Brisbane Period Project

[CN: Domestic violence mention, sexism]

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own” – Audre Lorde

Every day, there are womyn and trans men (lots of them escaping domestic violence), sleeping on the streets or in short-term emergency accommodation. For the past few months, I’ve been volunteering with Brisbane Period Project (BPP). BPP makes 5-day packs filled with pads, tampons, hand-sanitizers and other sanitary items to last an entire period. These packs are distributed to organisations in touch with the women and transmen experiencing homelessness. They shouldn’t have to choose between being hungry or bleeding out.

During this time, I’ve felt upset, challenged, and angry at how a lot womyn still don’t have access to basic needs. I thought about things I’d never before considered. For instance, I never wondered about how homeless womyn dealt with their period. I didn’t think about how homelessness is more than houselessness. I didn’t think about the many complex issues that cause homelessness, and the consequential issues. We dehumanise homeless people so much that we forget even going to the toilet can be a huge inconvenience or danger.

Menstrual hygiene technology hasn’t developed much in the past century – our needs are forced into the background as making life easier and more sustainable for us isn’t profitable. I’ve been looking into menstrual cups and I’ve tried some reusable menstrual hygiene products and I thought I was privileged to be able to even try these things. But I realised it’s not privilege – it’s a right, a basic need which many womyn are still deprived of. Though I am living quite comfortably, I can’t let this result in complacency. It’s an opportunity to lend a hand. It’s not fair that our uteruses have rendered me and my sisters second-class.

IMG_7528.JPG

“Sometimes sisterhood is quiet and more in between the lines: when you belong to a marginalised group, you automatically even if subconsciously align and position yourself with that group, and depend on it. Therefore, I cannot separate girl friendship from Survival against oppression and patriarchy. It is a force so unequivocally Powerful that it has survived an immeasurable amount of oppression throughout history and is continuously reclaimed.” – Rowan Blanchard.

In the first two weeks of collection I promised to match every donation (within my means). I ended up living off a few dollars for the last few days, and although this was hard, it wasn’t long-term, and I had the security of my next payslip. Every day I carried bags of pads/ tampons home and it made me so happy and grateful. Thank you so much to all my chums, friends of friends and strangers who donated. We now have 1460 pads, 1432 tampons and 9 bags of treats ready for packing day. To put these into a more meaningful number, more than 190 womyn will be able to deal with their period this month with a few less worries. 190 individuals!!! This is so great and worth celebrating hehe, but let’s also remember that they’ll need more next month. So whenever you have some spare change or are doing your shopping, throw in an extra pack of pads/ tampons.

JPEG image-13D55F63829B-1.jpegJPEG image-2BB685A37444-1.jpeg

IMG_7450.JPG

*Edit – How to get involved

You can contact Brisbane Period Project through Facebook message. They will give you details about your closest drop-off location in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast. There is also Melbourne Period Project,  Sydney Period Project, Geelong Period Project, Murray Region Period Project, and Gippsland Period Project. Even if you can’t help through donations, share the pages and their posts!

 

 

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Brisbane Period Project

  1. As a man who sometimes wears pads I often feel guilty I wear them when it’s not Eco-friendly, now I have to consider the poor people who don’t have access to them too 😦 oh god, what a good cause

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, Tom 🙂 Definitely! At one stage I was thinking about maybe donating menstrual cups or cloth pads, but people experiencing homelessness who are sleeping rough do not have access to clean water, electricity and regular access to toilets. They are unable to access public toilets at night largely due to security and distance and are therefore unable to safely dispose of their biological waste. Also cleaning the cups proves to be very difficult as public toilet sinks would be the only place to rinse/clean them and this leads to a whole other problems of blood waste being left where people wash their hands making it a public health safety issue.

      Did you hear about the guy in India who made a fake uterus and engineered a pad-making machine? People in India now have better access to pads and this is sooo great but now they’re dealing also with a huge waste issue. I guess we need to take a step at a time.

