On Tuesday afternoon, the American Civil Liberties Union made an interesting claim on Twitter that is raising eyebrows across the social media platform:
The "men can get periods" and "men can get pregnant" arguments have been making the rounds among social justice activists for several years. Even corporations have supported these claims. Last month, feminine hygiene product company Thinx launched a national advertising campaign that depicted a world where men also get periods.
What does this mean?
Presumably, what the ACLU is saying is that people who were born as biological women and now identify as men, but maintained their feminine reproductive organs, can continue having a menstrual cycle. Apparently, this is scientifically possible, though, as a personal testimonial in Bazaar explained, transgender men can stop having their periods if they take hormones.
As a trans person closeted until 24, I had a very distant relationship with my body. Getting my period forced me to deal with it — and showed me the body type I was born with is a mind-blowing thing. My body had the capability to produce a human life and it can clean itself out! Alas, I haven't had a period in five years because I am on testosterone. Technically, I could take less testosterone, get a period and still look as masculine as I do. But ultimately, I chose not to have one. My gender dysphoria, which is eased through testosterone and surgery, outweighs my sentimentality toward my period.
Others maintain, however, that people who were born as biological males and identify as women can experience period symptoms:
Ashley's a 23-year-old trans girl who's been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for over a year. She takes a cocktail of the antiandrogen spironolactone and estradiol, a form of estrogen. About five months into her treatment, she began experiencing a predictable pattern of symptoms: First would come the soreness and swelling in her chest along with bouts of nausea; the next day, she'd endure painful abdominal cramping lasting minutes at a time, as well as constant nausea, hot flashes, dizziness, photosensitive migraines, and bloating. This cycle, she says, lasts for about six to seven days and repeats roughly every five weeks. If those symptoms sound familiar, it's because billions of cis women all over the world experience similar symptoms while menstruating.
'Who is saying this?'
In a recent episode on comedian Bill Maher's HBO show, conservative radio host Dennis Prager was mocked by a panel when he pointed out that some on the left are now claiming that men can get periods.
"These are giant left wing lies, to say that men can menstruate is a lie and that is now–check it out folks," Prager said.
"Where did that come from?" a laughing Maher asked.
"Just Google it, men can menstruate," Prager responded.
Clearly confused, the HBO host pressed Prager, "Who is saying this?" and asked the panelists on the program if they had heard of the claim.
The conservative commentator and founder of PragerU pointed out that tampons are now being distributed in men's bathrooms at the University of California Berkeley.
Maher countered, derisively, "Dennis, I remember in the old show you were a little more reasonable."