A TRANSGENDER artist has attracted attention online after posting an image showing themselves “free bleeding” in public.
For those who assume they know the basics about menstruation — that women get their periods and guys don’t — one artist is proving an important point with a powerful Instagram photo.
Cass Clemmer, the creator of the period-themed coloring book The Adventures of Toni the Tampon, posted a photo depicting a period stain while holding a sign that reads: “Periods are not just for women. #BleedingWhileTrans.”
Y’all know I’m trans and queer, And what that means for me all around, Is something that’s neither there nor here, It’s a happy, scary middle ground. So when I talk gender inclusion, And I wrote these rhymes to help you see, I’m not tryna bring up something shallow, Periods are honestly pretty traumatic for me. See my life is very clearly marked, Like a red border cut up a nation, A time before and a time beyond, The mark of my first menstruation. So let me take you back, To the details that I can still recall, Of the day I gained my first period, And the day that I lost it all. I was 15 and still happy, Running around, all chest bared and buck, Climbing trees, digging holes, And no one gave a single fuck. I mean I think my ma was worried, So I went and grew out my locks, A sign I was normal, still a girl, A painted neon sign for my gender box. So, the day I got my period, My god, a day so proud, This little andro fucked up kid, Had been bestowed the straight, cis shroud. The relief got all meshed up in my pain, In that moment, I sat down and cried, Just thanking god I was normal, While mourning the freedom that had died. Everyone told me my hips would grow, I looked at them and couldn’t stop crying, “What’s wrong with you? You’ll be a woman!” They kept celebrating a child dying. See my body had betrayed me, That red dot, the wax seal, On a contract left there broken, A gender identity that wasn’t real. Most people deal with blood and tissue, And yet my body forces me to surrender, Cause every time I get my cycle, Is another day I shed my gender. My boobs betray me first, I feel them stretching out my binder, I send up questions, “am I cursed?” And wish to god that she was kinder. The five days it flows, I try to breathe, I dissociate, While my body rips outs parts of me, Leaving nothing but a shell of hate. The blood drips from an open wound, Of a war waging deep inside my corpse, The battle between mind and body, Immovable object; unstoppable force. #bleedingwhiletrans #menstruator #genderinclusion #mencanmenstruate #protectranskids #periodpride #genderdysphoria #menstruationmatters #ifmenhadperiods [PLEASE SHARE!?]
The comments underneath the photo are sadly mixed, with some people offering support and gratitude, while others unfortunately have chosen to leave hurtful and ignorant messages. Luckily, it doesn’t seem as though that negativity will be stopping Clemmer anytime soon.
Cass is a menstrual health activist and hopes that this raw post will raise awareness for the transgender experience. “Periods are honestly pretty traumatic for me,” Cass wrote in a poem posted with the photo. “See my life is very clearly marked, Like a red border cut up a nation, A time before and a time beyond, The mark of my first menstruation.”
Since posting this moving post, Cass said the hardest part has been the influx of people telling them they should kill themselves. Yet despite already having a history of attempted suicide because of transphopia and these new negative messages, Cass told POPSUGAR that they don’t regret posting their struggle for all to see:
“I honestly thought it would be better for me to be dead than live my life as transgender. The point of all this being that THAT is what keeps me going and why I do the work I do. I survived out of sheer luck, and I have since made a promise to myself to spend every moment that I am alive fighting for a better world than the one that made me hate who I am so much that I wanted to kill myself.
Trans youth have a higher than average rate of suicide, and if me being able to share my story helps just one person remember that they are not alone and they are loved — that alone is worth all the transphobia and death threats in the world.”
Photo Credit: ToniTheTampon/Instagram