If I didn't live in Florida, I might be unaware of several things the state's dictator has banned or forbidden to be discussed, especially in our schools. If it isn't his "Don't Say Gay" bill or "Stop Woke" legislation, he's banning books and the teaching of Advanced Placement Black History coursework. The Florida Legislature is currently in session and looking to give DeSantis several legislative wins, which he hopes to use as a springboard to being nominated as Republicans' 2024 presidential candidate.
House Bill 1039 is the latest legislation that is up for consideration. It has been passed by the Florida House and is soon to be considered by the Florida Senate. This bill would forbid the discussion of menstrual cycles or any healthcare teaching for students prior to the 6th grade. Many girls in those grades experience their first period during those years, and Florida lawmakers would prefer no one talk about it—not even the young girls themselves.
Related: New Bill Targeting Political Bloggers Continues Florida's Descent to Fascism
I have a granddaughter who talks to me about everything, including several subjects about which she hesitates to speak to her mother. Well, she confides in me about everything except her menstrual cycle. I have it on good authority (her mother) that she's experienced some premenstrual symptoms and cried herself to sleep because she didn't understand what was going on. Thankfully, she had her mom to talk to and discuss it. Every girl doesn't have that relationship and might seek out another adult—like a teacher or school nurse—with whom to discuss their period. But not in Ron DeSantis' Florida.
DeSantis doesn't get surprised by legislation proposed by Republican legislators. It's safe to assume that DeSantis was aware this bill would be presented and fully supports it. Democrats in the legislature offered arguments against the bill but to no avail.
"Imagine a little girl in fourth grade going to the bathroom and finding blood in her panties and thinking that she is dying," said Ashley Viola Gantt, a Democratic legislator representing Miami, who is also a former teacher. "This is a reality for little girls in school. They can be in foster care. They could have parents who just work a lot because wages are stagnant and the price of living continues to grow. She doesn't actually know what's going on. And her teacher doesn't have the ability to tell her that this is a part of life because she's in the fourth grade... If we are preparing children to be informed adults, we need to inform them about their bodies and that's something very basic."
Gantt asked the man who proposed the bill, Republican Stan McClain, if the bill would prohibit girls from discussing their periods in school.
McClain acknowledged the bill would prohibit those discussions but said the intent of the bill wasn't to hurt little girls. The bill also requires that any discussion of gender refers to the sex one was assigned at birth, making it doubly an attack on trans rights.
Those of us living in Florida are accustomed to hearing DeSantis constantly talking about freedom. His actions show he's more interested in control. He is currently in his second term as Florida governor and is term-limited from running again. Of course, the Republican-controlled legislature could change that, just as they are likely to change the provision he must resign as governor to run for president. One way or another, unless the law changes, Ron DeSantis won't be Florida's problem after Jan. 7, 2027. I sincerely hope he doesn't become America's problem in 2025.
This post originally appeared on Medium and is edited and republished with author's permission. Read more of William Spivey's work on Medium. And if you dig his words, buy the man a coffee.
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