DUP minister launches scheme for ‘pupils who menstruate’ – avoiding any mention of females

Michelle McIlveen, the DUP education minister at Stormont, has launched a campaign to provide free period products to “pupils who menstruate”.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 1:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 12:37 pm
'Women Bathroom sign' by W uestenigel

The 400-word press release yesterday included no mention of the terms “female”, “girls” or “young women”.

At the behest of transgender campaigners, it has become increasingly common for organisations not to refer to women or girls, but rather to “people who menstruate”, “pregnant people”, or “people with cervixes”.

This is because transgender campaigners say men also have cervixes, give birth, and menstruate.

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For example, they hold that if somebody who is genetically female and has a female anatomy decides that they are male, then that person must be considered fully male, whilst continuing to have a female physical make-up – including experiencing menstruation.

They also believe that there are many genders, not just male and female, and so someone could belong to the gender “two-spirit neutrois” and still menstruate.

In addition, many transgender activists also hold that school children are capable of making decisions on whether to live as a different gender to the one they were raised, and have succeeded in some areas in getting advice on this matter written into school guidelines.

An insight into this school of thought can be found in the journal Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, when a contributor penned a piece called ‘Degendering Menstruation: Making Trans Menstruators Matter’.

The journal paper explores “the nature of menstruation, which many perceive to be a strictly female bodily function despite many scholars’ recognition that menstruators are of various gender identities”.

Last year best-selling children’s author J K Rowling sparked an angry reaction from transgender campaigners when she mocked this phenomenon, saying: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

The department said £2.6m has been set aside to “make free period products available to all pupils who menstruate, in primary, secondary and special schools”. It is a three-year pilot programme.

In a statement, Ms McIlveen said: “No-one should miss out on their education because they cannot afford or access these essential products.

“Providing free products will help pupils manage their periods confidently at school, reduce anxiety and stress and enable students to focus on their learning.

“The pilot will also tackle the lack of understanding and the stigma around periods which impacts negatively on young people.”

More information can be found on the DE website www.education-ni.gov.uk/articles/pilot-scheme-address-period-dignity-schools

The Department for Education was asked why it is using the term “pupils who menstruate” instead of “female”, “girl”, or “young woman”.

It said: “The period dignity subgroup agreed on gender neutral language to promote the scheme as not everyone who menstruates identifies as female.”

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