Also menstruan men

Menstruation and public places, when you are transgender: the story of Elia Bonci


TW: dysphoria, menstruation, discrimination


A few months ago I discovered a bar with the Gonder Neutral bath. This surprised me a lot, also because there was a nice cartoon that represented a man, a woman and an alien.


Alien, etymologically speaking, means more. A other that, in reality, nobody should be forced to reveal. As we know, however, in public bathrooms, man-woman binarism still reigns sovereign, forcing people to forced outing.


Despite being a cisgender person, I understood at that moment how much a place can become inclusive, safe and welcoming with a few simple tricks. In fact, in that bar I always go back willingly.


For this reason, for the interview of this month I decided to contact Elia Bonci, writer and activist LGBTQIA+, author of three books: Dipphylleia. Only love can destroy homophobia;Destroyers of happiness and finally, Countercruse. Don't be afraid of being who you are.


For years on his Instagram profile @Elia.lien fights to sensitize people on the theme of homophobia and every type of discrimination. In addition, he makes the public participating in his path gender Affirming and the vicissitudes that must be faced before receiving the new identity documents and accepting for what you are.


Elia, how did you experience the arrival of the menarca?


I lived that moment as if it were a real tragedy, that only to think about it I get a knot in my throat. I had no information about me, I didn't have the right tools to understand what was going on to my body and why what happened made me feel so wrong, dirty and inadequate. I had no idea who were the transgender people and who, too, I was. The information I missed to understand me and know me ended up hurting me, leaving room for stereotypes, false myths and much more.


What was your experience with public bathrooms? ANDchanged over time?


I believe that public bathrooms are a bit like when when you get to the end of a video game and you have to defeat the final monster: a company. Going to the bathroom in a public place has always represented a problem both because they do not exist (now there are a little) neutral bathrooms and because the men's bathrooms are not inclusive and safe.

When I have to go to a public bathroom it is always the usual story: if I enter the women's bathroom I am hunted and I am told that this is not my bathroom, if I enter the men's bathroom I am looked at badly, I receive jokes and I don't feel like Safe. Moreover, in the men's bathroom there are never baskets to throw absorbent, packs of absorbent for the occurrence and often in some there are only urinals that, as you can well imagine, are a concrete problem for a trans person who must simply go to bath. You could solve everything by creating neutral bathrooms but perhaps we are still far from this goal.



How do you remember the purchase of absorbents at the supermarket?


Here too, the situation that is created is very embarrassing. Often the absorbents are found in the female intimate hygiene department, next to beauty products or in any case on shelves in which it is written in cubital characters 'products for women'. This is not at all inclusive, it makes you feel dirty, wrong and inadequate. The indications above the same packs of the products are all female, as are the images, commercials and advertisements. Transgender people are not only excluded from the collective imagination when it comes to menstruation but also by the debate that is created around it, making it not very accessible for personal hygiene and care products.


Do you remember some episodes in which you felt particularly uncomfortable when you had menstruation?


All adolescence. Having menstruation, being a transgender boy and not having the tools to communicate my pain was terrible. I didn't leave the house, I didn't want to go to school, I stopped doing sports. Deprived me of things was the only tool I had to try not to feel so uncomfortable.


In light of your path Gender Affirming, which has lasted for several years, how is the relationship with your body now?


Path Gender Affirming He changed and saved my life. If before I hated my body, if I first considered it wrong, now I learned to make peace there. I understood that I don't have to change, throw it, replace it or destroy it. This is my body, it is the medium through which I am and I live the world. And it has nothing that does not go and nothing that makes it a crap, it is a body like any other and deserves love, respect and care. The Gender Affirming path taught me to take care of the things I don't like about myself.



What do you think you have to do to make menstruation more inclusive?


First of all, I think it is important to include in peopletransgender in the debate on menstruation. And to include I do not intend to make commercials in which they appear (who could also be fine) but make us speak and stop talking to us. The time has come to ask us peopletransgender What we need and not that someone decides it a priori for us, based on false stereotypes and false representation.

Another thing that I consider important, in addition to the creation of neutral baths, is to create products for menstrual hygiene also neutral, who are not all female and do not exclude any.

Finally, not because of less importance, I believe that we must change our language when we talk about menstruation: not women who menstruan but people with menstruation, not products for female hygiene but products for menstrual hygiene and so on.


Antonella Patalano

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