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Critique Essay Nonfiction Theory

Menstruating and Doing Masc: Trans Experiences of Menstruation

By Emily Via, 2019

This thesis explores menstruation as a gendered, embodied act looking specifically at transgender people who menstruate. Though scholars have studied women’s experiences of menstruation as gendered, little has been written on the experiences of transgender people who menstruate and the attitudes they have toward menstruation. In this project, I asked how trans people navigate menstruation, which is socially coded as feminine, alongside their non-female gender identities. I conducted loosely-structured, in-depth interviews with seven assigned-female-at-birth trans people asking about their lifelong experience with and narratives of menstruation. I found that my participants expressed discomfort with narratives of womanhood associated with menarche, had trouble navigating binary spaces where menstruation was salient like restrooms and sex education classes, and were able to express ambivalent and positive attitudes towards menstruation. I discuss the implications of these findings for understanding how societal narratives and structures shape individuals’ gendered identities and how trans people specifically experience this.

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