Bristol’s Great Menopause Event

I spent yesterday at City Hall in Bristol for the Great Menopause Event which I reported on for Ujima a couple of weeks ago. Of course menopause isn’t something that is going to sneak up on me at any time soon, but a lot of my friends are going through it and as I am on HRT (due to having no gonads) I’m interested to know whether I should be considering lowering the dose as I get older. No one does research on trans people’s long term health issues, of course.

The event had a variety of speakers covering lots of different aspects: the social, the medical, employment rights and so on. My biggest take away is that every woman is different, and therefore every woman experiences menopause in a different way. Some people hardly notice it, others have an awful time. Some women, and this surprised me, go through menopause at 30, which can be a major medical problem. If you have mild symptoms there are all sorts of natural sources of estrogen that you can take, though none of them are as powerful and effective as actual HRT. Lack of GP knowledge about menopause, and unwillingness of some male GPs to even discuss women’s health issues, were highlighted as major issues. It was all very interesting, and all very taboo busting.

I understand that the slides from the various talks will be made available in due course. They will probably be on the City Council’s Women’s Health Task Group web page.

I now have a pile of follow-up to do, much of which involves public policy issues. All of this will doubtless feed in some way into the development of the Women’s Equality Party health policy.

Oh, and no one seemed to object to my being there, which was a great relief considering the torrent of anti-trans propaganda being pumped out by the English media these days.

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17 Responses to Bristol’s Great Menopause Event

  1. posie parker says:

    I have a couple of issues with you going, considering you’ll never have a period or the menopause…
    First, what woman would be prepared to tell you she felt uncomfortable with you being there?
    Second, why did you think you should go?

    What an entitled person you are.

    • Cheryl says:

      Someone from the event should be responding to this is due course. In the meantime I have a couple of points.

      Firstly, I asked permission to attend and was told I would be welcome. I’m disappointed that you think the organisers would be so cowed by me that they would feel unable to turn me away. They do great work for women and are far more fierce than you give them credit for.

      As to why I attended, I have been on HRT for 23 years now. I’m getting old. I’m concerned about the implications. Thankfully I’m very healthy, but I hoped my experience would be valuable to the attendees, and I’m grateful for the information they gave me. Hopefully by sharing information and experiences we can make health care, and the workplace, better for everyone.

      • posie parker says:

        But don’t you feel it’s an imposition? Seriously. You don’t question yourself for a second?

        • Cheryl says:

          I said above that I asked for permission to attend. You ignored that, presumably because you are so focused on the idea that I must have forced my way in that you can’t see anything that it contrary to your pre-conceived ideas.

  2. posie parker says:

    To be honest it was terrible when you decided to have two young women come on your show to talk about period shame in a so-called women’s hour. They were uncomfortable and embarrassed… I know because I saw them and spoke with them.

    • Shai says:

      Hi there “Posie”,

      I was on the show talking about periods with Cheryl and had a brilliant time discussing the extremely important issues around period shame. I wasn’t uncomfortable at any point, and as a practitioner in menstrual health I am definitely unashamed about talking about periods on a public platform. Cheryl – you’re amazing, and what you do for oppressed genders is fantastic. Keep up the brilliant work and I look forward to working with you in the future.

  3. Ali says:

    should you be advising on women’s health issues when you clearly know nothing about them, being male?

    • Cheryl says:

      That’s an interesting observation. I am legally female, am read socially as female most of the time, and much of my biology is female, hence my interest in estrogen and its effects.

      However, I don’t purport to give advice on these issues. I can offer my personal experience of HRT, and I can point people at experts who know more than me. I certainly wouldn’t presume to give medical advice.

      On which subject, one of the major issues discussed on Saturday was the lack of knowledge and unwillingness to discuss women’s health issues on the part of male GPs. The women who attended the event seemed keen that men should know more, and if professionally trained should dispense advice.

      • posie parker says:

        you are definitely not read as female socially. You are most definitely considered a trans woman aka male.

        • Cheryl says:

          How do you know? Do you follow me around with a camera assessing my interactions with other people? That would be very creepy.

          Or are you just coming here to insult me? Because I don’t have time for that. I have way to much work to do fighting for feminism and LGBT+ rights. I’m not going to waste any more time on your abuse.

  4. Adele says:

    Cheryl, just stopping by to say I can’t imagine why I or anyone else should have any problem discussing periods, menopause or anything else with you.
    A) You’re female and
    B) Talking to anybody about these things is indeed the point. If we keep treating it like an embarrassing secret to the extent that we can’t even discuss it with a trans woman with whom we can exchange HRT experiences, then that’s exactly how it will stay.

    Haters gunna hate. Keep fighting the good fight xxx

  5. Ellie says:

    I for one was very glad to see that multiple experiences of menopause and HRT were being discussed & am baffled by other responses. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I couldn’t make it so it’s very interesting !

  6. Dr Isabel de Salis says:

    I am writing as one of the organisers of “Our Menopauses: the Great Menopause Event” held last Saturday at City Hall in response to questions raised about the presence of Cheryl at it.

    The event welcomed those who were affected by menopause either because their ovaries no longer worked or they had had a surgical event and needed to take female hormones. We welcomed Cheryl to attend because she is a woman in midlife and she is a woman who has some expertise of living with HRT for nearly 25 years, including side effects and risks, that she is happy to share. As women’s menopausal experiences are so diverse, participants accepted her as another voice among the many.
    Although Cheryl wasn’t coming in her professional capacity – this event was for non-professionals – she has supported us in our work to reclaim the menopause by helping to spread the message that menopause is a really important and potentially powerful process which for too long has been denigrated, dreaded and diminished. We were pleased she could attend and I am not aware of anyone feeling unable to share their experiences with her. Indeed, why should they?

  7. Nikki Jeal says:

    I am Nikki, one of the other organisers and totally support Isabel’s views. Cheryl was invited and very welcome. Her experience of HRT and views on the menopause were another valid contribution to a very diverse and mutually respectful day.

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