom means that I have to pray that I’m not already leaking when I walk in there and figure out the best ways to keep myself safe while discreetly tending to my period.
In conclusion, Bliss’s message is clear: “Those of us who get our periods while not identifying as women deserve the same safety, access and comfort as anyone else who is menstruating”:
All that I want is to be able to walk into a store and buy tampons free of judgment, to change out my pads without worrying about my own safety in the bathroom, and to be included in a conversation that deeply impacts the body that I was born in, regardless of whether or not I am a woman.
Cass Bliss is most well known for the creation of the #BleedingWhileTrans social media campaign, featuring a picture of Bliss sitting spread-legged on a bench, deliberately bleeding through a pair of white pants with a sign that reads: “Periods are NOT just for women.”