This is Not OK

In Florida, Teens are Being Asked to Report Their Menstrual History to Play Team Sports. Here’s Why That’s Terrifying.

· Updated on March 23, 2023

In Florida, it’s been common practice to ask teen athletes about their menstrual cycle for over 20 years now. These questions—such as “when was your first menstrual period?”—might feel invasive, but at least they’ve remained optional. However, the practice remaining optional might not be enough to protect students from having their information disseminated far and wide after a handful of Florida school districts switch to a digital platform this Fall.

Why is it a big deal for the queer community? Well, in a post-Roe world, we’re already seeing the implications of data collection when it comes to sensitive personal information. More than that, in Florida, the world of teams sports is already a vicious site of transmisogyny for trans women athletes eager to participate on their school team.

It’s even more troubling to learn that the information about menstrual cycles, in these Florida districts, is handed over directly to the school, a practice that seems to be in direct violation of HIPAA laws. But because the students are minors, it only depends on parental consent to get the forms digitized and shared with the school district. Even more frightening is that since the digitization company in charge of these records, Aktivate, is not a healthcare service but a tech company cofounded by a former AOL founder, it is not subject to HIPAA privacy laws. Which means that in a pinch, such records could be secured by the state via subpoena.

Some districts, such as Palm Beach County, are even allowed to hang onto the information for up to 7 years.

Needless to say, trans activists and abortion rights advocates are freaking out.

In Florida, where abortion is now illegal after 15 weeks, having teens have to give over their personal medical history is more than a little concerning.

It’s a common TERF talking point to equate periods with womanhood, and that’s exactly what Florida is trying to do in its ongoing attempt to exclude trans girls from participating in school sports.

Honestly, it’s just insane.


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