When Taq Kaur Bhandal moved back to Halifax near the beginning of the pandemic, she craved a space for women of colour that fostered community, nourishment and open conversation. After spending time with barely any human interaction during isolation, she was excited about finding a group open to the idea of creating solidarities and discussing menstrual health.
But it wasn’t easy for Bhandal. After numerous online searches, she couldn’t find spaces—particularly in the health and fitness industries—that are led by women of colour in Halifax.
It prompted her to find her own space that she could lead, and she’s currently in the process of creating a dinner club for women of colour. Moon Babes: A Women of Colour Dinner Club is set to meet for dinner at various Halifax restaurants on a monthly basis between March and June. Applications for the club close on February 21.
“I love going out to eat and I thought, ‘You know what? I’m just going to do it,’” Bhandal, who graduated from Dalhousie University and is now a researcher and educator, says. “I like being of service to the places where I live, so I thought this would be a good way to provide something—a space in which we can all come together that the community might be into.”
Bhandal hopes to find four other women who represent various diasporas and are excited to discuss ideas like creativity, self-care and ancestral lineage, and how those topics intersect with menstrual health. On top of that, she’s eager to have lively conversations and see what generates from the topic of food.
“I feel like it can really bring people together in a positive way,” she says. “For me, having it as the centre point, I thought would just give the group that positive, uplifting undertone as opposed to…the deconstructing and analyzing of, let’s say, racism.
“With this group, I really wanted it to be a place where, yes, we understand oppression and racialized identity. But it’s also space where we can come together and just be stoked about life and not have every conversation about being a person of colour…about pain and violence and trauma.”
“I’m interested in moving forward a conversation around how menstrual cycles are awesome and the reason we’re all here in the first place and super life-giving.”
While she doesn’t want to entirely throw away those topics of conversation, she wants to slightly de-center those ideas in favour of joy and happiness. Moreover, she wants the group to be able to openly talk about menstrual cycles and pelvic health.
Those are some of the topics Bhandal nerds out about. In 2020, she published a guidebook titled Self-Care Down There which aims to help everyone understand vaginal wellbeing. Before that, she started a social enterprise called imwithperiods to explore how menstrual cycles intersect with so many facets of everyday life.
“It is a topic I’ve noticed that a lot of folks are really eager to share, but we don’t always have the spaces in which to do it,” Bhandal says. “I feel sometimes if I’m introducing myself to somebody and I share that I’m into periods, that’s all that I have to do and people will just share the most intimate details of their lives with me—and I just love that.”
At the moment, she finds most discourse around periods is generally negative. And while Bhandal understands it might be a challenging topic for some, she wants to change that narrative: “I’m interested in moving forward a conversation around how menstrual cycles are awesome and the reason we’re all here in the first place and super life-giving.”