Pride x Inner Cycle: Period Inclusivity, the Meaning of Pride, and the term "Menstruator"

Pride x Inner Cycle: Period Inclusivity, the Meaning of Pride, and the term "Menstruator"

  1. Pride month is upon us and the Inner Cycle community members are sharing their perspective!

    We are so proud to be a Queer-owned period-care brand with a community of people who affirm our mission to provide gender inclusive period products!

    The Inner Cycle was asked a series of questions related to Pride within our community. We’ve compiled just some of the beautiful answers shared. There are mini bios of each of the 9 people featured at the end of the article!

    What does Pride mean to you?

    • Pride means being yourself. Standing up for who you are and your community. It’s a message of community, love, unity, and visibility. A place to let folks who are in the closet or unable to be openly LGBTQIA+ know that they are not alone. – Beau (he/they)

    • Pride month means to me that people get to celebrate their victories. Meaning from coming out to every single detail about their journey as part of the LGBTQ+ community. It also reminds us about the journey we have been through all these years to come where we are today and what things need to be done yet in order to achieve a safe environment for everyone. – Diana (she/her)

    • Pride means to celebrate who you are. It's so much more than love who you love. It's who you want to be. You don't have to fit in societal norms. Create your own if that’s who you are and who you want to be. – Brenya (she/they)

    • Pride means justice and reparations for BIPOC Queer folks. – Mikey (she/her)

    • Pride to me, means allyship and solidarity. You do not have to be a part of the community to show up for the community. It’s about supporting the authenticity and self-dignity of others. – Kamori (she/her)

    • To me, pride means learning to feel comfortable and proud of your sexuality/gender identity. I’m bisexual and it took a while to really feel proud of it. But now I am proud to be bisexual! – Maya (she/her)

    What is your experience having a period?

    • My experience with having a period is very mixed. I think that periods are so cool and so empowering. But what’s not so cool and empowering is periods being overly feminized. I wish that more people would use more gender inclusive terms for periods since not everyone who menstruates is a woman and not all women menstruate. Using a term for period havers like ‘menstruator’ is so much more inclusive. And saying terms like ‘period products’ instead of feminine hygiene. Periods are so powerful and being inclusive at the same time would be so much more powerful. – Riley (she/they)

    • It is both a biological and social experience. Growing up, my period was taught to me as a right of passage into womanhood. Currently for me as a Queer femme, I define it as a natural experience. However, I also have experienced the ways it has been weaponized against me especially since I come from a low income background and still am. Period products are expensive and it is very much a privilege that I am more recently experiencing to be picky when it comes to how I care for myself on my period. – Mikey (she/her)

    • I had always felt at odds with my period. Like it wasn’t supposed to be there. And then I realized I was trans! Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, the period stigma was (and still is) very real. It felt gross and shameful - two things that it is not! Okay..sometimes it can feel gross. – Beau (he/they)

    • When I get my period, I learn how to listen to my body. I learn when to rest, when to drink water, etc. Periods, to me, are difficult yet empowering. – Maya (she/her)

    How has the Inner Cycle community or August as a whole impacted your relationship to Pride?

    • August has made me feel so much more comfortable with myself and my identity. They helped me realize even more that it’s okay to love who you love. – Riley (she/they)

    • The community is very supportive. I feel like I could talk to them about anything. Especially things that have to do with my sexuality and my identity. – Brenya (she/they)

    • This community has helped me meet others who also experience a period outside the social constructs of the association with womanhood. It is lovely to meet other Queer and GNC folks who also want liberation and peer support when it comes to having a period. – Mikey (she/her)

    • I was delighted to be able to attend a ‘vagina care session’ with such a diverse group of audience: vagina-owners, non-vagina owners, and beyond. Once you expand your thinking beyond the binary, sociocultural, economic, and gender issues like period equity becomes much more multifaceted and their solutions more authentic to all communities involved. Pride is the embodiment of embracing authenticity beyond the binary, and through its legacy of advocacy, it has offered succeeding movements a course of progress and advancement, which I perceive to be in parallel to the values of the menstrual equity movement such as the community-centric approach at August and the Inner Cycle. In a way, Pride and the Inner Cycle became space holders for individual and communities' authenticity. – Kamori (she/her)

    React to the statement: “Not all menstruators are women and not all women menstruate”.

