Ron DeSantis Criticized Over FL Proposal to Collect Athletes Menstrual Cycles.


Joe Raedel

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference after reported claims circulating on social media that DeSantis is requiring all female student-athletes in Florida to provide detailed information about their menstrual cycles.

Makenzie Pent, Reporter

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finds himself again mired in controversy due to a new recommendation by DeSantis’s allies which proposes collecting menstruation data on high school athletes that could expose students’ abortions and gender identities. In order to participate in organized sports, a new law that was up for ratification demanded that all female student-athletes in the state provide specific details about their periods. Even though DeSantis did not make the suggestion, many are still condemning it because they believe it might be used as a weapon against female or transgender athletes.

Currently in the state, an “optional” question about menstrual cycles is included on a physical form given to female high school athletes. The latest idea, however, suggests requiring female athletes to respond to the question or risk having their participation in sports jeopardized. The revised form would have four mandatory questions about menstruation, including if the student has ever had a period, the age they had their first period, the date of their most recent period and how many periods they’ve had in the past year.

The recommendation comes from an advisory committee to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) which is a private, non-profit organization and therefore not governed by DeSantis’ office. While the governor does not nominate any of the association’s board members, he did personally choose the commissioner for education who did.

No final decision has been made on the mandate (the recommendation will be considered by the full board during a meeting held in the upcoming months), but critics have already voiced fierce opposition, particularly as the move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade and after DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender student athletes from participating in female sporting events at public schools.

“There is absolutely no foundation for the claim that their advice is intended to address a specific group of individuals,” Kellie Doucette, the FHSAA spokeswoman said when asked if the suggested rule is in reaction to the ban on transgender athletes. The people behind the revision say it’s an act of health and is only there to protect athletes saying, “Menstrual dysfunction is 2-3 times more common in athletes than nonathletes, and 10-15% of female athletes have amenorrhea (loss of menstrual cycle) or oligomenorrhea (a decrease in number of menstrual cycles per year),” the guidelines read. “Amenorrhea occurs more frequently in players of sports that emphasize leanness, such as running, gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, and figure skating.” But many disagree seeing the move as discriminatory; a way to separate trans athletes from the other athletes within the sport.

Not all are convinced, though. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten took to Twitter to call the move “dystopian” and “creepy,” writing: “Forcing girls to detail their menstruation to their schools, to the state, should scare everyone.” The questions to be mandated in Florida, the information about a teenaged athlete’s menstrual cycle wouldn’t be entrusted to medical professionals, but to schools themselves.

As the revision of the form is still being looked at and in the process of being accepted, many worry about the affects this will have on athletes if it is to be accepted. Due to it still being considered nothing definite can be said about the aftereffects of it for female and trans athletes.