Pride Month is celebrated in many countries as a month where people can openly display their sexuality and identity without fear of being persecuted. However, within American LBGTQ communities, equity gaps still need to be addressed, like menstrual care being inaccessible due to financial status or geographic location.
Many in the LBGTQ community also experience other things like homelessness, HIV/AIDS, mental health issues, and so on. As if fighting for equal rights wasn't enough, some of these people have to battle their lack of menstrual care access when they're in need.
Menstrual care products can be very expensive, which is why many low-income families cannot afford them. Furthermore, many health care schools do not teach proper menstrual care education to address their patients' needs. Therefore, we need to provide free menstrual supplies, like homeless shelters and other transition houses, for those who need them most.
Coupled with the stigma that often surrounds periods because of many religions' teachings surrounding menstruation and sexuality, it's no wonder why LGBTQ+ communities suffer from unequal menstrual care treatment.
A Boston Women's Health Collective study found that LGBTQ+ menstruators use 1.5 times more pads and twice as many tampons compared to non-LGBTQ menstruators. They also found that LGBTQ+ people were much less inclined to use environmentally friendly period products than their heterosexual counterparts.
These findings are even more striking when you consider the higher rates of poverty, lower levels of education, health disparities, and racism experienced by the LGBTQ+ communities.
Menstrual equity and menstrual care is such an important topic that it's even currently on the agenda of the UN. The world body passed a resolution to create more awareness about menstruation and its importance in humanity. This was a follow-up to an earlier resolution to improve menstrual care in developing countries, but they were met with little success. Currently, the goal of the UN is to push for tax deductions for women who buy items like tampons.
Some companies are doing their part to help give periods this right. The Homeless Period (http://thehomelessperiod.com/
) is an initiative that offers menstrual care to people who are homeless or unable to get proper menstrual products. Another company, for example, is donating a month of an unlimited supply of feminine hygiene products to homeless shelters across the country.
For those who live in areas still struggling with getting menstrual items into disadvantaged communities, there are companies like Thinx (https://www.shethinx.com/
) that produce unconventional period products like underwear that can hold up to four tampons worth of blood (which actually sound pretty awesome). The company has been making headlines since its inception because of controversial advertisements.
Despite this, they've been able to create products that are not just affording but also useful. As mentioned earlier in this article, it's not just about getting menstrual items into women's hands; it's also about creating a culture that doesn't stigmatize menstruation and creates awareness around it.
As we see, there are high disparities in the LGBTQ communities regarding menstrual care. Menstrual products are not covered under many health insurance plans and can be expensive. This leaves many people without access to these essential items. There is also a lack of safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ people to talk about their periods
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