Boys can have periods, too. That’s the message a city in Britain is promoting in schools, in an effort to embrace transgender and non-binary students.
Brighton and Hove, a city of around 280,000 in East Sussex, England, has adopted a landmark report that mandates learning about periods should be “inclusive of all genders.”
The directive is part of an effort to combat “period poverty,” or lack of access to menstrual products in the towns 50 miles south of London. The document advises that all school bathrooms in the be equipped with bins for disposal of sanitary products.
“Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods,” it states. “Pupils with very early onset puberty and trans pupils and students are provided with additional support perhaps from a school nurse, if needed.”
The report cites national statistics including that 10 percent of girls, specifically, in the UK cannot afford menstrual products and 49 percent have missed a day of school because of their periods.
But it has also stirred substantial backlash, as the UK remains deeply divided over transgender rights. The government is weighing amending the Gender Recognition Act to allow trans people to more easily change their legal gender, and a backlash of transphobia has made international headlines.
The Guardian has published a series of pieces criticized as shockingly transphobic. In October, the outlet faced intense backlash for an editorial about the debate around the GRA, which claimed that gender identity does not cancel out sex.
“Women’s oppression by men has a physical basis, and to deny the relevance of biology when considering sexual inequality is a mistake,” it states. “The struggle for women’s empowerment is ongoing.”
Guardian staffers in the U.S. condemned the piece as the “essence of bigotry,” in a scathing response.
“The editorial’s unsubstantiated argument only serves to dehumanize and stigmatize trans people,” they argued. “Numerous academic studies have confirmed that trans-inclusive policies do not endanger cis people.”
The Brighton and Hove report has also been the subject of praise and denigration in the UK.
Well done and thank you to @PSHEedBH who are doing some great work around making Brighton and Hove’s schools trans inclusive. Keep up the good work ❤️
— Trans Actual (@TransActualUK) December 16, 2018
Sounds like Brighton and Hove Council will be teaching boys about menstruation and also putting sanitary bins in boys' toilets in schools to normalise periods and support trans boys.
Great news for women's and trans rights! But, of course, mangled in the press.
— Dr Ruth Pearce (@NotRightRuth) December 17, 2018
Brighton and Hove City Council officially declared mad. pic.twitter.com/UUIha3hJbu
— James Barrington (@jimbarrington) December 17, 2018
Header image via Getty