Published: 24th June 2020
I couldn't accept menstruation: What transman Shreyas Mohanan thought when he got his first period
A female to male transgender person, Shreyas Mohanan tells us how difficult it was for him to be a menstruating transman and how he transitioned through college before finding the real him
It's a day most young women never forget. It was the same for him as well. He was a seventh-grader when Shreyas Mohanan started menstruating. Now for most people out there, their first period isn't unicorns and candy floss. It's uncomfortable, messy, painful and quite often, bloody stressful. Shreyas did feel all of it. And to top it all, he felt betrayed by his body.
Shreyas is a 26-year-old transman from Kozhikode, who came out three years back. Turning back time to a few years ago, he says, "I couldn't accept menstruation. All your life you grow up believing that you're a different person and all of a sudden your body changes, much to your displeasure." After undergoing hormone therapy successfully, it has been three years since Shreyas menstruated and he could not be happier.
Shreyas stopped menstruating three years ago
When Freddie Mercury sang "Of growing up and what a struggle it would be" in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, he appeared to have tailor-made those lines for himself — and Shreyas. "I always knew that I was different. But for some reason, I thought there wasn't anyone else like me. Growing up, we did not have a lot of conversations about gender and sex," Shreyas recalls. However, he knew what menstruation was. "I remember eating a few slices of watermelon that night. The next morning, I got my first period. I tried convincing my mother that I did not menstruate and instead accidentally urinated bits of watermelon," he laughs.
This also started a set of uncomfortable conversations in his house. "My grandmother would tell me not to interact with boys and said that now I'm a woman. I was asked to not jump walls and behave more like a woman," he says. Which then brought on the next big quandary - to pad up or to not pad up. Incidentally, he also tells us that he was never comfortable buying sanitary napkins from women shopkeepers.
Transsexuality in an artist's imagination (Pic: Rehna Abdul Kareem/ Paper Planes)
Shreyas' menstruation wasn't regular for the longest of times. He got his second period only a year later. While this would have been worrisome for many, he was secretly happy. "I dreaded menstruating. I was very angry all the time. This depresses you a lot. You feel like you're someone else. I never wanted my body to develop this way," he says. During that time, like most people, Shreyas' body too developed. "I hated the change. I hated having big breasts. I could not even wear the clothes that I like," he says. He recalls how it was unacceptable for him to wear pants and shirts together and was mocked for wearing boy clothes. In his early twenties, Shreyas remembers his parents asked him to get married. "When I said that I can't, it sparked off a debate. I had a rift with my mother. She once asked me if I get my period or if I even had a uterus because I behaved differently," he says.
And that was the turning point. Three years down the line, Shreyas underwent sex reassignment surgery in January. A few years before that, he got hormone therapy done, after which he stopped menstruating. Even though life's smooth for Shreyas, he reminds us that things aren't the same for all transmen. "Some of them who haven't gotten the hormone treatment done, still menstruate. There are people who have given birth. Hormones may worsen their menstrual cycle. They tend to bleed more. Things may not be easy at all for them," he adds.
This Pride Month we're celebrating diversity in its truest, most leveling form by bringing to you stories of hope and great cheer from the LGBTQIA+ community from across India in our new series Matter of Pride. If you'd like to reach out to any of them or need help, reach out to us WhatsApp at +917358029990