A performer in a bright pink body suit dances at a Pride parade

Pride Events Are Being Canceled in Florida Thanks to New Anti-Drag Law

Republican politicians across the United States are taking aim at drag, despite some having, on occasion, engaged in the art form themselves. (We know blatant hypocrisy is not something they’ve ever been overly concerned with.) They are fighting this battle as part of a larger-scale culture war against the queer community, with a specific focus on attacking trans and gender non-conforming people. Sadly, they are gaining ground.

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Representatives from the Pride Alliance of Treasure Coast, Florida recently announced that it would be canceling the region’s Pride Parade in light of the state’s new anti-drag laws. The Florida legislature recently passed a bill that would prohibit government institutions from issuing permits for “adult live performances” in the presence of minors. The bill would also ban businesses from allowing minors to attend an “adult live performance” and threatens to slap any business that breaks the law with a $10,000 fine. People are concerned that the vaguely-worded bill would allow the government to attack the rights of the LGBTQ community with impunity, making it effectively impossible for members of the community to express themselves freely without facing serious legal repercussions.

It seems that the Pride Alliance of Treasure Coast is not willing to take that chance.

The Pride Alliance has also been forced to change its weekend Pridefest celebration into a 21+ event in order to avoid potential legal repercussions. They will also be holding a “family friendly” event called Party in the Park, where queer youth are welcome. Although there will likely be no drag shows at this event, the community is still at risk. The bill’s unclear wording could allow law enforcement to take legal action against anyone they suspect might be in drag. This is especially dangerous to trans and gender-nonconforming people, who could be accused of engaging in a “lewd performance” simply by existing.

It is disheartening to see Pride events canceled, as it erases the history of the Pride movement itself. As many Twitter users in the comments of the post pointed out, Pride “parades” were once known as “marches,” and the LGBTQ community marched at a point in America’s history where wearing articles of clothing that did not correspond to an individual’s gender assigned at birth constituted “public indecency”. Pride, in its most fundamental form, is a protest. And now more than ever, protest is in order. The obeisance of unjust laws marks another step in the wrong direction. And should this country be allowed to continue down that road, drag will not be the only form of LGBTQ expression to suffer. Conservatives’ clear end goal is to criminalize the queer community out of existence.

(featured image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.