Freda, a UK-based period organic period product brand has launched Cycle, a new line of period products designed to be inclusive and raise awareness about communities who are impacted by a lack of period inclusivity. Bringing our attention to the fact that “women aren’t the only people who menstruate,” Freda has launched Cycle, a range of pads, pantyliners and tampons that shuns gendered packaging and language. When it comes to period care, the focus is generally on cisgender women, leaving out transgender and non-binary people who also menstruate. Freda affirms that, “If we really want equity, it needs to start with something as basic as period care.”
Freda has partnered with transgender and non-binary activists Kenny Ethan Jones, Jamie Raines and Siufung Law to create short awareness videos highlighting the shame and fear they’ve felt while purchasing and using period products, which are often found in hyperfeminine packaging. They share their experiences of having no access to dustbins in male washrooms to dispose their pads, an experience that Jones shares “felt very shameful.” Raines points out that the products and the language used by big brands “does not feel inclusive.” Law suggests that the major brands can be more inclusive in terms of product design and awareness campaigns.
Current published research on trans and non-binary menstruation suggests that people may experience deeply negative sentiments and discomfort about their menstruation and that menstrual management can be a source of stress and anxiety for those outside the gender/sex binary. It has also been found that one of the major causes of such discomfort and anxiety is the presence of gendered bathrooms.
As the discourse on gender equity and inclusivity in healthcare gains momentum, we urgently need to drive our attention to something as basic and biological and period care. As Raines states, “Access to inclusive and sustainable period care is a human right” and we need to appreciate Freda for its thoughtful and inclusive campaign aimed at providing sustainable and reliable period care to “everyone.”