‘Drag show ban’ bill moves closer to becoming law in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The so-called “drag show ban” bill, which would ban adult live performances for minors, has once again moved forward in the Florida Legislature and will now make its way to the desk of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The House sent DeSantis the bill Wednesday.

The legislation would allow the state to revoke the food and beverage licenses of businesses that admit children to adult performances. The DeSantis administration has moved to pull the liquor licenses of businesses that held drag shows, alleging children were present during lewd displays.

Senators voted 28-12 last Tuesday afternoon to advance Senate Bill 1438, which is officially titled the “Protection of Children.”

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the majority Republican state senate.

Supporters say the bill protects kids and feel it is part of a larger agenda to give parents more rights and children more protection.

However, opponents say it is dangerously broad and censors the LGBTQ+ community.

Henry Williams, who is better known as Tiffany Fantasia, one of South Florida’s most popular drag queens said that he hopes the new ruling won’t take his livelihood away.

“I’m fighting for my art and what I do,” said Williams. “This is not only my livelihood, this is how I express myself,” he said.

The bill prohibits someone from knowingly admitting a child to “adult live performances”, which it broadly defines as “a presentation that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities.”

If SB 1438 is signed into law, businesses found to have these shows could lose their liquor license and rule-breakers could face first-degree misdemeanor charges.

Last month, DeSantis’ administration aimed to revoke the liquor license of a Miami hotel that hosted a Christmas drag show, a crackdown that comes as the Republican governor looks to shore up his conservative credentials ahead of an expected 2024 presidential bid.

About the Authors:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.