GOP Says Don’t Say ‘Period’ And Genocide Of Trans People Continues
African Americans and other non-whites; gays, lesbians and the rest of the LGBTQ community, especially transgender people; Democrats, women in need of an abortion and now, little girls, better be careful if you come to Florida, the Sunshine State where the sun never shines.
Let’s start with the matter of little girls because we know the wrongheaded, right wing misogynists think they know best about how to keep our young charges safe. It involves a new proposal in the state Legislature that is in sync with Republican Gov. Ron Desantis’s race to the bottom, his holy crusade to purify public schools of any references to sex and race.
The bill would prohibit any mention or discussion of menstruation with girls younger than the sixth grade and it is sponsored by someone who may just be the least informed person on a child’s menstrual periods, state Rep. Stan McClain, a Republican, Christian contractor and grandfather who loves fishing, golf and youth sports. The bill also would bar libraries from providing books about menstruation to younger children.
The bill would give weight to the timeless taboo and bullying tactic of period shaming, buttressing the mysogynistic denigration of that most common and natural acts of the female body, menstruation. Beyond that, McClain’s plan would deny young girls from asking important questions about their menstruation.
House Bill 1069 would require that instruction on sexual health, such as health education, sexually transmitted diseases and human sexuality, including references to menstruation, “only occur in grades 6 through 12.”
McClain’s proposed legislation joins a number of Republican-sponsored bills filed recent weeks that range from requiring teachers to use pronouns matching children’s sex as assigned at birth to establishing a universal school-choice voucher program. Other proposed legislation would eliminate college majors in gender studies, cut diversity efforts at universities and job protections for tenured faculty, strengthen parents’ ability to veto K-12 class materials and extend a ban on teaching about gender and sexuality from third grade up to eighth grade.
Menstruation is a taboo subject not just in the U.S. but around the world, where it is often dealt with in silence and if rarely spoken about, only in female company. In single parent families, teens find it next to impossible to broach the issue with parents, especially fathers.
Menarche is defined as the first menstrual period in a female adolescent. It typically occurs between the ages of 10 and 16, with the average age of onset at 12.4 years. Precocious or early puberty, though relatively rare, is experienced at 8 for girls and 9 for boys. Factors that can effect menarche include socioeconomic conditions, genetics, general health, nutritional status, exercise, seasonality, and family size, according to the National Institutes of Health.
During the pandemic, a surge was reported in early puberty cases for girls, with some girls getting their periods as young as 8.
Education and demystifying are key rather than implicitly teaching that periods are dirty and embarrassing and not simply a biological fact to understand. The archaic, negative attitudes towards periods and menstruation can lead to harmful body-image issues, anxiety, depression, and self-hate. Even adults shudder at the idea of bleeding through their clothes; teens and pre-teens who are already faced with all sorts of adolescent issues are often very much terrified and puzzled with their first period. Failing to educate girls about their periods can also increase misunderstanding by boys, leading to mocking, period shaming and bullying.
Another series of bills is a follow-up to the 2021 Florida legislation that banned trans kids from participating in school sports. The proposals represent a genocidal attack on trans people and if passed, the bills would restrict access to gender-affirming care and classify it as child abuse.
State Rep. Randy Fine (no relation to Stooge Larry Fine) has proposed HB1421, apparently drawing on his expertise as an executive for casino gambling companies such as Harrah’s Entertainment and American Casino & Entertainment Properties.
HB1421 would prohibit gender-affirming health care for trans minors, prevent insurance carriers from covering such care for adults, and block people from changing their sex on their Florida birth certificate. Fine said the goal of his proposal is to “end the scourge of chemical castration and child mutilation” in the state.
Chemical castration is the use of hormonal drugs to reduce the production of sex hormones, and is often known for its use in attempts to reduce rates of recidivism in sex offenders.
Legislators like Fine have grossly exaggerated the number of young people who have undergone various measures towards becoming grans. A Reuters investigation found that, as of 2021, fewer than 1,500 youths under 17 were taking physician-prescribed puberty blockers, and fewer than 4,500 on hormone therapies. Less than 300 received mastectomies or “top surgery,” and only 56 youth under the age of 17 have received gender-affirming “bottom” or genital surgery.
One of the busier Florida lawmakers has been the eminently qualified Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough, who has a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of North Florida and worked at UPS for 12 years as a “human resources professional.”
Yarborough has sponsored SB 254 which would allow courts to modify or stay child custody orders “to the extent necessary to protect the child from being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures in another state.” The bill also prohibits sex-reassignment prescriptions and procedures for patients younger than 18 years old. A co-sponsor of SB254 is Sen. Keith Perry, owner of Perry Roofing Contractors.
Yarborough also is the sponsor of SB 1320, which would ban classroom instruction related to sexual orientation or gender identity until the ninth grade. Such instruction is currently prohibited only through third grade. The bill also defines a person’s “sex,” as an unchangeable biological trait.
The bill blocks employees and contractors from offering their preferred pronouns to students, unless the pronouns “correspond to his or her sex.” Students would still be able to offer their preferred pronouns but the bill blocks school personnel from asking about preferred pronouns in advance.
The bill defines a person’s “sex,” as an unchangeable biological trait.
Fine, Yarborough and Rep. Ralph Massullo, a dermatologist, also have proposed a bill to make it illegal for doctors to provide treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy to transgender minors. The bill would strip doctors of their licenses if they commit violations, while the related Senate bill could lead to criminal charges for a person who “willfully or actively participates in a violation.” The House bill also would prevent health insurers and HMOs from providing coverage for treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery and would largely block people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates.
In an interview with Insider.com, Dr. Alann Weissman-Ward, Medical Director for Plume, explained the process of transition for trans youth, from puberty blockers to gender-affirming surgery. Plume calls itself the “Largest health provider for the trans and nonbinary community.”
Weissman-Wardsid that studies have shown that when trans children grow up in supportive households, they can understand their own gender as young as three or four.
After a minor comes out and lives as the gender they are rather than the sex they were assigned, the first medical step is working with a therapist, who specializes in gender identity. Weissman-Ward said a child must be in therapy for at least a year for their gender dysphoria and have reached puberty before they can discuss medical intervention.
After a child is in therapy for at least a year and is approaching puberty, the next step may be puberty blockers, which delay puberty temporarily and give trans kids more time to think about what they need next, without any side effects in the long term. Puberty blockers are usually prescribed around the ages of 12, 13, or 14 depending on when a child starts puberty.
If a teen later decides to move on to the next step in the process around 16 or 17, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be prescribed. HRT includes a number of hormones including estrogen and testosterone and unlike puberty blockers, HRT can have permanent effects like hair growth and voice deepening.
Surgery usually isn’t an option until at least the age of 18. Gender-affirming surgeries refer to a variety of procedures and are extremely rare for anyone under the age of 18, Weissman-Ward said.
Weissman-Ward said that some people seek all of the treatments, including HRT and surgery, at the appropriate age. Other trans minors seek some of the treatments, and some don’t seek any treatment at all.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health noted last year that evidence of trans people regretting their transition is extremely rare.