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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Student-led campaign creates inclusive space in menstrual health and hygiene

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Members of the ForYou Campaign pose for a photo in front of the One of a Kind art mural at Texas State. 

ForYou, a campaign within Texas State’s public relations capstone class, aims to educate the student body on what a healthy period looks like as well as dispel the common myths and misconceptions that can create harmful or unfounded beliefs surrounding menstruation. 
The campaign’s main components include awareness, education, inclusivity and advocacy in an effort to promote range in menstrual discourse. With each one being an integral part in measuring the success, the five Texas State seniors that created this campaign knew their foundation needed to stand on inclusivity and erase the taboo that crosses generational lines.
“It’s time to make an uncomfortable conversation comfortable,” Alexandria Blott, founder and team lead of the ForYou campaign, said. “Menstruation happens to almost everyone with a uterus, so why should we hide behind euphemisms and shame? A healthy period is a normal period, and we’re here to include everyone in that conversation – not just the people who society thinks should fit an outdated idea of who should have a menstrual cycle.”
For nonbinary people and transgender men, having a period can not only cause physical distress on the body from the cycle itself but can also create emotional and mental turmoil that agitates the gender dysphoria they could be already experiencing.
On the Texas State campus, the lack of accessibility to menstrual products and gender-neutral bathrooms only adds to the already difficult experience of having a menstrual cycle for these communities.
“Having a period as a transmasc is hard enough to process on its own, but the lack of representation makes my experience even more uncomfortable,” Jo Ingraham, a clinical laboratory science senior, said. “Everything is so geared toward cisgender women – terminology, packaging, product placement – that my identity is almost completely disconnected with what I’m having to do just to have a clean cycle.”
While Texas State Student Government passed a Menstrual Health Initiativethat brought free menstrual products to six buildings throughout the Texas State campus, product placement and accessibility create a rift between idea and execution.
“I think it’s great that there are free products on campus,” Ingraham said. “But from what I’ve seen they’re only in women’s bathrooms which completely cut nonbinary people and transmascs out of having access to them without compromising our feelings of identity. There’s no discussion of what would be the most beneficial for every community because the language involving periods is typically surrounded by cisgender women.”
Despite having this initiative, bathrooms that held these products were still hard to find and very isolated from where they were placed. After recognizing this to be a problem, the ForYou team conducted its own experiment where each member went into buildings across campus to see if any menstrual products were provided in the bathrooms. 
All bathrooms on every floor in over six buildings surrounding Old Main were scoured to see if there was not only access to the menstrual products but also gender-neutral bathrooms.
The search came to be quite disheartening for the five members as only a handful of buildings had the rare menstrual product station and outside of that, the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms felt like a blow to multiple communities.
“We decided to go in blind to try and find these stations to mimic what our fellow Bobcats would typically do when in need of period products,” said ForYou team member and graphic designer Olivia Wainwright. “Every one of us who’s had a period has experienced an emergency where we didn’t have any menstrual products when we’ve needed it, and it’s important for everyone to have easy access to menstrual products provided to them on campus. The initiative is so important, but an entire section of campus that populates half of the majors is without unless a random organization decides to sponsor a random bathroom.”
To give an idea of the lack of locations for gender-neutral bathrooms, the closest one when on the fourth floor of Centennial is located on the fourth floor of Lampasas – two buildings away. While there are 18 gender-neutral bathrooms across Texas State’s campus, some buildings have two such as Alkek Library and the Student Health Center, leaving the majority of the buildings without.
The ForYou team wants to tackle this problem that over half of the student body population faces by advocating for the university to put menstrual health hygiene and product stations in every building on campus – outside of a gender-specific bathroom.
“The uncomfortable truth is that you have to actively change your behavior and be aware of your actions that aren’t inclusive,” Ingraham said. “Include communities outside of the status quo in conversations that affect the masses.”
A petition has been created by the campaign to push for this initiative to be implemented with over 50 signatures in the three weeks it’s been active.
With the foundation of the ForYou campaign being based on inclusivity, it not only pushes for inclusive language and actions regarding who has a period, but what healthy and “normal” look like for people who have one.
Myths and misconceptions dominate the menstrual discourse and fuel the unfounded beliefs that could potentially harm those seeking ways to navigate a menstrual cycle and what a healthy one is supposed to resemble. While it is due to a lack of education, a massive portion of this also correlates to the taboo surrounding a period and who is supposed to know about it.
“Menstruation is something that not a lot of people talk about in public,” said ForYou team member and logistics expert Morgan Taylor. “It’s one of those ‘I only talk to my close friends and my doctor about’ kind of topics and that needs to change. We should be proud and open to talk about such a natural thing.”
The ForYou team has created an education and awareness portion of its campaign that can be found within The University Star over the next three weeks which will feature expert and relational interviews that inform, educate and bridges the gap of the isolating feelings people who have periods experience. 
“It’s an exciting time for our team to be a part of something we consider so important,” Blott said. “Preventative care is healthcare and having menstrual products available to everyone is part of that. Inclusive language and actions are only the beginning of what we plan on doing as a team, so just imagine the impact we could have as a university – the possibilities are endless.”

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