Young women (especially in the society that we currently live in) have to learn growing up to “hide” their periods. This should never be the case. All females, transgender, and gender-fluid persons need to embrace what we are given and feel supported and comfortable. And in the bathrooms, with accessible female hygiene products, is a start.
I am a current senior at Somerville High School (MA), whose identity as a woman takes main priority for my well-being. I have had to learn the experiences of being uncomfortable in certain situations as I leave class to use the bathroom for four years. As I was sitting in class trying to look for a tampon in my bag a few weeks ago, I had to ask to get a pass to the nurse’s office so that I could use the bathroom. With the male teacher looking at me—coupled with the rest of the students in class—I had to speak code that I was on my period just so that I could approval to use the bathroom.
As I was walking down to the nurse’s office, I kept asking myself: Why do we only have tampons and pads stored in the nurse’s office? Why is not openly available in the location we need it right away: the bathrooms?
At that moment, I felt…ashamed. Uncomfortable. That I needed to tuck away my body.
Then—as I thought of the recent flow of news of women’s marches, legislation impacting my transgender classmates, older adults contemplating my health care—I began to think about those in my school who probably felt as I did walking down the hallway at that moment.
I was right. There were many—one too many.
That is when I, and two other female seniors, decided to take action. We posted petitions in the bathrooms, which were quickly filled up. We researched and shot a campaign video to promote our goal.
It is a story worth sharing; worth making into a reality. It was always the hope that, such insights and advocacy would educate any human how to empathize. For us, this is our way on how, as young people—optimistic of their self-worth—could show that the necessity of providing readily comfort in the bathrooms for all lives, could not wait. Period.
Senior Class of 2017 at Somerville High School