Transgender men who menstruate need the same access to supplies as women.
By Jen O’Ryan; cross-posted with permission from the Good Men Project
I recently attended an event in San Francisco, which was hosted at the offices of a large, global tech company.
My companion returned from the men’s bathroom, happily informing me that it was stocked with both pads and tampons. He even provided a snap of them neatly organized in a little wicker basket. Not since the great Vegas road trip of ’04 have I been so delighted to see period supplies in a bathroom.
To those outside of the LGBTQ community, this may seem like an odd placement. Maybe someone in facilities left them there accidentally or its part of a first aid kit. (Fun fact: tampons are great for a bloody nose—ask any boxer.)
No, these are stocked in that bathroom for men who are on their periods. And that’s a good thing. Transgender men who menstruate need the same access to supplies as women. d Putting pads and tampons in all bathrooms reduces the risk of having to explain, as a man, why you bled through your jeans.
Promoting greater access to these products is not limited to the workplace. Emergency management teams, volunteer responders, and service providers for the homeless should be prepared to distribute hygiene items to people regardless of their presenting gender. Menstruation is a biological reality for many adolescent and adult humans; it is not ‘lady problems’. While we’re at it, let’s drop the “feminine” euphemism and call them what they are…personal hygiene products.
Most importantly, organizations that make personal hygiene products discretely accessible for all employees send a clear message to gender variant people — you are here, you have value, we see you, and recognize your humanity.
Putting these supplies in the bathroom right next to the soap and mouthwash normalizes their presence. That’s a lot for one little wicker basket, I know. Nonetheless, this small act of providing access to basic hygiene items signals inclusion. True inclusion.