As a cis-gendered male, menstruation was never at the forefront of Ameer Abdul’s mind until a fellow member of Humanism for Medicine, a pre-med organization at Ohio State, introduced him to the topic of period poverty.
“I was just, like, in complete shock,” said Ameer. “The fact that there were mothers that we had met with that told us that at the end of every month, they have to choose between putting food on the table for my children and buying menstrual products for myself. Things like that were just crazy to me.”
After witnessing the impact of period poverty first-hand, Ameer continued to learn and research period poverty, and has made major strides to bridge the gaps created by the issue, both at The Ohio State University and nation-wide.
In this episode of The Conversationalist Podcast, The Conversationalist Founder and CEO Sophie Beren sits down with menstrual equity advocate Ameer Abdul. Since graduating from The Ohio State University as a biology major and pre-med student, Ameer has taken time off to work as the National Campaign Manager with Period—a youth-led nonprofit that serves, educates, and advocates for issues of menstrual equality and helps make menstrual products readily available.
While he was still a student, Ameer co-founded the Ohio State chapter of Period, where he successfully pressured the school into supplying each bathroom on campus with free menstrual products. He has also publicly advocated for the end of the “pink tax” in Ohio.
Ameer discusses his experience as a male in the menstrual equity space and the work he does now to raise awareness about period poverty across the country. He also shares advice on how to start conversations on menstruation to fight against stigmas and create change in how it is spoken about and treated in modern society.
In proper TC fashion, we opened the conversation by breaking the ice with a series of rapid-fire questions from Sophie. Ameer shared that his walkup song is "Stronger" by Kanye West, pineapples should go on pizza along with jalapenos, and while he may be scared of heights, his top bucket list item is skydiving.
Ameer shared that he has always been an activist and community organizer even before joining Period. From a young age, Ameer knew he wanted to help others one-on-one, and intended on applying to med school. But after spending the year following his graduation from The Ohio State University working with Period, Ameer found that he was able to combine both his passion for activism and his passion for supporting under-represented demographics.
Through Period, Ameer was able to meet people affected by a lack of menstrual resources and learn how he could reduce the disparities created by period poverty in different communities. He also organized a National Period Day with 55 rallies across the country and endorsements from presidential candidates.
Ameer admits that he was timid going into the the menstrual equity space as a cis-gender male. “I didn't want to kinda go out and speak, cause I didn't want to take up too much space,” said Ameer. “But they gave me the confidence to go out and just fight for the issue like it's any other and make sure that I'm as inclusive as I could be.”
He realized how important it was for men and non-menstruators to be involved in the conversation of menstrual equity, explaining that because stigmas surrounding menstruation are often fueled by a lack of understanding and misinformation, everyone, regardless of gender, needs to be involved.
“Whenever it may have been, a lot of these issues [around menstruation] were just considered things that men don't do. They're attached to a specific gender, and this patriarchy had really amplified that and really stuck with that,” explained Ameer. “But our generation—us, we're not playing around. And we're here to end toxic masculinity and we're here to fight it, and make sure that this is going to be something in the past by the time we're done with it.”
Here at TC, we have a whole room in our community dedicated to Hot Takes, where members can share a controversial thought, question, or icebreaker about something that they believe in. This week’s hot take was brought to us by TC Community Member EmmaJo Kendall, who thinks that menstrual cycles are valid reasons to be excused from PE, school or work.
Ameer didn’t hesitate in agreeing with Emma. “Every menstruator feels differently on their period, and if you're one of the menstruators who feels like they have more energy and they're more able to go out to, you know, be out there during PE, go play sports and do whatever you need to do, then so be it. But if you're one of the menstruators who maybe feels more inclined to step back, then that should also be the case,” said Ameer. “If you feel the need to take it, then you should. That's very simple, I think.”
When trying to find your path in life, Ameer said his greatest piece of advice is to give yourself grace. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and I think that's led to a lot of stress that we really don't need during this time,” explained Ameer. “I think the process is one of the most valuable things. You learn a lot through it and you get to meet folks and you gain so much perspective and knowledge on just different things. And so enjoy the process of it all, and take your time and move at your own pace and enjoy it.”
Self Promo 🤩
If you’re interested in keeping up with Ameer or want to learn more about Period, Ameer shared his email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be found on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Snaps to Ameer for sharing his wisdom with us today! We couldn’t be more grateful to have him in our world.
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