A bill passed Monday by Chile's Lower House using the expression menstruating person to refer to biologically female individuals regardless of their own gender perception has sparked controversy nationwide and across the region on social media, it was reported.
The bill, now forwarded to the Senate for full approval, states that persons with menstruation capacity are entitled to the right to a free and dignified menstrual management. It also underlines that the State ”must support, favor and promote public policies that generate its adequate exercise (of menstruation). The initiative seeks to facilitate the right of access to menstrual management products subject to quality control, among other issues.
Several female lawmakers have endorsed the bill arguing that the concept of 'menstruating person' includes any human being who is in a menstruating situation, which includes transgender or non-binary people who also menstruate.
A tweet from UN Women using the same expression to include transgender people also caused the same effect. The Chilean bill does not contain the word woman in its text, raising criticism everywhere.
The proposed legislation also sets guidelines to ensure the quality and safety of items while promoting the use of sustainable products. It also favors the implementation of programs to inform, truthfully and adequately, about menstruation and its links to health which is something the State needs to encourage, including the training of education professionals on these contents, among other obligations.
Deputies Mercedes Bulnes, Lorena Pizarro, Marisela Santibáñez, Erika Olivera, Daniela Serrano and Carolina Tello supported the initiative. They claim that the concept of menstruating person includes any human being who is in a menstruating situation and therefore the word person was the appropriate expression in order to preserve a sense of humanity and respect for diversity.
Congresswoman Chiara Barchiesi wondered on social media What kind of bill for women omits the incorporation of the term woman? We are facing a bill of ideological character, to the point of omitting the word woman. The very name of the bill refuses to recognize scientific evidence and, at the same time, human nature. Other lawmakers opposing the bill claimed queer neo-language was being endorsed, thus turning the Parliamentarian debate into an ideological issue and insisted the State has more important things to take care of.”