Friends of Changing The Flow,
I spoke to the budget committee at the city of Cambridge, Ontario today. Here is what I said:
I am delegating before this city of Cambridge budget committee to request that you include menstrual products in the city's facilities budget, in a manner similar to the way toilet paper and soap are provided and funded as part of the basic requirements of maintaining washrooms in city-owned buildings.
Research reports from our region and across the country consistently show two findings:
One: Almost everyone who menstruates has gotten their period in public when they were not prepared.
If this is not something that you can relate to, I ask you to imagine being in public and needing to go to the washroom and not finding any toilet paper, or soap to wash your hands. This would be considered unacceptable.
The solution would not be that we would tell you to be prepared in the future and to carry toilet paper and soap with you at all times, just in case. The solution, as we all know, is for the building operator to provide toilet paper and soap.
I hope you all agree that toilet paper and soap should not be budget items up for discussion, though I would respectfully submit that if menstrual products are to be excluded from washroom facilities, the same reasoning should be applied to toilet paper and soap.
Two: The majority of people think that public spaces should provide period products in their washrooms.
People who menstruate, which include women, girls, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming members of our community should be able to fully participate in the public space without being penalized for living in a menstruating body.
Though I do not menstruate, I fully support. I fully, fully support the city in funding and providing period products in city washrooms, just like toilet paper.
I am deeply humbled to share space with the other delegates supporting free menstrual products, many of whom spoke from deeply vulnerable and personal places.
-kevin hiebert he/him