Having an issue where the start synchronizing menu item in the replication monitor is grayed out for users who have repl_monitor permissions in the distribution database. The weird thing is that it worked for all users for as far back as I can remember and now it just decided to stop working for seemingly random people. I can also create a new user with repl_monitor permission in the distribution database and the menu item does not appear grayed out. Anyone else experience this?

As per books online repl_monitor role can only do following:

View replication activity, errors, and history using Replication Monitor. A user cannot modify agent profiles, schedules, and so on, unless the user is a member of the sysadmin server role.

Did you try to start synchronizing using tsql which will give the appropriate privilege error?

Reference:

Security Role Requirements for Replication

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    You can also set up a user to do replication by adding them to the distribution database and giving them replmonitor role – Paul May 3 at 17:32

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