LANSING, (WLNS) – Protesters gathered in downtown Lansing today to rally against “the pink tax”, that’s the sales tax that’s added to the price of feminine care products, like tampons and pads. Currently, there are several bills in the Michigan Legislator that would do just that. Protesters said that the removal of this sales tax is long overdue.
“Someone shouldn’t have to choose between buying groceries and buying menstrual products, buying diapers for their children, or buying menstrual products. Children should not be missing school. This only reinforces a stigma that they don’t belong in a classroom. We have to makes this change because once we do that, that’s when we have gender equity in the United States,” said Madeleine Morales, one of the speakers and organizers of the protest.
Among the crowd were protesters from Detroit and even Ohio.
“I don’t want to spend hundreds of extra dollars I don’t have to every year on a thing that I need, so it would be cool if we get that passed,” said student protester, Cassidy McElgunn.
Other speakers highlighted the impacts these unwanted taxes have on different communities.
“If you’re receiving food stamps, for example, you can’t use those for tampons. So, they have to take their minimum wage dollars and they are having to use those dollars to pay for tampons that are not an option,” said Fonda Brewer with the NAACP Lansing Chapter. “They have to take those dollars off the table to buy these products and pay a tax on it? That’s crazy,” she said.
Riley Korus is a transgender man and said he feels that his voice hasn’t been heard.
“I am a man with a uterus and there are so many people like me that are not female that go through this process that need this care,” he said.
As legislation makes its way through the capitol, he said he staying hopeful.
“On one hand, I’m so glad that it’s happening, that this process is moving forward. But it should have not existed in the first place,” Korus said.
If these bills are passed, Michigan would be the 24th state to exempt menstrual products from a sales tax. Organizers said that the next goal would be to push have schools provide the products for free.