About a month ago my former coworkers had a coloring lunch to send me off. My contribution? The Adventures Of Toni The Tampon, a fun and gender-inclusive coloring book about menstruation staring some very familiar period products.
The book is meant for "menstruators of all genders" and Toni's gender-neutral name, as well as the tampon's definitely male-identified friend Sebastian the Sponge, have right-wing media up in arms.
In an article about the coloring book on Breitbart the author claims that artist Cass Clemmer wants to "'de-gender' the female biological process" with Toni's adventures. She not only denies the existence of transgender and genderqueer people all together — she actually uses quotation marks around "gender identity," as if it's not a legitimate thing — but she also misgenders Clemmer throughout the article.
Clemmer is a genderqueer person who prefers not to use pronouns at all, Clemmer told my lovely roommate who works at Mashable (and who generously let me take her copy to my coloring book lunch. Thanks Katie!)
Yet, the Breitbart writer continuously uses "she" to refer to Clemmer and is appalled at the idea that Toni is actually a genderqueer tampon.
She claims that Toni is just "one aspect of the progressive campaign to blur the differences between male and female, and to ultimately create a 'genderless' society."
Yet, we'd argue it's just the opposite. There are at least three genders represented in Clemmer's coloring book, and it opens up the opportunity for many more. That's far from a "genderless" society.
Unfortunately, this one Breitbart author isn't the only person angry that Toni and friends exist. Comments on the coloring book's page claim over and over again that, biologically-speaking, "only females menstruate."
Well, commenters, you're wrong. Transgender men, genderqueer people, intersex people, and people who identify within infinite possibilities of genders menstruate. These people aren't female, not even biologically-speaking.
Toni, Sebastian, and their other friends teach children that gender isn't a one-or-the-other thing, that periods are not something only women experience, and that it's really fun to color a tampon floating in space. That, to us, is a beautiful thing.
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