Longtime menstrual pad company #Always has removed the female symbol from its packaging after an outcry from LGBTQ activists to make the labeling more inclusive of transgender and non-binary customers.
“For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so,” the brand’s parent company Procter & Gamble said in a statement. “We’re also committed to diversity & inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers.” LGBTQ activist Ben Saunders reportedly asked Always over the summer to change its packaging to be more inclusive. Saunders was named Young Campaigner of the Year by the charity Stonewall after producing a short film highlighting transgender people in the U.K., according to CBS News.
The new packaging will appear on packages next year starting in 2020, a spokesperson told CBS News. “We routinely assess our products, packaging, and designs,” P&G said. “We take into account a broad array of factors, including feedback from consumers, to ensure we are meeting the needs of everyone who uses our products. The change to our pad wrapper design is consistent with that practice, and will be adapted by multiple markets at various dates.”
LGBTQ activists and allies have been requesting P&G to revamp the package’s design to be more gender-neutral. Some argued that using the female symbol neglects women who do not menstruate as well as people who menstruate that don’t identify as women. “tw// periods hi @Always I understand that you guys love girl positivity, but please understand that there are trans men that get periods, and if you could please do something about the ♀️symbol on your pad packaging, I’d be happy. I’d hate to have any trans males feel dysphoric,” one Twitter user wrote.
While many were excited about the change, others opposed the move claiming it was an attempt to “eliminate” women. The hashtag #BoycottAlways sparked a slew of transphobic comments on social media. But those who support the change said eliminating gendered packaging could help relieve some of the dysphoria experienced by transgender and non-binary people. “Some trans men/non-binary people menstruate. As do cis women who despise overly feminine products,” tweeted Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN. “Cis women who can’t menstruate and trans women are harmed by the assumption that menstruation defines femininity. Less ink for printing better for the planet. This is a win all around.”