A Brighton primary school will now begin teaching children as young as eight that “trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods” as part of new guidance on menstruation and sex education.
The instructions were included in the ‘Taking a Period Positive Approach in Brighton & Hove Schools,’ guidelines issued by the local council in early December.
“Period products are provided for all pupils and students who need them and this provision is promoted and known about by all,” the guidance reads, with express intention of reducing the “stigma and shame related to periods.”
The advice also advocates the placement of Red Boxes in all age-relevant bathrooms, at a cost of £3,620 ($4,580), which would provide free sanitary products to students in need with the aim of diminishing so-called ‘period poverty.’
The report issued by Brighton & Hove City Council states that “49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period,” while “one in ten girls in the UK have been unable to afford period products.”
The instructions also state that “periods are something to celebrate” as visible in various cultures around the world, and advocates “a cross-curricular approach to learning about periods, particularly in science and PSHE but also in media studies, PE, maths, graphics, and textiles.”
The step towards inclusivity has been met with resistance, however.
“Girls going through puberty are already having a difficult time. What they should be given is clear language to be able to talk about their bodies and their female biological functions without couching it in politically correct terms,” Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of the campaign group Transgender Trend told The Mail on Sunday.
Others pointed to the fact that, even at this young age and with the best of intentions, such measures might actually exacerbate the stigma around menstruation for young girls.
“To tell impressionable children that boys can also menstruate sidelines girls who should be getting support when they start their periods,” writer and feminist campaigner Julie Bindel said.