BWW Blog: Simona Berman - Men Can Have Periods, Too

BWW Blog: Simona Berman - Men Can Have Periods, Too

"What do you mean when you say 'men can have periods, too'? How is that possible?!" As the words came out of my mouth, suddenly everything turned to slow motion as my shoulders crept up to whisper in my ear: "You ignorant fool. You will be kicked out of here for sure for that insulting remark." Here being the rehearsal room that Honest Accomplice Theatre (HAT) was awarded through a space grant by the Drama League for the amazing work they do. I was thrilled when I was told that I would be a member of the company, though now it feels more like a family. I was invited to be apart of their latest show ReConfigured, a show about the body on many diverse levels. My body had been my enemy for more than 20 years: eating disorders, exercise binging, body dysmorphia, sexual deviance, drugs, the this diet, the that diet, the everything in between diet (rinse and repeat). Part of the healing for me has been in sharing my stories in the hopes that it may shine a light on someone else's battles. This production seemed perfect for me. And we would also be bringing awareness to the trans community's experience of the body. Bonus! But at the time of the seemingly ignorant remark I made in the rehearsal room, I was brand spankin' new and not as educated on the trans community nor the many facets of gender identity yet as I thought. Being a bisexual and a supporter of the LGBTQ community, I thought I was pretty well informed, at least on those topics. I would come to find out through many incredible devising sessions with HAT that I had a LOT more to learn. More so, just how important it was for me as a cis woman-someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth-to spread this knowledge. This helps to alleviate the trans community as being the sole educators all the time.

Back in the rehearsal room, after asking how it was possible for men to have a period, feeling as if the floor opened up like a sinkhole to swallow my ignorance whole, I felt someone take my hand and say "Men can have periods too because...well, because of me!" they said with a smile that had no hint of disgust for me at all. I smiled back as clarity painted me pink.

My flushed pink was tickled away as I was not made to feel ashamed, stupid or ignorant. Rather, I was embraced for asking, for wanting to know and obtaining the information to pass on to others if need be. At that moment for me, the bond was solidified. We were all in this together- no matter our individual stories-we were all in some way redefining the parameters of "normalcy" to embody one's true self. In the Trans Literacy Project and some parts of ReconFigured, we aim to both educate cisgender people and strike sparks of recognition in those questioning their own gender identities and those just being who they are openly. But ReconFigured is not just about the trans community nor just another show about eating disorders. We offer an unfiltered, informative, heart wrenching and belly laughing experience about what too often is- but shouldn't be- considered culturally taboo. Through numerous theatrical devices we bring awareness to such issues as invisible disability, the body and gender as well as sexuality, puberty, fatphobia, menopause and even FARTS for cryin' out loud! Ultimately, you really can't ever go wrong with the theatricality of flatulence, now can you? Come find out!

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