Period Products: Our Outlook Requires Change

Bonnie Anderson, Scribe Reporter

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Perhaps one of the most contentious issues in the Schaumburg community is the addition of period products to the boys bathrooms under a new state legislature. Although this new ruling was passed with the intent to provide for the transgender community, it has been abused by many who undermine its intended purpose. 

While providing these resources seems universally beneficial at face value, the effectiveness is undermined by teenagers using the products for comedic purposes. The thought process behind these product installations remains inherently well-intentioned, so the mass abuse of equalizing resources is deeply disappointing. These products were put into place as resources to create equality and representation within our gender diverse school. Therefore, we must not let their misuse overshadow progress. 

Our school is home to many transgender students, but the addition of menstrual products at this point may only serve to ostracize said community. As many students begin the journey through their personal identity, having to conspicuously reveal these inner struggles proves actively detrimental to their efforts. Discovering one’s gender identity is difficult enough without the added pressure imposed by the social expectations of high school. 

As far as the overall issue of period products, placing such an emphasis on the name of products as overtly feminine reinforces the overarching gender binary, seeing as male identifying people can still menstruate. Although this issue is being improved upon at our school, societal stigmas continue to surround menstrual products and even the mere discussion of them. 

On par with a larger issue, many members of the transgender and non binary communities continue to feel increasingly uncomfortable in binary school bathrooms, with the gender neutral counterparts being limited and difficult to use. Many students across the gender spectrum have no concept of where these alleged ‘options’ even are, and reinforcing these binary ideas within school bathrooms can lead to heightened gender dysphoria and lowered self image. 

Instead of serving as a beacon of equality for the gender expansive community, the tampons and pads have been turned into a source of comedy, creating semi constant distractions in a classroom setting.  Not only does this limit the availability and public perception of options to the intended audience, but it creates an immense amount of plastic waste in a world where ‘period poverty’ runs rampant. In outside society, these problems continue to have prevalence, but Schaumburg High School’s policies are beginning to reflect the value it places on these issues. Overall, the implementation has proven more effective in discussion than in practice, particularly for the intended community benefit. Resources for anyone struggling within the LGBTQ+ community include our school counselors, PRISM club, and the global hotline of The Trevor Project among many others.

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