Menstrual Activist Highlight: Kenny Ethan Jones
Coming out as transgender can mean defying all the programming you learned about gender growing up, distancing yourself from family, and starting life again as the real you. Still, it can be even harder to come out as transgender and be a spokesperson of a bodily function so famously associated with being female: menstruating. That’s what makes Kenny Ethan Jones so f*cking cool.
A model, activist, and entrepreneur; Kenny Ethan Jones does it all. Bridging the gap between trans men and prideful menstruation, he was the outspoken frontman of Pink Parcel’s “I'M ON” campaign, making history as the first trans man to front a period campaign. For trans men, the act of menstruating can bring monthly waves of dysphoria and psychological dis. However, Jones hoped that by representing such a taboo aspect of the transgender experience, he could help with male menstruation’s destigmatization.
Many menstrual products advertise as being “women’s health” products. They are packaged in colors and themes that promote traditional femininity ideals, thus alienating trans men and intersex people who don’t feel comfortable purchasing such gendered items. The intense branding and marketing of menstrual products as being exclusively for women adds to the dysphoric process of menstruating for trans and nonbinary people.
“I didn’t believe that having periods would be a part of my lived experience,” Jones told NBC News. “I felt isolated; everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this, and nothing in the world documented that.” That’s why Jones, though initially a bit shocked when his agent approached him with it, accepted the opportunity to be a more inclusive face and presence in period marketing. Appearing in this campaign also launched his love for activism. Through his work, he hopes to “engage in open and respectful conversations about all things trans in hopes of attaining equality, seeing trans people displayed positively in the media and creating allies.”
He has also been part of countless other campaigns and interviews to pursue a more trans-inclusive world, appearing in body positivity campaigns and offering consulting services to educate and promote inclusivity. Among the powerhouses he has worked with are Instagram, Purpose, and Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom. In these sessions, Jones educates members of the participating organizations on deadnaming, misgendering, body positivity/image, and visibility of trans people in the media.
Kenny Ethan Jones even breaks barriers on the runway, not just by being a trans man, but by also being only 5’6”. He jokes on his website, “Outside of me sharing my lived experience, you can catch me breaking boundaries in the fashion world, being the shortest man on the runway.”
Jones has seen great success in all aspects of his career as he stays true to himself in advocating for casual trans visibility. Whether it be addressing Parliament or appearing topless in a men’s shaving commercial, he hopes to break down the societal barriers that exist to keep trans and intersex peoples on the fringes and work towards a brighter future of complete acceptance and inclusivity.