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City Commission votes to put free menstrual products in both male and female City restrooms

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – At their General Policy Committee meeting this afternoon, the Gainesville City Commission directed the City Manager to put pads and tampons in all City-owned restrooms, both male and female.

Commissioner Reina Saco championed the issue and introduced the agenda item, saying this is part of “conversations of how to best expand what the City does surrounding healthcare. Healthcare is not generally our first lane, so to speak, but we do look for ways to… make sure everyone stays healthy and has the dignity of care that they deserve as humans. So I think this is one small way we can enhance public health for our community.”

Morgan Spicer, the Interim Policy Oversight Administrator, gave a presentation on “Providing No-Cost Sanitary Products in Municipal Bathrooms,” saying that “Access to sanitary products, including menstrual hygiene items… has become a globally recognized public health topic due to cost and access inequality.” 

The presentation stated that menstrual products cost an average of $300 per year. The presentation also cited a 2019 study that said 64% of low-income study participants were unable to afford menstrual hygiene products during the previous year and that 37% of students surveyed by Women’s Reproductive Health said they have missed school due to a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products. 

Potential advantages to the policy were listed as benefiting lower-income neighbors due to the cost of sanitary products, making restroom necessities more accessible to neighbors, and helping to stop the spread of blood-borne pathogens and diseases.

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Potential disadvantages were listed as difficulty in finding adequate, cost-efficient sources of products, additional work for restroom managers, potential environmental impacts, and potential misuse of sanitary products provided in restrooms. 

A second presentation, “An Argument for Free Menstrual Products in City Bathrooms,” was given by Riley Moon. As Saco introduced Moon, she asked others to “be respectful of their pronouns, which are they/them… and make that effort to make them feel comfortable at City Hall.”

The presentation states that 52% of the people living in Gainesville are “assigned female at birth” and then uses poverty rates to estimate that 18,600 people in Gainesville “experience period poverty.”

Another slide estimated the cost of menstrual products, stating that an average box of tampons usually contains 36 tampons for $13; the slide says that comes to $2 per tampon, but it’s actually 36 cents per tampon. Walmart (which has locations near areas with low-income populations in Gainesville), sells 18 super absorbency tampons for $3.17, or 17 cents per tampon. Even organic tampons are only 38 cents per tampon at Walmart. Brand-name (Tampax) regular absorbency tampons are 18 cents per tampon. 

Using those inflated numbers, the slide computes $41 per cycle for menstrual products. The cost at Walmart would be $3.57 per cycle or $42.84 per year.

The presentation offered counters to the disadvantages listed above; the counter to the potential misuse of sanitary products was, “We live in society that stigmatizes the menstrual cycle. We need to start the normalization process and the only way to do this is to start.” The presentation proposed a pilot program with products being offered in restrooms at 6 City parks.

Saco said people have told her privately that “this is just some women’s fad issue, and I very politely said that this is an issue for people who menstruate, not necessarily for women.”

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos supported the pilot plan and suggested adding the MLK Center, Bo Diddley Plaza, and City pools.

Commissioner Harvey Ward said he was “Totally in support… We don’t ask people to bring their own soap to the bathroom. We don’t ask people to bring their own toilet paper to the bathroom. I don’t know why we ask people to bring their own menstrual products to the bathroom.” He said instead of starting with a pilot, the City should “treat it as any other restroom supply in municipal restrooms.”

Commissioner David Arreola said he also supported a full roll-out to all municipal restrooms.

Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry estimated that the policy would require a one-time cost of about $20,000 to outfit all the restrooms and about $2,000-$5,000 annually to restock the restrooms. She said the money is not currently in the budget.

Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut said she would prefer a pilot, but “many, many restaurants” provide menstrual products in their restrooms already, and “We know that the restaurant model works; it works today, and it’s been going on for years.”

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos also supported a full roll-out.

Mayor Lauren Poe agreed with Ward that “This just simply needs to be a sort of baseline amenity… in all of our public restrooms… I just cannot think of a reason to not do it.”

Saco was delighted at the enthusiasm for a full roll-out and started to make a motion asking the City Manager to come back with a plan, but Curry said no plan was necessary; she could “just do it,” as Poe said.

So Saco made a motion to go ahead and put menstrual products in City-owned restrooms, “and I do mean all, not only women’s restrooms.”

During public comment, Gracia Fernandez said the conversation can be a bit awkward to have: “If I, born as a female, assigned a uterus when I was born, decided to transition into a male-expressing person, I will still have a period, and I will use the men’s bathroom but will still have a period. So it complicates the conversation when we try to gender it. And it’s not just a women/female-assigned-at-birth issue; it’s for dads who have teenage daughters, whose wives are out of town and need to go pick up a quick tampon for their kid… It’s for kids whose period started with no warning in the middle of the day at school and just need to take a quick detour to the park.”

The motion passed unanimously.

    • i am sorry to say yes you made a mistake. cheer up i think UF is on the Russian nuke list!

    • Yep, crime and utility rates way too much trouble to deal with. Let’s go straight to males possibly being “on the rag” too. Definitely a white fat and a white skinny commissioner that may need these. No reason to look at taxes or resolve to get taxes and fees lower, our thing hurts and bleeds. Please help mommy government!!! PS Nancy P says it’s ok.

