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.
Do NOT tell anyone other than your doctor when your last period was (and even then I could list some exceptions) Do not track your cycle on any apps. DO NOT PROVIDE YOUR MENSTRUAL HISTORY TO ANYONE – especially athletic departments. https://t.co/QeCKGmGtOb
— celia (@_celia_bedelia_) October 4, 2022
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.
Florida passed a law to ban transgender athletes. They are now enforcing it by requiring female athletes to track their menstrual cycles and report it to the school and a 3rd party company called Aktivate.
This is downright dystopian.https://t.co/fPDOsf2IhT pic.twitter.com/D6j4Kzb7cR
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) October 4, 2022
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.
im a small government conservative and i am demanding detailed information about your childs menstrual cycle if they want to play high school sports https://t.co/Kdt2nqPSvL
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) October 4, 2022
Honestly, it’s just insane.
This is 100% due to transphobia against trans girls in sport. https://t.co/K9T4qIXZL8
— Dr. Veronica Ivy (@SportIsARight) October 4, 2022
View this post on Instagram