Cass Clemmer is a non-binary transgender artist and menstrual health activist from Washington. Cass, who doesn’t conform to a specific gender and prefers to be referred to as they/their, previously caused an uproar after releasing an educational coloring book about menstruation.
The Mirror reported that Cass, who is biologically female, sat on a park bench with their legs spread apart, menstrual blood showing through their trousers.
Their aim? To bleed in public to show that periods are not just for women.
The picture shows Cass holding a sign saying, “Periods are not just for women. #Bleedingwhiletrans.”
Non-binary, or genderqueer, is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively feminine or masculine. Some common non-binary gender identities include agender, bigender, genderfluid, androgyne, and neutrois. While usually considered to be under the transgender umbrella, some non-binary people will also identify as trans.
Cass Clemmer runs an Instagram page dealing with the issue of the trans community experiencing periods. The page “Toni the Tampon” currently has 3,500 followers, and their posts attract a lot of attention.
This latest image is no exception. Alongside the image, a poignant poem is written.
“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. Periods are honestly pretty traumatic for me.”
Many liked the post and supported Cass’s activism, but there were many who were offended.
One wrote, “But periods are for women only, you bleed when you have working ovaries and a uterus.”
Another wrote, “I don’t care if you bleed or not but why did you have to do it on a park bench where other people have to sit.”
One trans commenter said, “It’s unsanitary, also many trans men don’t like to be reminded that we f**king bleed. Thanks for making dysphoria for trans men even worse!”
According to ATTN, Cass Clemmer is simply trying to broaden the conversation about periods, because discussing periods is still widely considered taboo.
Self-identifying as a “trans menstruator,” Clemmer told ATTN via email that they had the idea to have a “free-bleeding photoshoot” in March when they were being attacked by right-wing media sites for creating a gender-inclusive period coloring book.
Cass says that their struggle with their period is an issue that doesn’t get talked about enough.
“There are so many of us who menstruate but do not identify as women – whether we are trans, nonbinary, intersex, and/or identify on any other point(s) on the multidimensional gender spectrum. When we tie periods unequivocally to womanhood we also make a statement about what it means to be a ‘real woman’ or a ‘real man,’ though there are plenty of women who do not menstruate and plenty of people who menstruate who are not women!”
Clemmer said that issues like period product access, bathroom safety, gendered language, and access to disposal bins in gender-neutral or men’s restroom stalls are just some of the obstacles they have to face. Plus, there’s always the never-ending personal questions about their body.
Cass said many people ask why they haven’t had a hysterectomy or started birth control or testosterone to stop their cycle. The truth is, Cass said, that it’s a much more complicated issue than that. Deciding whether to take hormones or get surgery is ultimately a personal decision that cannot be made by another person.
“There is a lot of rage and hate out there being directed towards me for sharing my story.”
However, Clemmer says that on the plus side, they receive many favorable responses from other trans and/or non-binary people who say they feel a little less alone in their experiences because of their post.
“And at the end of the day, that has been and will always be my greatest motivation.”
[Featured Image by Lana Kray/Shutterstock]