Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Hundreds of drag queens and allies march on Florida's state capitol to protest anti- LGBTQ bills

From The Hill:

Hundreds of drag performers gathered Tuesday in Tallahassee, Fla., to protest a slate of proposed bills that would roll back the rights of LGBTQ people. More than 300 drag queens and allies on Tuesday marched to the steps of the Florida Capitol building to protest legislation that would bar certain drag performances, as well as state bills that would restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender youths and bar transgender athletes from sports teams consistent with their gender identity, among others. 
The LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida, which helped organize the event, said Tuesday’s protest is the largest of its kind. Organizers said the protest is intended to educate the public about the “rich history of Drag as a form of cultural artistic expression suitable for all ages.” 

. . . At least 10 bills targeting LGBTQ rights have been introduced this year by lawmakers in Florida, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, including Senate Bill 1438, a measure that would allow the state to fine, suspend or revoke the food and beverage licenses of businesses that admit minors to an “adult live performance.” 

Detractors have said that DeSantis is targeting the LGBTQ community in an attempt to appeal to the conservative base because he is considering a presidential run. They have also said that the ban on drag performances in particular is deliberately vague and automatically designates all drag performances as "adult live performances" even when they are g-rated. They also said the ban deliberately targets Drag Queen Story Hour, a popular event in which drag queens read to children and their parents in libraries in an attempt to promote literacy.

Equality Florida issues the following statement:

DeSantis’ agenda of hate is decimating our state’s reputation nationally, sending talented students and business owners fleeing to states where freedom is a value rather than a hollow slogan, and making Florida less safe for LGBTQ people. Free states don’t ban art. Free states don’t force families to co-parent with the government or dictate what entertainment they can and cannot enjoy. Free states don’t issue vague threats to suppress speech and expression or target small businesses. Today, hundreds of drag performers and allies from across Florida sent a clear message: we stand for real freedom. And we will not be erased. Expect our resistance.

Photos by Equality Florida.

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