Remember when the ACLU was taken seriously, even if you often disagreed with its legal positions?
Well, that was then.
Now, the once-venerable civil liberties organization is demanding tampons in men’s bathrooms. The ACLU seeks to eliminate “menstrual-related discrimination” in favor of "menstrual equality."
It explained in a statement Tuesday:
Around the country and the world, people are mobilizing for menstrual equity. Central to the policy agenda: accessible and affordable period products for everyone who needs them. As legislative interventions gain traction, advocates are also readying legal arguments to challenge unfair policies.
Constitutional law scholar and dean of UC Berkeley Law Erwin Chemerinsky recently co-authored a Los Angeles Times op-ed proposing that the failure of states to exempt menstrual products from sales tax — the tampon tax — amounts to denial of equal protection under the Constitution.
In forging these claims, a question emerges: How can we recognize that barriers to menstrual access are a form of sex discrimination without erasing the lived experiences of trans men and non-binary people who menstruate, as well as women who don’t?
Some arguments that challenge discriminatory laws based on sex-linked characteristics have made the point that “only women” menstruate, get pregnant, or breastfeed. But that is not a full or accurate portrayal — and menstrual stigma and period poverty can hit trans and non-binary people particularly hard.
Here are just two of the reasons “period poverty” hits trans and non-binary people particularly hard:
While free menstrual products are not uniformly provided in women’s restrooms, they are almost never available in men’s restrooms, even for pay. Men’s restrooms are also less likely to have a place to dispose of these products conveniently, privately, and hygienically.
While access to menstrual products in women’s prisons is often inadequate, it is far worse in men’s prisons. Trans and non-binary people may be incarcerated in either.
Your humble blogger is speechless.