Yup, you read that title correctly.
Florida Republicans are pushing a series of bills on gender and diversity that are set to become law, including a sexual health bill proposed by GOP lawmaker Stan McClain. The bill would prohibit girls from discussing their menstrual cycles in school, prompting criticism from feminist advocates. During a hearing, state Rep. Ashley Gantt questioned McClain on whether the proposed legislation would prohibit young girls from discussing their periods in school, to which he responded that it would. McClain later clarified that his bill would not intend to punish girls who approached teachers with questions about their menstrual cycle. Despite blowback from critics, including the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, McClain’s bill passed on a party-line vote.
The proposed legislation is part of a broader wave of Republican-sponsored bills that could transform K-12 and higher education in Florida. Some of the bills would require teachers to use pronouns matching children’s sex assigned at birth and eliminate college majors in gender studies. Other legislation would cut diversity efforts at universities, strengthen parents’ ability to veto K-12 class materials, and extend a ban on teaching about gender and sexuality.
Restricting young girls from discussing their periods in school is an egregious measure that ignores the realities of women’s health. The bill’s proposal to teach that reproductive roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable is also outdated and dismissive of the many gender identities and expressions that exist. These bills represent a power grab by Florida’s political leaders and threaten to limit educators’ ability to provide honest and comprehensive instruction to their students.