Target is asked for gender neutral period products.

Consumers Ask Target For Gender Neutral Menstrual Product Categories

Could the next step for trans inclusion at Target be gender neutral categories for menstrual products? One consumer asked the store to give it consideration, and the request has snowballed in a matter of hours, with hundreds piling on, adding likes or comments to support the idea, offering to contact Target by phone and sharing the post to call for more support.

Target stores were the center of controversy last year after the company moved to make transgender customers more comfortable by reiterating and reinforcing store policy that customers should use the bathrooms and fitting rooms that align with their identity and make them feel safe.

The announcement was, of course, a response to North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill and those proposed in other states, which defined a person’s gender by the sex assigned at birth and required certain institutions to enforce segregation of locker rooms, changing areas, and toilets, based on that designation. While some stores posted signs such as the one below, Target released an official statement to welcome customers to use the restroom matching gender identity.

Target: gender neutral tampons requested of retailer behind trans friendly bathrooms
[Image by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images]

Despite opposition, Target stood strong and refused to back down on the policy — leading at least one customer to consider the chain a solid starting point for de-gendering menstrual products.

It’s typical in retail settings to see tampons, menstrual pads, and other related products placed under a sign for “feminine hygiene” or “feminine products.” However, gendered language is gradually changing, beginning to be more inclusive of trans individuals. A separate, but related instance is shown by the Midwives Alliance of North America, when that organization expressed support for expanding the gender-specific language of defining those who give birth as women, to include more gender neutral phrases such as “all pregnant and birthing people” and to promote

“…welcoming of transgender, genderqueer and intersex people into safe, culturally sensitive, shame-free reproductive health care.”

With regard to Target specifically, aside from making their bathroom policy trans-inclusive, the company has supported a gender neutral policy in the toy section, moving from defining specific toys as being uniquely for boys or girls.

With Target showing support both for trans rights and for gender neutral labeling in other parts of the store, a Canadian customer may have picked the right retailer to address in asking for gender-free labeling of menstrual products.

“It would make me and many other like me super thrilled if you would replace the word ‘feminine’ with ‘menstrual’ or if you worry that would be to ‘icky’ for the masses, you could go with ‘period.'”

While Target has as yet posted no public response, the customer base is piling on, with additional entreaties to the chain.

“This is such a great idea. I know I’ve sent a lot of emails and letters to companies about this. It’s a small thing that makes their store more inclusive and shows that they really care about their transgender and intersex customers.”

“Menstrual works for me. Its a good idea.”

“I agree 100%, as a trans man it’s hard to see everyone linking menstruation to being a woman.”

Numerous others have added clarification that many trans men menstruate, many women do not, and many nonbinary people also do. That is, some feminine people do not need these supplies, and many non-feminine people do — making, customers say, the label inaccurate at best, and by some views, exclusionary. Though there are detractors, it’s clear there is a customer base who would prefer a gender neutral labeling instead of the binary and gendered ‘feminine.’

The call for gender-neutral labeling has also made it to other social media platforms.

It isn’t just Target, either — on Twitter, consumers are contacting Always, Kotex, and Tampax — major brands of period products, asking for more gender neutral options in a line of products that tends to be marketed in a very gendered way.

Target -- gender neutral hygiene aisles
[Image by dstaerk/iStock]

Kotex has even responded, saying they will take the suggestions into consideration to make all customers comfortable, regardless of gender identity.

The growing number of shares, likes, and comments, along with consumers agreeing to contact Target Corporate offices by phone or email, are by no means a guarantee that the chain will acquiesce to the request. However, the voices of hundreds of customers may be enough to net some response.

Should Target, the company that has been very visible in trans inclusion, be the first chain to re-label menstrual supply aisles in a gender neutral way?