A pride event was canceled in downtown Tampa after a bill concerning “adult live performances” was signed into law.
Carrie West, Tampa Pride president, confirms that the organization will not host its Pride on the River event this year.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB-1438, “Protection of Children” into law in Tampa on Wednesday. The bill allows the state to revoke food and beverage licenses of businesses that admit children to adult performances.
Lambda Legal, a leading national LGBTQ rights organization, calls the legislation “an anti-drag bill seeking to censor art.”
Drag performances are not mentioned in the bill. A handout from the governor’s news conference stated that drag shows are considered adult live performances “without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present.”
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“We have the opportunity and indeed the responsibility to swing for the fences so that we can ensure Florida remains number one,” DeSantis said.
“We receive this as it is intended, as an all-out attack on freedom,” says Joe Saunders, senior director with Equality Florida. The advocacy organization says it’s the highest amount of anti-LGBTQ bills to be signed in Florida’s history.
Other pride events will now be restricted to people 21 years and older. A liquor license is being revoked from a Miami hotel that hosted a Christmas drag show. The DeSantis administration says children were present during “lewd” displays.