Period Products & Restrooms
Should period products be offered in men's restrooms? There are a great many people who would flat out answer "no" to this question. Though we've made leaps and bounds in the name of progress, the knee-jerk reaction is that to cisgender males and females, "men" don't menstruate, so there's no point in having these products available in a men's bathroom. Unfortunately, this thinking excludes trans and nonbinary people and fathers and parents looking to support their menstruating children.
There are many reasons why period products should be available in men's restrooms: sometimes period products are forgotten, you start your period when you didn't expect to or didn't bring enough products.
To begin, trans men or masculine identifying nonbinary people can still menstruate. Without surgery to remove the uterus or birth control or hormones to lighten or stop menstruation, the period persists. Unfortunately, if you use the men's restroom for these individuals, you'll find a startling lack of products to help during that time of the month.
Women's restrooms often come equipped with machines to purchase sanitary products, and some public restrooms even offer pads and tampons for free. If you're trans or nonbinary and no longer use the women's restroom, you need to keep backup supplies on you just in case. Otherwise, you'll be forced to use the toilet paper technique until you can get what you need.
This situation is not only inconvenient, but it further solidifies the societal divide between cis-men and trans men. It can be dehumanizing not to have the products you need when your period starts unexpectedly. Not to mention, those who are homeless or live in poverty can't access free or affordable products available in women's restrooms. No one should feel like they aren't equipped to handle that time of the month.
Having menstruation products in the men's restroom also aids fathers, parents, and guardians who care for menstruating children. It has been reported that kids as young as eight years old can start their periods, and if a child begins menstruating and needs a product, fathers should feel that they have the tools to support their kids. This logic also applies to fathers with disabled children who need help using the restroom. If there are no products available and you've forgotten to bring them, you're out of luck in a men's restroom. Having these products more readily available saves fathers from leaving their children in an uncomfortable situation.
Having period products available in men's restrooms not only helps those who need them but it normalizes periods on a grander scale. Sadly, many men don't know what period products look like, how to use them, or refuse to talk about them because it makes them uncomfortable. Providing period care in men's restrooms forces cis-men to view these products as normal instead of "taboo" or "gross."
Period products are average, everyday items that many people need. Instead of limiting them to one kind of restroom, they should be in every restroom, regardless of gender.