A Christian activist opposes a new children's coloring book about menstrual cycles titled, "The Adventures of Toni the Tampon: A Period Coloring Book."
Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, recently told The Christian Post that the book is teaching children that males can have periods:
Teaching children that even men or boys can have periods is scientific malpractice and child abuse. This coloring book is a solution in search of a problem. Undermining children's comfort with their own bodies is no service to anyone. Most children who experience gender dysphoria grow out of it.
The author of the book, Cass Clemmer, told She Thinx that she intentionally used a gender-neutral name for the lead character:
When Toni first started, I wanted to intentionally challenge this narrative by having my main character be relatable to folks like me who grew up feeling excluded from conversations about menstruation.
I assigned a specifically neutral name and, if you notice, I don’t use pronounce when referring to Toni. In my mind, Toni is a little genderqueer tampon -- kind of like me in tampon form -- who just goes by Toni instead of any pronouns. The rest of the period pals include Patrice and Marina, both of which I use "she/her/hers" pronouns for, and Sebastian who goes by "he/him/his."
I know that giving pronouns to menstrual hygiene products isn’t the perfect way to disrupt the notion that periods are for cis-women only, but it’s definitely a start in pushing us to stop using shredded blood and tissue to define someone's gender for them.
Clemmer responded to critics via her Toni the Tampon Twitter page on March 7: "Woke up to trolls who are furious my book affirms menstruators of all genders. My reply: donating this week's profits to [Trans Lifeline]."
Trans Lifeline is a hotline that transgender people in the U.S. and Canada can call if they are contemplating suicide or experiencing a crisis.
Clemmer acknowledged to Mashable that including genderqueer and transgender characters in her coloring book makes it harder to market, but added: "I'd rather help just one genderqueer or trans menstruator feel like they were seen, than sell a thousand copies only to reinforce the boundaries society draws by gendering periods in the first place."
Back at The Christian Post, Morse continued her opposition to the book:
My parenting experience runs all over the map. I am the mother of a birth daughter. I have cared for several foster daughters, some of whom were pretty disturbed. I'm having trouble imagining any child I would read this book with. It does nothing to help explain either the physiology of menstruation or the psychology of adult womanhood.
Morse's experience also includes a history of opposing gay people and same-sex marriage, noted The Huffington Post.