Home News ‘Horrific invasion of privacy,’ ‘antebellum-esque’: 150+ weighed in on menstrual questions

‘Horrific invasion of privacy,’ ‘antebellum-esque’: 150+ weighed in on menstrual questions

‘Horrific invasion of privacy,’ ‘antebellum-esque’: 150+ weighed in on menstrual questions

Draconian. Unnecessary. Short-sighted. Revolting.

Those were the words from more than 150 people who signed up to speak their minds at Thursday’s meeting of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s board of directors where they discussed, and ultimately removed, questions about athletes’ menstrual histories from annual physical evaluation forms.

People sent in comments admonishing the board for “invading” female athletes’ privacy. Some comments compared the moves to medieval times or communist countries.

Their statements were at times profane, aggressive and personal toward the board members.

But a vast majority agreed: The FHSAA and Florida school districts should not collect menstrual data on its female athletes. Multiple groups submitted signed petitions to remove the questions, such as The National Women’s Law Center’s online campaign, which garnered more than 5,000 signspantures.

The board ultimately voted 14-2 to remove the questions from the forms. But they quietly included in the new form a field for athletes to report their “sex assigned at birth” instead of their “sex.” Board members did not address it.

Here’s some of what the public had to say about the FHSAA’s questions about menstrual history:

1. Women and girls are not ‘chattel’ to be ‘herded’ and ‘inventoried’

Michelle Cartaya from Dade City told the board of directors that the menstrual history questions were “draconian.”

Michelle Cartaya tells the Florida High School Athletic Association that asking student athletes for their menstrual history is "antebellum-esque" and "outrageous." Cartaya was among 150 people who submitted comments to the board about the questions.

2. ‘I have respect for my child and will defend her privacy and dignity at all costs’

Kyra Jacob, a school SAFE coordinator and mental health designee as well as a mother of a 6-year-old girl, is “appalled and disgusted.” She said she would never disclose her daughter’s menstrual history when she registered to play for sports or other school-related registration.

A parent of a 6-year-old girl in Florida tells the Florida High School Athletic Association there are many reasons for irregular periods in young women.

3. ‘Like something coming out of Communist China’

Several people who submitted public comments, including a woman named Kira who didn’t share her last name, chastised the board for what they called an invasion of young peoples’ privacy.

Kira, a public commenter who didn't give her last name, told the FHSAA that questions about menstrual history tear down rights to privacy as the country erodes the right to abortion.

Many comments called out the irony of a state like Florida, which champions personal freedoms, asking personal questions of residents and storing the information with public school districts.

4. Parents ask why men were making decisions about women’s bodies

Patricia McGrath of Grassy Key asked the FHSAA why men on the board of directors were making decisions about menstrual history questions asked of women.

The board is made up of 14 men and two women. The members, including four elected public school representatives, four elected private school representatives, two elected school superintendents, two elected school board members, three representatives appointed by the commissioner of education and a representative of the commissioner, are elected by FHSAA member school representatives.

The two women are Chris Patricca, a school board member from Lee County, and Brenda Longshore, superintendent of Highlands County schools.

Patricia McGrath asks the FHSAA board of directors why men are making decisions for female athletes.

5. Doctor: ‘It’s a horrific invasion of privacy’

Dr. Deborah White, an internist in Tampa, joined a handful of current and retired physicians who told the FHSAA they see no reason schools should store menstrual history after athletes discuss it with their doctors. She said the only reason she could see for doing it was to “weed out” transgender kids.

Physicians such as Dr. Deborah White told the FHSAA they would not be comfortable reporting patients' menstrual history to their schools. Before they were removed, the questions about menstruation were optional for more than 20 years on athlete physical evaluation forms.

6. Attorneys say the menstrual history questions could be fodder for lawsuits

Dianne Lynn Griffith, a real estate and business lawyer based in Palmetto Bay, joined other attorneys who told the FHSAA that choosing to mandate the menstrual history questions could end up with the association in court because of the right to privacy in the state constitution.

Attorneys and parents scolded the FHSAA for eroding student athletes' rights to privacy. "Your sick obsessions with menstrual cycles of athletes in revolting and insulting," Dianne Lynn Griffith said.

7. Will menstrual questions exclude transgender kids from sports?

Jason Marshall told the FHSAA board that the questions about menstrual history could out transgender athletes whose menstrual data may differ with their gender identity.

Although physicians who work with transgender students said thspant optionspanl menstruspanl history questions did not spanutomspanticspanlly out trspanns spanthletes, the new physical evaluation forms now require athletes to report their “sex assigned at birth” and deliver that response to their school.

Jason Marshall tells the FHSAA that questions about menstrual history can "out" transgender athletes, such as male athletes who get periods and female athletes who do not get periods. The questions were later removed from the form.

8. One parent concerned children are ‘being used as pawns for an underlying political motive’

Christina Cranton told the board that she would move her child exclusively to club sports if the FHSAA mandated questions about athletes’ menstrual history.

She was among dozens of comments that expressed disgust with the board and the public high school sports system.

Some parents, including Christina Cranton, told the FHSAA they would remove their students from public school athletics if the menstrual history questions remained on athlete physical evaluation forms. "This is dystopian, needlessly invasive and completely unnecessary medical data to collect," she said.

9. National Women’s Law Center petition garners 5,500+ signatures

An online petition launched by the National Women’s Law Center asked people to sign on to support privacy for student athletes. The webpage said:

  • If you are or have been a student athlete
  • If you are an LGBTQI+ individual
  • If you are a school official
  • If you are a parent
  • If you have concerns over the invasion of privacy
  • If you have had a miscarriage or abortion
  • If you relate in any way to the violation perpetrated by this policy.
The National Women's Law Center was one of several people and organizations that launched petitions to oppose the FHSAA's recommendation that menstrual history questions become mandatory.

More reporting from The Palm Beach Post on the FHSAA’s consideration of menstrual history questions

Federal legislation update:After Post investigspantion, federspanl bill imperils school money if menstruspanl dspantspan is collected

From Thursday’s meeting:FHSAA bospanrd OKs form spansking spanthletes for sex spant birth, scrspanps menstruspanl questions

Palm Beach Post investigation:Floridspan spansks student spanthletes spanbout their periods. Why some find it ‘shocking’ post-Roe


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