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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Archives collects trans- affirming tampon dispenser

Recently, the tampon dispenser in one of the single-stall bathrooms on the first floor of the library, a site of uplifting pro-transgender sentiments, was defaced with transphobic statements. Library staff documented said statements and filed a Bias Eduation & Response Team (BERT) report, but the library leadership and inclusivity team decided an additional response was necessary.

This was not the first time the tampon dispenser was defaced with prejudiced statements. However, the dispenser has also stood for a time as a site of joy and appreciation by and for trans individuals on campus. With the goal to document and preserve the experience of trans individuals on campus in 2024, the team made the decision to remove the dispenser, which has not actually been functional for a long time, and move it to the care of the Archives & Special Collections. The tampon dispenser is an important example of trans individuals on this campus sharing their love for their community and asserting their belonging in this space.

At noon on April 15, the Archives hosted a Preservation Ceremony in which the dispenser was formally added to their collection. Students were able to add their own messages to the dispenser before it as put into the Archives.

Malinda Triller, Special Collections Librarian, emphasized that the Dickinson community should know that the removal is not to hide away a site of trans joy on campus, but to preserve it for the future of the school. Any student is welcome in the Archives for any reason, and the Archives hosts a large collection of LGBTQ+ items in collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Services in Harrisburg, which the dispenser will join, and which also includes items like protest posters, clothing, music, and more. 

Even so, the tampon dispenser is a unique item in the Archives—there are few examples of student graffiti in the Archives. The Archives urges students and other members of the Dickinson community to donate their own items, in order that their own stories be preserved.

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  • C

    class of 2017Apr 24, 2024 at 9:07 pm

    an absolute shame these boys cannot behave themselves. as a trans alum i am incredibly disappointed to see that things have not changed on campus since i graduated. this is why we can’t have nice things.