Minnesota state representative Rep. Sandra Feist (D), made a controversial statement last week during a hearing for a bill that would require schools to provide menstrual products in school bathrooms, according to The Post Millennial.
The representative opposed an amendment to House File 44 that sought to add the word “female” to the bill, stating “not all students who menstruate are female.”
Feist argued that it is important to ensure that all students have access to these products, regardless of their gender identity, and explained that this was taken into account when calculating the cost of the bill and funding it.
Feist also mentioned that many schools are transitioning towards gender-neutral bathrooms and that adding the word “female” to the bill would make it “obsolete very quickly.”
She emphasized that providing menstrual products in all student bathrooms is especially important for students “who are not female who menstruate” as they face a greater stigma and barrier to obtaining these products.
The congresswoman’s statement has been met with resistance, with reports of students feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in the mixed-sex spaces and parents taking legal action to ensure their children have access to single-sex bathrooms and changing rooms.
Despite these concerns, gender-neutral bathrooms have been introduced in schools all over the US and Canada as a way to accommodate students who believe themselves to be members of the opposite sex, The Post Millennial notes.
Feist concluded her speech by encouraging the committee to vote against the amendment for “practical, financial, social [and] emotional” reasons and reiterated that it is important for all students to have access to menstrual products, regardless of their gender identity.