Florida lawmakers pass bill critics say restricts drag shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Drag shows at businesses welcoming children are about to be effectively banned in Florida.

The House sent Gov. Ron DeSantis the bill that bans children from an adult live performance, a proposal aimed at the governor’s opposition to drag shows.

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.

The majority Republican Florida Senate easily passed Bill 1438 last week.

It does not specifically mention drag shows, but it empowers the state to fine, suspend or revoke businesses licenses if an establishment like Palace or R-House host children during an adult live performance.

The measure defining it as any show in front of a live audience which depicts lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.

“There’s a problem in this state when we have private establishments like R House feature drag brunches with children. There was a video that was posted on Facebook went viral showing a 3-year-old that was accompanied by a performer that looked more like a stripper. That’s inappropriate,” said said Anthony Verdugo with the Christian Family Coalition.

Tuesday the state board of education also voted to expand the Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed by critics as ‘Don’t Say Gay.’

It now bans classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten all the way through high school.

Henry Williams, better known as Tiffany Fantasia, is one of South Florida’s best known drag queens.

Critics like Williams believe the motives behind these measures are politically homophobic.

“Because Lord knows they aren’t sponsoring no bill for mental health up in here, they aren’t sponsoring no bill to take guns away for the sake of the children, but they getting shot every other week in their own school,” said Williams.

About the Author:

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.