Trans man explains why period taboo can be ‘really challenging’: ‘We need to break the stigma’

Model Oscar McGregor wearing a white vest top

A trans masc model is smashing the taboo around gender-diverse people who have periods.

London-based Oscar McGregor tells PinkNews that while the period industry is “moving in the right direction” and creating more products for gender-diverse people, there is still a way to go before trans men and non-binary people who bleed feel truly included.

As a queer trans man, McGregor finds that narratives around menstruation can be “extremely dysmorphic”.

“The whole narrative around the menstruation is very feminine and as someone who doesn’t recognise themselves in this gendered language, it can be a really challenging experience every month,” he says.

“It’s about time we progress the idea that periods are rooted exclusively in ‘womanhood’ so that we can include all genders in the conversation, and learn about the diversity of period experiences.”

The model recently partnered with absorbent apparel brand Modibodi on its new All Gender Collection, which includes the company’s first ever period briefs that are able to accommodate a packer. 

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Oscar McGregor has partnered with Modibodi on their new All Gender Collection (supplied)

A number of major brands have made moves towards inclusion, including Always removing the Venus symbol from its packaging in 2019, and Superdrug launching a range of gender-neutral period products in 2020. Each time, they were met with bigoted backlash.

McGregor believes the period industry can be a guiding force in creating wide change. Period products “need to be less gendered, and brands need to be doing more to be more inclusive of everyone who has periods”, he says.

“The more the industry does to speak openly about periods in the LGBTQIA+ communities, the more it will help to break down societal taboos and drive awareness around the need for menstrual inclusion for all bodies and all genders.”

McGregor notes that a lot of men’s toilets do not have bins to dispose of period products, which can make it “tricky” for trans men and people of other genders to use public loos when they are on their period. 

Friends of trans men can be good allies by not questioning “some of the more ‘feminine’ things we do”, he adds. 

“You shouldn’t ask why someone might need certain period-care products or question why they might feel uncomfortable about periods in general.”

McGregor feels that the more people and brands speak out “about the fact that it’s not just women that get periods, the less taboo it will become”.

It’s only fairly recently that people have started to accept this, he continues. “It can take time to change perceptions and deep-rooted taboos [and] we need to break this stigma, because you have no idea who gets a period just by looking at someone.”

He adds: “This conversation needs to start in school so that we can teach kids from a young age that it’s not just women [who] get periods.”