After releasing a educational colouring book about menstruation, Cass Clemmer received huge amounts of backlash.
And in response, the activist and artist decided to grab people’s attention another way; by making a free bleeding photo public.
Cass, who doesn’t conform to a specific gender and prefers being referred to with they/them pronouns, is keen to raise awareness about what it’s like menstruating as a non-binary or transgender person.
(Just a heads up: the next picture features some blood.)
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. So when I talk gender inclusion, And I wrote these rhymes to help you see, I’m not tryna bring up something shallow, Periods are honestly pretty traumatic for me. See my life is very clearly marked, Like a red border cut up a nation, A time before and a time beyond, The mark of my first menstruation. So let me take you back, To the details that I can still recall, Of the day I gained my first period, And the day that I lost it all. I was 15 and still happy, Running around, all chest bared and buck, Climbing trees, digging holes, And no one gave a single fuck. I mean I think my ma was worried, So I went and grew out my locks, A sign I was normal, still a girl, A painted neon sign for my gender box. So, the day I got my period, My god, a day so proud, This little andro fucked up kid, Had been bestowed the straight, cis shroud. The relief got all meshed up in my pain, In that moment, I sat down and cried, Just thanking god I was normal, While mourning the freedom that had died. Everyone told me my hips would grow, I looked at them and couldn't stop crying, "What's wrong with you? You'll be a woman!" They kept celebrating a child dying. See my body had betrayed me, That red dot, the wax seal, On a contract left there broken, A gender identity that wasn’t real. Most people deal with blood and tissue, And yet my body forces me to surrender, Cause every time I get my cycle, Is another day I shed my gender. My boobs betray me first, I feel them stretching out my binder, I send up questions, "am I cursed?" And wish to god that she was kinder. The five days it flows, I try to breathe, I dissociate, While my body rips outs parts of me, Leaving nothing but a shell of hate. The blood drips from an open wound, Of a war waging deep inside my corpse, The battle between mind and body, Immovable object; unstoppable force. #bleedingwhiletrans #menstruator #genderinclusion #mencanmenstruate #protectranskids #periodpride #genderdysphoria #menstruationmatters #ifmenhadperiods [PLEASE SHARE!]
A post shared by Toni the Tampon (@tonithetampon) on Jul 12, 2017 at 9:50am PDT
Though they identify as non-binary, they do menstruate and are open about their experiences of being someone who isn’t a woman, yet bleeds.
The photo uploaded on July 12 shows Cremmer sitting on a park bench having bled through their trousers holding a sign reading “periods are not just for women” and the hashtag #BleedingWhileTrans.
And beneath it they put a spoken-word poem that they’d read out at a menstrual health conference last summer.
Just published the first period coloring book feat. me and my friends in all of our adventures! Link in Bio – please share!!! #periodcoloringbook #tonithetampon #bloodygoodfun #menstrualmovement #periodpower #periodpride #fempire #makeperiodsgreatagain #letsfaceitperiod #menstruationnation #tamponart #menstruationmatters #reprojustice #reprohealth
A post shared by Toni the Tampon (@tonithetampon) on Dec 7, 2016 at 10:03am PST
Cremmer is well known for running an Instagram account called Toni the Tampon, which documents the adventures of a travelling tampon that answers questions and raises awareness about menstruation.
And when they took the concept of Toni the Tampon one step further by publishing a colouring book of Toni’s adventures, it received both positive and negative responses – including a nasty social media reaction.
Had the greatest time last week helping @isupportthegirls unload thousands of period products donated to @marthastable ! As always, feeling so inspired by their work. Thanks @danamarlowe1 for inviting me to come along! #periodpride #collaborationovercompetition #menstruationmatters #tamponsinpublic #periods #tampons #donations #goodday
A post shared by Toni the Tampon (@tonithetampon) on Jul 20, 2017 at 6:51am PDT
Which is why Cremmer posted their free-bleeding Instagram post in response in the hope that it’ll inform the public that people of all gender identities bleed.
“So when I talk gender inclusion, and I wrote these rhymes to help you see, I’m not tryna bring up something shallow,” Cremmer’s poem reads.
“Periods are honestly pretty traumatic for me.”
Read more from Yahoo Style UK: