Recently, the gay rights group Pride Alliance of Treasure Coast canceled a pride parade and restricted access to other PrideFest events to individuals aged 21 and up out of fear that Governor Ron DeSantis (R) would shut down the event if minors were allowed.
Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D) stated in response that the "erasure of the LGBTQ+ community in Florida" was "always their [Republicans'] goal."
"This was always their goal. The erasure of the LGBTQ+ community in Florida. No justice, NO PEACE," tweeted Rep. Frost.
This was always their goal. The erasure of the LGBTQ+ community in Florida.
No justice, NO PEACE. https://t.co/sRYqpuiGuL
— Maxwell Alejandro Frost (@MaxwellFrostFL) April 21, 2023
However, Pride Alliance of Treasure Coast spoke of hosting a kid-friendly event.
Could this simply be a form of protest against State House Bill 1438 which passed the House and expected to be signed by Gov. DeSantis?
HB 1438 would ban minors from attending drag shows and other "live adult performance[s]," revoking the liquor license of any establishment that violates this law.
The impetus for this bill comes from complaints filed by Gov. DeSantis against the Orlando Philharmonic Foundation in February and the Hyatt Regency Miami in March for hosting an extremely raunchy drag show that advertised itself as "all ages welcome."
Among the acts described in the February complaint that children were allowed to watch include "intentionally exposing performers' prosthetic female breasts and genitalia to the audience;" "intentionally exposing performers' buttocks to the audience;" "simulating masturbation through performers' digitally penetrating prosthetic female genitals;" and easily the most unsettling "graphic depictions of childbirth and/or abortion."
If Pride Alliance of Treasure Coast intended to host a more kid-friendly event, why would they carry through on raising the age of attendance for PrideFest to 21?
State Representative Randy Fine (R) made a similar point in a recent Florida House session, noting that the LGBTQ+ community felt targeted by legislation prohibiting children from attending raunchy or lewd entertainment.
"They’re the ones that are saying this definition applies to them. Well, if it means erasing a community because you have to target children when damn right, we ought to do it. I just don’t think you have to inherently say because you’re lesbian or gay, that you want to target children. I find that statement to be offensive to them. And they’re the ones that are saying this definition applies to them," said Rep. Fine.