Scotland is the first country in the world to make sanitary products free for everyone
via YWCA Scotland / Twitter

Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.

Update: The period products bill was unanimously approved by the Scottish parliament in November of 2020.

***

Period poverty is a big issue that's seldom discussed. A study of UK girls found that 15% have struggled to afford them and 19% have changed to a less suitable product due to cost.

There is also a real problem with period stigma. A recent study found that 74% of 14 to 21-year-old girls in the UK felt embarrassed buying period products.


That's why the Scottish Parliament is about to pass a law that would make it the first country in the world to make sanitary products freely available. It will give "anyone who needs them" access to products "relatively easily" with "reasonable privacy."

It will be a landmark event in the movement to make menstrual hygiene a basic human right.

The Period Products Scotland Bill was proposed by Scottish lawmaker Monica Lennon. "These are not luxury items. They are indeed essential and no one in Scotland should have to go without period products," Lennon said, adding that the bill was about "period dignity."

Under the law, products will be made available for free at pharmacies, youth centers, and community centers.

via LGBT Scotland



f


Two years ago, Scotland became the first country to make sanitary products free in all schools, colleges, and universities.

"We will continue our world-leading action promoting wider period dignity through a certification scheme to encourage organizations to provide free products," Aileen Campbell, Scotland's communities secretary, said.

Unfortunately, period products in the UK are still subject to a 5% tax. Former prime minister David Cameron was looking into eliminating it but his hands were tied due to European Union rules.

Currently, there are currently 13 countries that do not impose a tax on period products. In the U.S., there are only 15 states where sanitary products are tax-free.

Period poverty is also an issue in the United States although there's little momentum towards a free-products-for-all program.

Research by The Always Confidence and Puberty Wave VI Survey found that "nearly one in five American girls have either left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to period products."

"The fact that there are people who aren't able to afford these products, and as a result, may miss school, may miss work, face certain stigma — I think it's a human rights issue that, especially in the United States of America, women should not have to be dealing with," said Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-New York.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

RELATED: A gay couple's pride flag helped give a young teen the courage to come out to their family

One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

RELATED: A homophobic ad was placed next to a pizza shop. They messed with the wrong place.

He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.