      Like

      • Wow there’s so much to this issue I’m learning about! I’ve worn pads on and off for 10 years nearly, I should be more clued up. Do you know if any pad brands are more eco-friendly than others?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah! I’ve been menstruating for 6 years now and I’ve only come across these ideas this year. From what I know, organic pads are the most “eco-friendly” disposable option. They’re usually biodegradable and don’t use bleach or chemicals to process the cotton (this pollutes our water). But looking at the bigger picture, they need to be shipped using airplanes or trucks which also contributes to feel waste. So even though they are disposable and therefore wasteful, they are less harmful to the environment than normal disposables (and much more comfortable).

        Like

      • I mean, I don’t even menstruate being a cis man but I just enjoy wearing a pad from time to time. I know it’s bad of me, perhaps I need to research some more. What normal pads were you using originally? If that’s not too personal!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry I didn’t see your comment until now! Usually, I use disposable pads that my mum bought in bulk from Taiwan. I use a cloth pad at night and sometimes during the day when I’m at home. I have really long uni days and it’s a bit of an inconvenience to carry around heaps of soiled pads with me. I know it’s not a good excuse so I think I’ll start looking into menstrual cups! I also have some period-undies that I wear in the last few days to avoid using pads.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah cool you’re from Taiwan? I’ve just come back from living in China! Tell me if you feel uncomfortable discussing pads with a guy but I just need to ask. Regarding normal disposable pads do you get wings or no wings?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Tom! Sorry about the late reply, I run two blogs and am more often signed in on the other. My family’s from China but we live in Australia 🙂 My mum went to Taiwan a while back for a holiday and that’s when she bought them! She also has friends in Taiwan that ship them over to us in a huge package because even with the shipping, it works out cheaper?? I’m not uncomfortable at all, feel free to ask away! I use wings because I find it secures better and also doesn’t bunch up/ lift off the sides in the middle area. I’m generally paranoid that I’ll have leakage if I wear non-wings.

      Like

      • May I follow your other blog too? Are your family from the mainland of China? I miss it so much! I like wings too! We have Always in the UK, do you guys use this brand? (Thanks for not judging a guy who wears pads btw!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sure, it’s actually a zine my friend and I have started: http://www.thepompomzineblog.com

        And yep my family is from mainland China. I’ve visited a few times when I was younger so I didn’t really appreciate it, but it would be nice to visit again.

        I don’t think we have Always in Australia. The most popular brands would be Libra or U by Kotex I think!
        I also think it’s so cool that you’re openly talking about using pads and it’s a compliment that you’ve chosen to engage with me

        Liked by 1 person

      • Followed! You’re vegans or did I just catch one of the tags and jump to a wrong conclusion? Oops. Ah cool do you know which part of the mainland? Views on tampons? I wouldn’t talk so openly in real life about it, it’s a secret – online I am far more open with my secret feminine side/what I wear and use for girls.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks 🙂
        Yep, I’m vegan. It’s a bit difficult because meat is so valued in Chinese culture. I’m actually writing about it soon!

        They’re from Fu-zhien (I think that’s how you spell it?)
        Views on tampons hey.. Well I’ve never tried them simply because I had always been given pads and everyone in my family only uses pads. I’m a bit apprehensive about trying though. I don’t know if it’s because of how I was raised or another reason. In Chinese culture it’s discouraged because of the insertion and value on virginity before marriage. To my understanding, most young girls do not use tampons and this doesn’t really change even after marriage, birth etc.

        Like

  4. That’s great, I’m a vegetarian and 5 months in China wasn’t always easy – even though they have loads of nice vegetables and tofu they often couldn’t understand why I didn’t want meat – excited to read your post on that!

    Again regarding Chinese culture – my girlfriend struggled to find tampons in China but pads were everywhere! I’ve tried tampons too, they don’t work well with the male body (no surprise there!). I’m always keen to try new feminine things (but usually things that are easily hidden e.g. pads), any suggestions? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s