    • The term 'menstruator' includes everyone who gets their period. It is so important to let everyone know that anyone no matter what gender you identify as can get their period. – Corinna (she/her)

    • YES!! Preach!! I strongly agree with this and menstruator is the correct term. Go August!! – Beau (he/they)

    • I think that society forgets about the transgender community sometimes. Not everyone has had bottom surgery, so there are plenty of men who still menstruate and plenty of women who don't. I myself menstruate and don't always consider myself to be a woman because I identify as nonbinary. – Brenya (she/they)

    • I very much support this statement. I am a Queer person who does menstruate. I also have women idenitfying loved ones who do not menstruate due to things such as PCOS or because they are transgender women who do not have ovaries. I like the term menstruator. – Mikey (she/her)

    • Language is a tool for radical imagination. The concept of menstruators is not new; menstruators have long existed in history. Yet the literacy surrounding the term 'menstruator' and what it encompasses is novel. Its recent coining reflects our timely realization of an age-old social identity during a moment in history where period literacy is present. – Kamori (she/her)

    • As someone who menstruates and isn’t a woman, those statements make me feel accepted and comfortable with my body. –Maria (she/they)

    Check out our Gender Inclusivity Guide made in partnership with Schuyler Bailar if you're curious to read more about gender inclusive period talk!

    How has (or hasn’t) August affirmed your identity in relation to having a period? Or, has it at least offered a community of people who are navigating the same feelings of gender euphoria or gender dysphoria?

    • August has offered to me new perspectives of what a period is like among other gender diverse people like me. I enjoy and feel empowered through these different and shared narratives. – Mikey (she/her)

    • Yes! August as a whole has been so amazing. From gender inclusive products to the supportive Inner Cycle community! – Riley (she/they)

    • The community at August and the Inner Cycle has helped me pave a path where I find my answers in advocacy, community, education, and radical imagination not only when discussing periods but also redefining gender and degendering. – Kamori (she/her)

    • Yes! The community of other menstruators with varied and different experiences has helped me connect to my own body, gender and sexuality. – Beau (he/they)

    • Yes. And I have come to understand more about other menstruators and how to make everyone who has a period feel comfortable. – Diana (she/her)

    What do you hope to see in period spaces (education, media, period products, etc.) in the future in terms of Pride & gender inclusivity?

    • I hope to see these platforms extend to everyone. Maybe one day the whole world will be more open to things like this. It would be nice if everyone in the world treated each other as kindly as the August family does. – Brenya (she/they)

    • Just continued gender-neutral language and education. Continuing to knock down the stigmas associated with all of these communities and processes. – Beau (he/they)

    • More inclusivity. I think there’s a lot that needs to be done yet to achieve a real inclusive period environment. Not all period brands, accounts or organizations use the term “menstruators” instead of “women.” – Diana (she/her)

    • The intersectionality of social identities and development is at the forefront of Pride and gender inclusivity. The current period spaces are filled with artists, activists, entrepreneurs, educators, health professionals, and policymakers. In the future I hope that everyone sees that the period spaces are open for everyone as it affects us all – whether it be poverty mitigation, conflict response, climate action, and emancipation, among others. – Kamori (she/her)

    • I hope that EVERYONE is given a more comprehensive and inclusive period education so stigmas and misconceptions are prevented from the start. – Maria (She/they)

    How should we be navigating genderless period conversations with a younger audience?

    • I think helping them understand and teaching them that periods are genderless from a younger age is important! I think it shouldn’t be hidden from them! – Riley (she/they)

    • It depends on how young you're talking about. You first need to make sure that the kids understand that almost everything is genderless for them to understand that periods can be genderless too. – Brenya (she/they)

    • I think we should tell them that instead of saying "when women get their period" we should use "when people get their period". – Maya (she/her)

    • I think destigmatizing periods and not teaching it as a female-exclusive occurrence would do SO much for younger audiences. I think that adults infantilise children too much and don’t think that they are able to understand periods, but just like any other body process, they are important to feeling comfortable and safe in your own body. Something that everyone of all ages is able to understand. – Maria (she/they)

    Why does inclusivity matter to you (in the period space and beyond)?

