West Hollywood, an LGBTQ haven, will soon have free tampons available to its residents — a resource that is long overdue, according to lesbian video producer Jenner Deal.
Deal was the driving force behind the new measure. She drew attention to the double standard at play: West Hollywood has long distributed free condoms, but never tampons.
“Why do we have free condoms and not free tampons?” Deal pointed out to NewNowNext. “It’s not okay that we have a condom budget, and we don’t invest in women’s health. Because let’s be real, the condom budget is not for women, it’s for men in West Hollywood.”
LGBTQ people make up 40% of West Hollywood’s population. But as in many gay neighborhoods, lesbians in West Hollywood are overshadowed by the gay male population. The neighborhood even has the nickname “Boystown”!
Deal joined the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board in 2018. She repeatedly pressed City Councilmember Lauren Meister on the tampon issue.
“I walk my dog by her house every morning,” Deal said. “Whenever I run would run into her, I would bring this up.”
All that hard work paid off. The West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously in favor of a six-month pilot project to make tampons available to the public for free. They’ll be in stock at City Hall and two public parks.
“Anyone who can’t afford to purchase products and happens to be at one of our public parks or at City Hall will find it available, whether its young women or people that are just out there who happen to not have a household income that makes it easy for them to purchase these products,” Meister, who drafted the proposal, told NewNowNext.
Deal, aka the “Tampon Crusader,” says the program is especially important for homeless residents who can’t afford these products.
Salt Lake City is piloting a similar program, and both New Hampshire and Massachusetts have passed measures to make tampons free in schools.