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Girls & Women

This Transgender Man Is the World’s First to Front a Campaign About Periods

Over a third of British adults still see periods as a taboo subject, according to research released to mark the launch of a brand new campaign to beat the stigma. 

And the campaign is really hitting headlines, as it is the world’s first campaign about periods to be fronted by a man. 

Transgender model Kenny Jones, from north-west London, has been announced as the face of the “I’m on” campaign — to launch a range of T-shirts and sweatshirts based around periods. 

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The 23-year-old appears alongside British fashion designer Olivia Rubin, activist and influencer Natalie Lee, and journalists and podcast hosts Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton — who are all speaking up to say it’s not shameful to be on your period. 

Jones, previously named Kelsey, came out as transgender at 14, and at 16 he changed his name and shaved his head. But he’s part of the campaign to raise awareness around the struggle that periods can present when you’re transitioning. 

It wasn’t until he started taking hormone blockers at 17 that he stopped having periods. 

Read more: 12 Weird Euphemisms People Use Around the World Rather Than Just Saying the Word 'Period'

“During my transition I did have to deal with experiencing periods each month and many of the negative stereotypes that can come along with it,” said Jones. “Assuming periods are inhibiting to people tends to perpetuate period shame even more, and makes people even more reluctant to talk about them.”

“I always found the fact that no one seemed to openly talk about periods quite difficult and made me want to hide mine even more,” he said. “We need to encourage everyone to talk about periods, whether they experience them directly or not.”

He added: “Sparking conversation is the first step to normalising periods within society.”

Research carried out by period subscription service Pink Parcel, which is also behind the campaign, found that 34% of British adults see periods as taboo; while 25% have experienced feelings of shame or embarrassment about being on their period.

Read more: Why This Company Is Giving Away 60 Million Pads and Tampons This Month

What’s more, some 50% of British adults have never spoken to their partners about periods, and 44% even avoid the subject with friends. 

And speaking up about periods can be even harder, and even more stigmatised, for the trans community — with just 8% of period-related content online discussing the experience of periods from a transgender perspective, according to Pink Parcel. 

Kenny told the MailOnline that he had never discussed periods with another trans man, “and it’s quite weird to think that considering it’s a normal thing to go through at the end of the day.” 

“It should be put in a positive light and say it’s okay to talk about things,” he said. “It’s just a natural part of who we are, a normal body function.”

Read more: Stock Images of Women in Pain Are Making Period Shame Worse, Study Suggests

People featuring in the campaign are pictured wearing T-shirts with slogans about periods — like “I’m on. Period” and “I’m on it.” 

Even better, £5 from the sale of each T-shirt will the donated to the charity Bloody Good Period, which works to ensure refugees and asylum-seekers have access to sanitary products — helping support the UK’s efforts to end period poverty. 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on gender equality. You can join us by taking action here. And we’re bringing our fight against extreme poverty to London in April — giving you the chance to earn tickets to see Emeli Sandé, Professor Green, Naughty Boy, and Gabrielle Aplin at Global Citizen Live, at O2 Academy Brixton on April 17, by taking action on gender inequality, nutrition, education, and global health. Find out more here