|FL Gov Ron DeSantis is trying to take away the liquor license of the theater who hosted this drag show even though undercover investigators said no lewd acts were performed.|
No doubt, LGBTQ folks are going to be all blase about this news. But can you really blame us? It follows a steady pattern of events which always repeats itself like a time loop in a Twilight Zone episode.
A nonprofit-run theater in Orlando is reportedly at risk of losing its liquor license, the latest attack in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s war on drag shows, which he’s called “sexualized” entertainment. And the complaint from a state agency was filed even after Florida’s own undercover police said in a report that they did “not witness any lewd acts” during a December drag show.
The Plaza Live theater in Orlando hosted a performance of a show called “A Drag Queen Christmas” on Dec. 28. Agents from the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation were in attendance and took photos and videos of the performance and photos of three minors who were accompanied by their parents, the Miami Herald reported Monday.
But those cops did not actually find that the theater was in violation of the law. “Besides some of the outfits being provocative [bikinis and short shorts], agents did not witness any lewd acts such as exposure of genital organs,” according to a report by the agents obtained by the Miami Herald. “The performers did not have any physical contact while performing to the rhythm of the music with any patrons.”
There was a sign posted outside the venue saying that while entry was not restricted to minors, “please be advised that some may think the context is not appropriate for under 18,” according to the Herald.
The Tampa Bay Times said that even though the complaint by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation claims that several decency laws were broken, no criminal charges have been filed. The Times said the case is being looked at as a license-compliance matter. And that's led to some people labeling actions against the Plaza as a "set-up" for DeSantis who is supposedly considering a 2024 presidential run.
According to the Times:
In the adult-entertainment industry, obscene acts generally include touching, sexual manipulation, or exposing an erection — none of which happened at the Plaza Live or any of the other venues targeted by the state over similar allegations since last summer. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former Democratic state legislator from Orlando, said the report from state agents proves that the “moral panic” about drag shows is a “hoax.”
Equality Florida, an LGBTQ organization in Florida, told Business Insider that DeSantis is attacking the LGBTQ community to make a name for himself in anticipation of his possible presidential run:
"He is weaponizing state agencies, sending investigators to harass small business and performers, then discarding the reports of agents when it doesn't fit his agenda," the group said, adding, "Free states don't wield the power of government to punish small businesses for respecting the right of parents to determine what entertainment is best for their families."
The pattern I mentioned at the beginning of the post - mimicked by this incident - is as follows:
- The right amplifies a scurrilous incident involving LGBTQ people (which is sometimes accompanied by doctored or misrepresented footage)
- Everyone flips out while members of the community and supposed allies concern troll us about the LGBTQ community being "too radical."
- Footage of said incident is constantly replayed on Twitter while further amplified by the right-wing propaganda industry (i.e. the Family Research Council, Breitbart, the Heritage Foundation, the Daily Wire, Fox News, etc and every insignificant wannabe right-wing influencer) and repeated by far-right members of Congress until it becomes a narrative used to harm LGBTQ people in social media and sometimes in state legislatures.
- The truth is revealed showing that said incident was distorted or deliberately taken out of context. But by then it doesn't matter because the lie has done its work to damage LGBTQ people.
- Rinse and repeat.
- I stand on the side banging my head against the wall while dying a little inside because folks fall for this flim-flam more times than Charlie Brown falls for Lucy pulling the football away in a Peanuts cartoon.