“Everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this … “
Men who go through 36 tampons a month claim ‘economic vulnerability’
Buying menstrual products labeled for women makes him feel ‘isolated’
Jan. 11, 202o
NBC News – When transgender model and activist Kenny Ethan Jones experienced his first period, he faced both physical and psychological pain.
Initially, Jones, who had not yet come out as trans at the time, felt like he was losing control and didn’t understand what was happening to his body.
However, one thing was clear: He didn’t feel like himself.
“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.”
“People are still reluctant to the idea that it’s not only women that experience periods”
He currently experiences a wide range of challenges with his monthly bleeding, especially when it comes to getting his hands on menstrual hygiene products.
“Having a period already causes me a lot of [gender] dysphoria, but this dysphoria becomes heightened when I have to shop for a product that is labeled as ‘women’s health’ and in most cases, is pretty and pink,” Jones explained.
Some transgender and gender-nonconforming people who menstruate, like Jones, say when the products are categorized as women’s products, they can feel alienated — and may even avoid purchasing them altogether.
“I’ve definitely seen a positive shift with the discussion around women experiencing periods, but the stigma towards trans men, nonbinary and intersex individuals having them is still alive and well,” said Jones, who gained attention in 2018 when he was the face of a U.K.-based menstruation company’s ad campaign. “People are still reluctant to the idea that it’s not only women that experience periods.”
A box of 36 tampons, which could easily be used within one menstruation period, could cost as much as $12 — that’s significantly more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Additionally, menstrual hygiene products sold in the U.S. are still subject to sales tax in 32 states. Read more.
NBC News – Always announced it will remove the Venus symbol from its menstruation products packaging following calls by transgender advocates, who said its parent, Procter & Gamble, was alienating trans and gender-nonconforming customers by not acknowledging that they, too, can experience menstruation.
“Could someone from Always tell me why it is imperative to have the female symbol on their sanitary products?” Twitter user Melly Bloom, one of those advocates, tweeted over the summer. “There are non-binary and trans folks who still need to use your products too you know!”
The company announced it would be removing the female signs from its packaging starting in December and aims to have a new design distributed worldwide by February 2020.
“For over 35 years, Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity and inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers,” Proctor & Gamble’s media relations team told NBC News in an email Monday.
“We routinely assess our products, packaging and designs, taking into account consumer feedback, to ensure we are meeting the needs of everyone who uses our products. The change to our pad wrapper design is consistent with that practice.” Read more.