The importance of periods, inclusivity, and options

We acknowledge that there are very different and strong opinions on this topic and would like to outline why we have chosen to use inclusive language across our website and resources.

Across our website you might see the term ‘womxn’ and/or the following inclusivity note:

‘We may use the terms she, her, woman, girl or daughter. We understand that not all people with uteruses who are assigned female at birth menstruate, and not everyone who menstruates identifies as a female, girl or woman.’

See Red was created as a resource by everyday people, to be used by everyday people. We want everyone to feel welcome and safe here. Our bodies do not determine our identities, and we are so much more than merely bodies.

It costs nothing to be inclusive, or to be kind. So we’re choosing both. 

There are a multitude of reasons why a person with a uterus who was assigned female at birth doesn’t menstruate. Illnesses like amenorrhoea (the absence of menstruation), hormone imbalances, pregnancy, diseases, medication, hormonal implants, menopause, weight, stress and many other factors can make menstruation very irregular. Hell, women at all ages have hysterectomies and parts of their reproductive organs removed all the time.

Our current practice of using gendered structural language is misleading, confusing, and doesn’t support a culture of healthcare inclusivity. Because of this, both anatomists and doctors are calling for an expanded anatomical language.2

Talking about periods and menstruation is important for breaking down shame, stigma and cultures that contribute to gender inequality. People within marginalised groups, such as those who identify within the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Asexual/Ally (LGBTQIA+) spectrum. This is especially relevant for people who identify as non-binary or transgender, who are at a greater risk for a whole range of mental health and other safety issues. 

In 2021 La Trobe University released the LGBTQA+ youth national survey, where there were 6,418 respondents aged between 14 and 21. Of these respondents, 81 per cent of reported high or very high levels of psychological distress in the past year. If that wasn’t bad enough, 10.1 per cent had attempted suicide in the past year, and 25.6 per cent had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

Inclusive language

The Victorian Government LGBTIQ Inclusive Language Guide outlines that LGBTIQ Inclusive language is a way of acknowledging and respecting the diversity of bodies, genders and relationships.

People express their gender and sexuality in different ways. People can have different biological sex characteristics. Inclusive language ensures we don’t leave people out of our conversations or our work.

Gender-neutral language refers to words that do not identify a gender. A recent ABC Education article asks ‘What’s wrong with words like ‘fireman’, ‘policeman’, ‘draughtsman’ and ‘chairman’? These words are gendered - they have ‘man’ in them.’

According to Lucy Tatman, senior lecturer in gender studies at the University of Tasmania, the words have ‘man’ in them because only men were allowed to work in these professions many decades ago.

Given that women have come so far in recent years in terms of equality, we’re reaching out and helping out those we can by being inclusive.

Language we’re using

  • Womxn - when we are unable to write out in full women and those who do and don’t menstruate, we may use the term womxn.
  • When referring to women, females and girls, we’re aiming to make this language as gender-neutral as possible
  • People with uteruses who are assigned female at birth, rather than “biological female", which looks at gender and sex through the lens of bio-existentialism
  • Period/menstrual health products - we’re avoiding saying the terms feminine hygiene, women’s health or girls health

Want to discover more?

Explore our database of everyone working towards menstrual equality in Australia.

We want to hear from you

See Red is ever-evolving. If you identify with these issues and would like to, please contact us via the footer below. We welcome your input and feedback.

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