Published On: Wed, Mar 8th, 2017

Genderqueer artist Cass Clemmer introduces the Toni the Tampon coloring book for kids, teaches menstruation for all genders

Described as “innovative” and “powerful,” a new coloring book for kids is attempting to make menstruation for all genders.

The Adventures of Toni the Tampon: A Period Coloring Book comes from genderqueer artist and menstrual health educator Cass Clemmer and seeks to destigmatize periods for people from a young age while providing a safe, “instructive way to introduce the concept that menstruation isn’t something that’s limited to just those who identify as female.”

“Too many places in the country still demand abstinence-only education as the standard or engage in shame-techniques designed to scare kids from learning more or asking any further questions about their own health,” Clemmer told The Huffington Post. “I think the way to answer this issue is by creating new mediums that challenge and expand the ways we teach sexual education and menstrual health. There are currently a lot of really awesome groups out there that are creating new ways to talk about sexual and reproductive health, from comics to theater performances that have helped shift the way we talk about sexual education and our bodies. But still, we need more.”

Clemmer recounts in the interview about an upbringing of ignorance and parents unwilling to inform their daughter of her biology.

“It was a shock to realize I didn’t know anything about the body I had lived in my entire life. But after talking to friends, I started to recognize that no matter where you grow up, most young people are never exposed to any sort of menstrual health education more than the boring little instruction manual found at the bottom of the Tampax box.”

The topic gets more political when the interviewer asks “Why is it important to teach about menstruation outside of a binary understanding of gender?” implying men menstruate.

“Conversations about the gender binary cannot be extricated from the larger conversations around menstrual health, even those we have with kids, because when we presume that menstruators are all women, we make the mistake of excluding other folks from conversations about their own health. So I created Patrice the Pad, Marina the Menstrual Cup, Sebastian the Sponge, and Toni the Tampon.”

Clemmer continued: “It was risky to decide to introduce Toni, who uses no pronouns, and Sebastian who uses he/him/his, as genderqueer and trans characters, but I wanted to make sure that I created art that was inclusive, not just art that appeals to those who refuse to recognize other’s lived identities.”

Check out the full interview HERE

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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