  • Doing their part to minimize the use of fossil fuels.

    Poe and Ward won’t have to go far to attend to their womanly parts when they hurt.

  • So somebody can’t afford $43.00 a year? Oh Wait when Poeville touches it that price goes to $300.00 a year. What a strange group of leaders the sheeple of Poeville keep electing them, they, it . Poe is running away ,and I hope Fat Harvey gets fired. Where did they find Psyhco?

  • Safe to say we know it isn’t only hearts that are bleeding with the current batch of liberal leaders.

  • Probably could afford them if they didn’t spend all their welfare check on dope, liquor and fast food.

    Also youre gonna tell me that girl trannies pretending to be men can afford a full f*ckboy wardrobe and bathing themselves in cologne everyday but can’t afford their own tampons?

  • It’s encouraging to see that they aren’t wasting their time on unimportant issues like road maintenance and crime reduction.

    • Road maintenance? Gun violence and crime?
      How disrespectful of you to bring up such a insensitive topic when we have way more important issues like menstrual products in ALL bathrooms!

      As I drive up NE 7th street and my fillings are being jarred out of my mouth, I’ll shut up and be respectful, knowing tampons are in ALL City bathrooms.

  • Another pending disaster brought to you by the liberal lunatics.

    Can’t get people to follow laws and regulations about jaywalking, traffic lights and gun possession and they think they can prevent people from flushing feminine hygiene products down the toilet?

    It’s way past time to flush this batch of liberal lunatics down the toilet.

  • The reason it’s a “global policy” is human traffickers force teen girls to use the men’s rooms with kidnappers, pimps and migrant mules around the world. Gainesville is in tune with globalists who push nonsense and aid criminals.

    The obsession with equity has gotten so one sided it’s ridiculous. “Women are forced to get pregnant” is a common refrain after SCOTUS Dobbs-Roe ruling. But women aren’t drafted in the military, aren’t forced to work to support a child a woman decides to keep, and women live 10-15 yrs longer than men. Where’s the “equity” there?

  • Can’t wait to hear about the imaginative ways that the he/his/him’ers invent to have some saucy fun with these devices so uselessly dispensed in their restrooms.

  • I find it really disingenuous that they keep spending money on stuff like this when they have no idea where the finances of the City stand. Hasn’t it been over 3 years since the auditor gave the City a clean report?

  • Women are competent to provide for their own tampons, just as blackpeople are competent to get an ID and register to vote. It’s been a topic of discussion on Reddit… Women don’t expect single men to keep tampons on hand; many of them find it weird if they do.

  • I consider myself to be pretty liberal but this is quite absurd, even to me. I do think these products would be nice to have at food banks or homeless shelters but they need to be donated by the companies that produce them. Feminine hygiene products have become expensive, especially for low income and I don’t believe can be purchased with EBT cards. Stocking public restrooms with them is just going to create a situation where a single person will help themselves to all of them. Please focus on the issues that are important. I’m going to wrap my bleeding heart in toilet paper if I can’t afford a pad and possibly start voting differently.

    • Welfare is a lot more than ebt. Each one of these people get a social worker assigned at birth to make sure they get in as many programs and as much welfare as possible. Not only that, but most state jobs are just a jobs program specifically for them.

  • These people have nothing better to do than virtue signal.
    If a biological woman needs a tampon, she can go into the women’s restroom and get one. Good grief.

  • Is it just me or does the math here not add up at all? A box cost $13 for 36 tampons and that equals $2 per tampon? Wouldn’t that mean a box should cost around $72? I’ll just keep watching the comments lol.

    • The article pointed out the hypocrisy of the wildly inflated and inaccurate math. You might go back and read the article that provides WalMart comparisons to the BS numbers in the presentation given by the pronoun sensitive they/them/confused person who was assigned a uterus at birth and feels entitled to a free tampon in the Clownsville 🤡 men’s room. Only in Clownsville.

    • The Gainesville City Commission is out of touch with reality.
      It’s pretty obvious they know nothing about math. This is just the latest example…

  • Theythem can’t do math worth a darn. Not surprising since Saco can’t either.

  • I cannot wait for superglue & what teen boys will have to say with this one. Go woke or FO. You get what your bitch voted.

  • I guess they’re all losing their minds with the Red Tsunami approaching at full speed. You guys should be sensitive to the fact that the they/them person might go into an emotional tailspin and decide to kill itself at any moment. Just pretend the math is correct; I’m sure that’s what Saco was thinking. 4 + 4 = 32, and men menstruate and can have babies.

  • Unbelievable. What kind of idiots live in G.ville, anyway, to vote these clowns onto a public position and paid from your private wallets? These totally confused-don’t-know-the-difference-between-M&F peeps-need to be voted out & given a good dose of DeSantis common sense.

  • This is irresponsible and dangerous. As a mother of a daughter this makes me extremely uncomfortable. Young girls should not be using tampons without the education behind it. Toxic shock syndrome is real. TSS is caused by leaving a tampon in too long. Young girls need to be taught how to use tampons correctly. Many moms only allow their young daughters to use pads because they’re not responsible enough to make sure tampons are not left in too long. Now they will be available at all of the city parks/playgrounds where children play. This is reckless.

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