    • It’s a matter of life and death for a lot of people. A lot of marginalized folks feel as if they don’t have the ability or situation to speak up, to be authentic, or to be intersectional in themselves. Inclusivity is power. – Beau (he/they)

    • This matters to me because a large part of decolonization and Queer liberation includes period care. Queer people and others who menstruate face barriers when accessing period products, but also education that is affirming to them. Furthermore, there is still a lot of shame and discrimination that occurs to those who get their period especially in school and work places. – Mikey (she/her)

    • Inclusivity matters to me because I want my transgender friends to feel included and supported. – Maya (she/her)

    • Without inclusivity it would be so difficult to even live a life of joy. Being able to see and meet so many different personalities is so exciting. Life without it would be pretty boring – Corinna (she/her)

    The final question asked what ways they are going to celebrate Pride. If you’re looking for some inspo on how to celebrate Pride month, here’s what the Inner Cycle is getting up to:

    • I am going to concerts, exploring more about myself, cheering people, fighting for a genderless period community and educating myself as well. – Diana (she/her)

    • Celebrating me and how far I’ve come, as well as supporting those that aren’t necessarily able to express themselves or be themselves safely. – Maria (she/they)

    • Pride events, supporting LGBTQIA+ small businesses, conversations, leading trainings. – Beau (he/they)

    • I celebrated and am celebrating Pride month this year by remembering Pride history and its trailblazers, attending Thailand's inaugural Pride Parade, learning from the successes in Pride's legacy of advocacy and activism to improve my own community, and constantly expanding my perspective on Pride. And most importantly, to the gender binary cis-stem, Pay It No Mind. – Kamori (she/her)

    • Supporting Queer owned brands and taking action through peer support, mutual aid, and healing. – Mikey (she/her)

    Here is a little intro of each of the members featured throughout this article. Thanks to everyone from the Inner Cycle who shared their perspective!

    Who are you & how did you discover August? How did you discover August? What are some of the best things to come out of being part of the Inner Cycle?

    1. My name is Corinna, feel free to call me Coco. I’m 19 years old and from Germany. The best part about the Inner Cycle is connecting to other people about periods and literally anything else. There is no judging from anyone! Everyone tries to help anyone who has a question or a problem. It’s like having a lot of siblings! – Corinna (she/her)
    2. In a trans ex-menstruator who heard about August around it’s inception and have been blessed to join in on inner cycle events and convos when able. -__Beau (he/they)
    3. My name is Brenya Allred and I am a senior in high school. I found Nadya on TikTok and was really inspired by the work that she did. I decided to write a persuasive speech for my communications class over the negative stigma behind periods and that's how I joined the Inner Cycle. I've joined a few other groups on Gevea through the Inner Cycle, but the biggest outtake has been the strong community here. Everyone is so supportive. – Brenya (she/they)
    4. I discovered August when doing research on gender affirming period care and sustainability. – Mikey (she/her)
    5. I am the first-ever ambassador of The Pad Project in Thailand! As a menstrual equity advocate, I discovered August through Period. The Menstrual Movement. By being part of the Inner Cycle, I was able to attend Dr. Lincoln's Vagina Care session and to translate various vagina care resources to my native language of Thai, which reached more than 3,300 views. – Kamori (she/her)
    6. hii im maya! I discovered August through tik tok and I think the best part of the inner cycle community is how welcoming everyone is. I have made new friends and learned new things! – Maya (she/her)
    7. I discovered August on Instagram! I love how everyone is so inclusive and accepting in the inner cycle and how much I learn about my cycle and menstruation in general. – Maria (she/they)
    8. Hello! My name is Diana and I am 23 years-old. I am someone who is passionate about ending with period and mental health stigmas. I am working hard to be someone who contributes to save our planet and make it more kind. I discovered August through tiktok (nadya’s account) and also through the pad project. One of the best things of being part of the pad project is that I get to meet amazing people who are always supporting me in my journey. – Diana (she/her)
    9. I discovered August on Instagram when I was scrolling on Reels. A video came up and I’ve been hooked since! Inner Cycle is such a cool community to discuss anything and I learn so much through it. – Riley (she/they)

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