Female-to-male transgender individuals who still menstruate are now saying that feminine hygiene products, which are typically marketed at biological women, should be gender-neutral (and free) so that they are not further oppressed, harmed, or triggered by gender-specific packaging and the cost of period products during their “time of the month.”
The revelation comes in a wide-ranging report from NBC News, which claims that transgender individuals are caused “pain” by the fact that menstruation is assumed to be a female-only process.
“I didn’t believe that having periods would be a part of my lived experience,” one prominent trans-rights activist told NBC about the situation. “I felt isolated; everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this and nothing in the world documented that.”
“Some transgender and gender-nonconforming people who menstruate,” the story continues, taking care not to refer to the individuals as biologically female, though that is what they are, “say when the products are categorized as women’s products, they can feel alienated — and may even avoid purchasing them altogether.”
The problems stem from the products themselves. Typically, feminine hygiene products are referred to as “feminine,” even though there are, now, “masculine” periods. As a result, menstruation products have female-oriented packaging, are marketed to women, and are available exclusively in women’s restrooms (and at a cost). There are also concerns about using feminine hygiene products, if there’s a chance someone a transgender individual encounters in the process is surprised by their need for pads or tampons.
Activists also say that female-to-male transgenders, who haven’t completed their gender transition, are being “discriminated against” by care providers like gynecologists who will only see patients who have female reproductive systems or who identify as biologically female.
And then there’s the cost.
“The cost and taxation of menstruation products could hit transgender people even harder [than cis-gender people], according to Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality,” NBC News reports. Trans individuals, he says, “are experiencing poverty, unemployment and underemployment at higher rates, so there is absolutely economic vulnerability here.”
Feminists have long complained about the high cost of menstrual products and the “pink tax” that gets levied on many health and beauty products targeted towards women, but now that some of those same women consider themselves men, the issue is more urgent, particularly because female-to-male transgender individuals who still need menstrual products can’t access pads and tampons given away for free — because those are usually in women’s restrooms.
The end result? “Pain,” the activists say, and further marginalization.
Some companies have taken steps to rectify the situation. The Daily Wire reported late last year that Always, which makes pads and tampons, changed the packaging of its products after complaints from transgender individuals who found them too “female.” The company replaced the “Venus” symbol — an attached circle and plus sign traditionally representing women — from most of its packaging so as not to be overtly offensive.
The issue is a flash point between transgender activists and feminists, who say the trans-rights movement is erasing women and, by extension, their work.
“Removing the female symbol from sanitary towel packaging is basically denying the existence of women,” one prominent feminist told the Daily Mail during the dust-up over Always’ packaging. “We’re now moving towards the total elimination of women’s biology. The women’s symbol has been used by feminists for decades. This is pure cowardice and virtue signalling from these big corporate brands who are capitulating to the trans agenda.”