A Minnesota state representative made a bizarre speech last week during a hearing for a bill that would require schools to provide menstrual products in bathrooms, in which she claimed that “not all students who menstruate are female.”
Democrat Rep. Sandra Feist made the scientifically inaccurate statement while opposing a proposed amendment to House File 44 that sought to add the word “female” to the bill. Feist opened by saying that she encouraged the committee to vote no for “practical, financial, social [and] emotional” reasons before launching into a bewildering speech about “non-female menstruating students."
“Not all students who menstruate are female,” said the congresswoman who has a very tenuous grasp on human biology. “We need to make sure that all students have access to these products. There are obviously less [sic] non-female menstruating students and therefore their usage will be much lower and that was actually calculated into the cost of this and how much we decided to fund it.”
Heist added that “non-female menstruating students” were not expected to use these products as much as the students using the female bathrooms but nevertheless still thought it was important for the products to be provided.
Another reason Heist felt the committee should vote against the amendment was that “there are a lot of schools that are moving towards gender-neutral bathrooms and if we add female we might become obsolete very quickly.”
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. But the policy 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.
Heist concluded by saying that these students, “who are not female and who menstruate,” face a greater stigma and barrier to obtaining menstrual products so she argued that it was particularly important for the products to be available in all student bathrooms.
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