Channel Kindness Q&A Series: Meet Juan and Taylor!By Team Fierce Reads
Channel Kindness is a collection of must-read inspirational stories from young people, with notes of empowerment by Lady Gaga. Meet Juan and Taylor, two young changemakers who are working to make our world a braver and kinder place.
Q1: As a menstrual hygiene access activist, why do you think there is still a stigma around affordable access to menstrual products for every person who menstruates?
Stigma around menstrual products shows up because the cisgender men that are in power are not the ones using this product, which they often just label as a luxury. We can see this most clearly in three different forms: the pink tax, menstrual product branding, and lack of access and waste options. The pink tax is a common way to refer to a phenomenon of gender-pricing, elevating the price of "women's products" for no reason other than gender discrimination. Menstrual product branding almost always features cisgender white women who have time to do yoga, run around, and jump on their beds, perpetuating the idea that transgender men, women of color, and all other demographics of people who menstruate are not meant for these popular product brands. Lack of public access shows up most commonly through the product dispensers in public bathrooms, many of which are permanently out of order or infrequently stocked. Waste options in public restrooms are difficult as well, with understanding that the stalls in many men's restrooms don't have a waste receptacle that people who menstruate need to use.
Q2: It’s important to note that not all people who menstruate are women. What advice would you give to other advocates and advocacy organizations to ensure they are inclusive of all menstruators?
Many people see access to menstrual products as a women's issue, and that's understandable. When privileged women grow up being devalued for their menstruation, it's easy for them to feel like this is unique to their position. Really, though, access to menstrual products is a people's issue. Not all cisgender women menstruate and not all people who menstruate are cisgender women. When we relay language that perpetuates that idea, it alienates more vulnerable people that need our support for this right. All in all, it's our job to make these accessible for all, despite any judgments based on a glance. Gatekeeping these products has absolutely no place in this movement for accessibility.
Q3: There are many different stories from young people featured in CHANNEL KINDNESS, but a major theme is the idea that kindness is transformational and can facilitate real change. What does this message mean to you and how do you apply it in your daily life?
Kindness is majorly transformational! It can be as simple as helping someone bring in their groceries or it can be a far more complicated act. For me, this is where my active listening comes in. I am attentive to the needs of those around me, even and especially when they are unable to name those needs. It's an active anticipation of ways to help improve the lives of those in my life.
Q4: What do you hope readers take away from your story? And what do you hope to accomplish next?
I hope readers leave my story with an added sense of hope, comfort, and confidence. I want all to have the knowledge that they can make real, tangible change, and that this change doesn't have to change thousands or millions of lives. Impacting one person is still kindness and change for the public good! It might sound cliché but a small drop does make waves. And as far as what is next for me, I live each day with the wish to end it as a better person that has helped more people.
Q1: What does Pride mean to you? Pride means self-love and self-acceptance. It also means speaking up against injustice. Now more than ever we need people to use their voice for proactive conversations and positivity. The LGBTQ+ Pride month originated from that sentiment, and it was so powerful because of the brave Trans Women of color who spoke up for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is more than a parade, it is a battle for one's life; it is a battle for visibility and acceptance. Q2: How has making June the official LGTBQ+ Pride Month in your city helped to change your community? Making June the official LGBTQ+ Pride month in my hometown served as a catalyst for other LGBTQ+ community members to feel safe in the environment. I know firsthand how difficult it is to grow up in a place that doesn’t acknowledge your community. I’m glad that since then, there has been growth and that proactive conversations are now being held all throughout the community. Q3: There are many different stories from young people featured in CHANNEL KINDNESS, but a major theme is the idea that kindness is transformational and can facilitate real change. What does this message mean to you and how do you apply it in your daily life? I try being kind every day, some days are harder than others. Some days, I sit around frustrated at myself and the world, but I expand my vision. I look and reflect on everything in my life, and I always find something I’m grateful for, and it always happens to surround some kind of kindness act. I genuinely believe that kindness has a ripple effect, and it can truly bring people together for a greater good. Q4: What do you hope readers take away from your story? And what do you hope to accomplish next? I hope that when people read my story, they are inspired and reminded that they too have a voice. That voice can guide them to create a positive impact in their community. Speaking up can be scary, but it is so necessary. I hope that all the young folks reading it know that there’s no age requirement in this, no matter how old one is, when you use your voice for good, everyone will listen. As for my own future direction, I hope I am able to continue operating as a vehicle for change. I hope I’m able to share more about my own lived experiences as an immigrant, as an LGBTQ+ member whether in a book or by starting my own non-profit.