Always Pads boxes
photo: Getty Images

In an effort to be inclusive of those who don't identify as female but still have a monthly period, Always — a Procter & Gamble brand — is removing the female (Venus) symbol from its packaging. 

October is LGBTQ History Month, equally as important as Pride Month in June, and focuses on gay rights and historical moments for LGBTQ people. So it makes sense that Always would decide to market its products to all people, regardless of gender identity. Reportedly, the gender-neutral packaging for the pads will begin to enter stores in February 2020. 

The decision for Always and P&G to publicly support nonbinary and transgender men who get periods has received mixed response. Ultimately, it's in line with the company's value to be inclusive. 

First reports of activists and allies calling out Always' packaging was back in summer 2019. 

In a statement sent to NBC News, P&G wrote, “We routinely assess our products, packaging and designs, taking into account consumer feedback, to ensure we are meeting the needs of everyone who uses our products. The change to our pad wrapper design is consistent with that practice."

NBC reported that one Twitter user and advocate called out the brand, tweeting, "Could someone from Always tell me why it is imperative to have the female symbol on their sanitary products? There are nonbinary and trans folks who still need to use your products, too!"

Another activist came forward after the news broke that the pads would no longer feature the female symbol. 

One Twitter user shared that they had emailed the brand requesting the removal of the female symbol, too. The packaging on most pads for Always is hyper-feminine and features the Venus or female symbol, a circle on top of a cross. But starting in February 2020, these will be filtered out with gender-neutral packaging. 

Always celebrated National Period Day earlier this week, shortly before its announcement. 

It's so important to lift up all people who have periods, and that doesn't just mean women. Unfortunately, this decision received plenty of criticism online, with some deciding to boycott the brand. But many LGBTQ health professionals are in full support of P&G's decision. 

While the change feels small, it will be meaningful to people who already experience dysphoria. 

One person shared Refinery29's coverage and wrote, "Tbh I never noticed the symbol before, even before coming out as enby. It's a small move, but it's a good start — not all people who menstruate are women, and not all women menstruate!" 

Some of the outspoken critics are confused by the sentiment that not everyone who menstruates is a woman. Essentially transgender men and nonbinary people who are biologically female will still have monthly periods just like any cis-gender woman, but they do not identify in the same way. So this small change is a meaningful way for a huge corporation to let LGBTQ people know that they are seen. 

P&G has faced criticism before for standing up for what's right. 

In January, another P&G brand, Gillette, produced an ad that spoke out about toxic masculinity. It flipped the script on its longtime motto "The best a man can get" with "The best a man can be." Some thought the ad was against men, but ultimately it was addressing the very real issue of toxic masculinity and why all men should be feminists.