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Always Ditches Female Symbol From Packaging To Include Trans And Non-Binary People

The sanitary product brand Always has announced it will no longer include female symbolism on its packaging in an effort to be more inclusive of its trans and non-binary customers, CNN reported.

While many users have applauded the company for its show of support for the LGBTQ+ community, others have condemned Always for supposedly erasing the female gender in the process.

The Venus symbol — a circle sitting on top of a cross — has historically been used to represent the female gender.

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Always has featured this very symbol on their packaging for a few years, which some people have said alienates trans and gender-nonconforming customers who can also experience menstruation.

"Could someone from Always tel me why it is imperative to have the female symbol on their sanitary products?" Twitter user Melly Broom wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "There are non-binary and trans folks who still need to use your products too you know!"

In response to the mounting criticsm, Always' parent company, Procter & Gamble, has announced the symbol will be discontinued starting in December.

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"For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so," the company said in a statement. "We're also committed to diversity & inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers."

For some transgender and non-binary individuals, menstruation can be a dysphoric experience.

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And, according to Steph deNormand, the Trans Health Program manager at Fenway Health, seeing "female-coded" imagery on sanitary products can increase that dysphoria, as well as dissuade people from purchasing those products.

"Using less coded products can make a huge difference," she told NBC News. "Trans and non-binary folks are constantly misgendered, and a gesture like this can broaden out the experiences and open up spaces for those who need the products."

The decision to redesign Always' packaging has many people commending the brand's commitment to inclusion.

Canadian OB-GYN and author of The Vagina Bible, Dr. Jen Gunter, tweeted to her followers, "They are menstrual or period products, not feminine products."

She later added that sanitary products is also incorrect terminology, "as having a period does not make you unsanitary."

Other Twitter users have said they never even noticed the female symbol in the first place and couldn't care less about its removal.

While it does have its supporters, the design change certainly has its critics, too.

As the advocacy group Trans Actual pointed out on Twitter, some people have come forward and accused Always of attempting to "erase" the female gender by removing the Venus symbol.

It seems a majority of the critics don't understand that many transgender men can still menstruate.

This person expressed their misguided belief that only women have ovaries, prompting others to respond that trans men also have ovaries and thus also have periods, which means they, too, need menstruation products.

"Ovaries don't define gender," one person wrote.

Others claim Always is attempting to redirect their attention after a recent scandal broke, accusing the brand's products of causing diseases.

According to BBC Africa, social media users have claimed Always sells a lower-quality hygeine product in Kenya, leading to skin problems and Batholin cysts.

One Twitter user wrote, "After research, I found how to make pads scented they were using toxic dioxins that causes cancer and other problems."

Always has since denied these claims.

Some are so outraged by the new product design that they've called for a boycott of Always.

"Why are [corporations] so willing to alienate their core demographic at the drop of a hat because a few people tell them that recognizing female biology is 'exclusionary'" one Twitter user implored.

Another added, "It's truly pathetic that trans people feel so threatened by women, they go to extraordinary lengths to harass, intimidate, and bully companies into erasing female signs."

LGBTQ+ activists and allies have publicly responded those individuals demanding a boycott of the brand Always.

"I'm wondering if the 'gender critical' anti-trans lobbyists currently threatening to boycott @Always will also be boycotting @bodyform and @Carefree for not having the Venus symbol on their wrappers?" this Twitter user wrote. "We see their complaints for what they are — blatant transphobia."

h/t: CNN

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