PRIDE Cape Coral 2023 begins following after anti-drag show push

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Jolena Esperto
Published: Updated:

PRIDE Cape Coral is a tradition that started in 2019, as a way for people of all identities to come together and feel accepted while doing so.

This came after studies showed that Cape Coral ranked low in diversity and acceptance — according to organizers of PRIDE Cape Coral.

“Definitely welcoming. I don’t have to worry about being judged all the time, which is nice. And it’s sweet, Shannon Wise said.

“I’m a highly supporting fan of trans rights, gay rights. So I think it’s a beautiful thing that we can express our love and our feelings here,” Nicholas Martin said.

Just Thursday, a state senator filed what he called “the protection of children bill,” which calls for hotels or restaurants to lose licenses if they “admit a child to an adult live performance.”

Critics fear the bill will target drag shows.

“To do my makeup? 30 minutes. Oh, yeah, I don’t waste time. I’ve been doing it for 19 years,” said Andrew Spaulding, Southwest Florida performer of the year.

Andrew Spaulding has been a drag performer for 19 years.

“We’re intelligent entertainers. We know how to perform the correct and appropriate thing for the audience. So I equate it to a comedian,” Spaulding said.

But Governor Ron Desantis calls drag shows inappropriate for kids.

So does Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.

“I almost liken it to child abuse, frankly. So what do we do? We ban kids from going to see X-rated movies. Nobody has ever complained about that,” Passidomo said.

This also comes after former Cape Coral city manager Rob Hernandez has accused Cape Coral council members of being reluctant to support the pride festival.

Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter has denied the accusation.

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