Period activists roll through Tallahassee in their Vangina after menstrual controversy

Session with period controversy ended with both chambers approving legislation that allows schools to offer periods and tampons for free.

Legislation that’s become best known for more tightly regulating schools’ use of pronouns that don’t match reproductive function briefly garnered national notoriety for potentially banning the traditional, fifth-grade menstrual cycle lesson.

The first and second versions of the bill (HB 1069), now awaiting the Governor’s signature, had a line saying that discussion of human sexuality must wait until the sixth grade. And Democratic Rep. Ashley Gantt in committee debate asked the sponsor of the bill whether it would delay conversations about periods until after many girls get their first one, which is often in the fourth or fifth grade.

“It would,” replied Republican Rep. Stan McClain.

A video clip of that exchange went viral, got picked up in publications coast to coast — even some based in Britain — and, this weekend, drew the “Vangina” to Florida for some counterprogramming on the importance of talking about flow.

“What the implications (of the bill) are for menstrual health and hygiene for students in the fourth and fifth grade in the state of Florida is concerning to us,” said Dana Marlowe, CEO and founder of I Support the Girls and part of the Vangina’s crew that camped out at Brandi Carlile’s Mothership Weekend festival in Miramar Beach.

“We want to make sure that children receive information about their bodies because the less information young students learn and receive about their bodies … concern and anxiety will increase as these changes naturally occur,” said Marlowe, who is based in Maryland.

Camped out at the music festival, with a van showing a talking tampon, the organization collected more than 1,000 filled-out postcards urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to consider the state’s stance on periods. On the way back to Maryland, the Vangina rolled through Tallahassee to drop the postcards in the mail.

“Menstruation is a natural bodily process that affects nearly half of the population, and it’s time to stop treating it as a taboo topic in Florida schools,” the postcard begins.

McClain did not return a call seeking comment, but the bill’s cosponsor, Republican Rep. Adam Anderson, said at no time did the proposed legislation ban talk about periods — even when it doesn’t involve grammar.

“That was taken out of context,” Anderson said of the viral clip showing the exchange between Gantt and McClain.

The list of amendments to the bill doesn’t delete the line barring sex education until sixth grade. But Gantt said she’s satisfied that the bill doesn’t explicitly forbid a teacher from answering girls’ questions should they reach this milestone before sixth grade and want more information from a teacher.

The overall bill, however, has her concerned the same way last year’s Parental Rights in Education Law (HB 1557) worried teachers enough that pictures of nontraditional families were taken off desks and rainbow stickers in classrooms removed, she said.

“I think there still will be a chilling effect on teachers talking about basic biology,” Gantt said.

But the Session did include some recognition that lawmaking needed to go with the flow. A bill (HB 389) that allows school districts to make menstrual hygiene products available in schools without charges passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts American

    May 16, 2023 at 7:19 am

    Good morning America,
    I, Earl Pitts American, pushed through the bill to provide menstrual products free of charge in The Great State of Florida’s schools.
    Dook 4 brains lefties will not beleive where the oppisition was coming from but sadly its true what I’m going to tell you.
    Your very own Democratic Senators and Representatives wanted to deny these hygine products to the majority precious Black girls which needed them so badly.
    Because of the leftist woke “men can have babies” everyone should sexulaly transition to another sex thing. Thats why your Democrat elected officials tried to kill the bill.
    Their feeling was providing hygine products to Black Girls would clear up the lines of sexual seperation rather than their twisted preference to blur sexual lines of seperation.
    Think about what I just told you readers. And get on down to your County Supervisor of Elections and regestiar Republican ASAP.
    Dont worry Florida I, Earl Pitts American, have already contacted all 67 Florida County Supervisors and ordered them to staff up for the massave wave of Democrats coming in to switch to Republican.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 16, 2023 at 8:21 am

    And Fleur Duh Gub’ner Rhonda’s Panties is already drafting legislation that will allow the death penalty to be imposed on those dirty, dirty menstraters whenever either MAGAs agree that an dirty woman accused of bleeding shall be stoned to death just as the Bible says.

    • Earl Pitts American

      May 16, 2023 at 8:40 am

      Good morning Dont Say,
      I, Earl Pitts American, chastise you for your hate speach against the young precious Black girls in The Great State of Florida’s school system.
      For shame for shame on you leftists who hate women and Black girls.
      There’s a special place in HE Double Hocky Sticks for your ilk.
      Thank you, you sick twisted freak,
      Earl Pitts “Defender Of Black Ladies” American
      ***Queue Up USA Patriotic Music Cranked Up All The Way*** To further chastise (and annoy) “The Evil Dont Say Fla”.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 16, 2023 at 3:28 pm

        Aww c’mon EPA, dial back the toxic shock. What I wrote is what the Bible says, not what I say! I say if it makes women happy to bleed, go for it! Find your happy. Just don’t let the Bible Thumpers like Rhonda know you’re a dirty dirty bleeder.

  • Slevhammer

    May 16, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Stupid stupid stupid. I don’t want a school to talk to my daughter about her mental cycle. Period! That is for parents to handle with their children. Stop with the liberal BS and your talking tampon. Bunch of perverts!

Comments are closed.


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