Cisgender women and transgender men have one very sore topic in common: the awfulness that is menstruation. And in an attempt to call attention to institutional sexism, a Canadian OB/GYN decided to create a hashtag she thought would generate conversation.
But Dr. Jennifer Gutner‘s hashtag, #IfMenHadPeriods, has also called attention to other social ills: the erasure of trans men, the treatment of trans women as not women, and a backlash to the backlash by people who argue trans people just like to complain about everything.
Some of the tweets have been funny, many have been angry and most have been very pointed examples of how the twitterverse can turn anything into a controversy.
First, the funny:
— Liz Finnegan (@TheGingerarchy) September 6, 2016
— Sara Kubik, PhD (@SaraKubik) September 6, 2016
The attempt at funny:
#IfMenHadPeriods Trump's period would be, I'll tell you, it'd be yuge. just the best period. The best.And women would pay for the tampons.
— Ryan Williams-Jent (@RyanJent) September 6, 2016
And the ewwww, not funny (but potentially true).
— Pretty Trite (@KelseyFilban) September 6, 2016
But it wasn’t long before the trans community and its allies caught wind of this hashtag.
#IfMenHadPeriods news flash: some men DO have periods. this deadass hashtag influences trans erasure and cisnormativity. get outta here
— ezra lee (@nintuendo) September 7, 2016
I'm a genderfluid boy who has been menstruating for 7 years and recently got pregnant. Your #IfMenHadPeriods HT is transphobic and ignorant.
— K. Cantrell (hiatus) (@nanogeekette) September 6, 2016
— spooky (@msvanvleet) September 7, 2016
#IfMenHadPeriods stop. Men do have periods. Not every man is cis and it's disgusting for people to still be assuming that they are
— this is a vitamix family (@evanjaquez) September 6, 2016
While this highly cisnormative hashtag is trending, I want to remind everyone that trans men do exist + some have periods.
— Feminism Vibes (@feminismvibes) September 6, 2016
And then came the inevitable backlash against the backlash.
— Chicks On The Right (@chicksonright) September 7, 2016
#IfMenHadPeriods is about the absurdity of patriarchy. yes, many men have periods; good to point out, but don't dismiss the actual point.
— Alien Musk (@wealthy_person) September 7, 2016
And of course the right wing represented by Breitbart weighed-in, too.
While not addressing the transphobia issue, Dr. Gunter did tweet an explanation of what she had hoped to accomplish.