Pride organizers cancel events in Florida, cite hostile legislation from GOP-controlled Legislature
Several Florida Pride Month organizers have canceled events planned for next month, citing a climate of “fear and hostility.”
Organizers from St. Cloud, Florida, called off a June 10 event that would have included a drag queen show at a food market after some felt the event would be unsafe for attendees and performers.
“Florida has recently passed a number of laws that target the LGBTQIA+ community. These laws have created a climate of fear and hostility for LGBTQIA+ people in Florida. We believe that holding an LGBTQIA+ event in this environment would put our community at risk,” a Facebook post on the organization’s page reads.
Recently, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that makes it illegal for children to attend an adult live performance that might have sexually explicit content, even if accompanied by an adult. Price organizers said they tried to comply with the law by making the event for those 18 and older.
“But even after discussing with entertainment, the drag queens did not feel it would be safe for them to perform,” Kristina Bozanich, one of the organizers, told local reporters.
Organizers in Tampa, Port St. Lucie and Lake County have canceled or scaled back planned Pride Month events.
Florida Republicans, and Mr. DeSantis in particular, have gone all in on anti-LGBTQ laws and rhetoric. The Republican-controlled Legislature has passed laws focused on banning certain books from school libraries, limiting the teaching of sexual education and discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools, restrictions on drag shows and limits on transgender healthcare for children.
“Parental Rights in Education empowers Florida’s parents and safeguards our children,” said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez. “This bill refuses to allow school boards and teachers unions the ability to hide information about students from their parents. In addition, it prohibits classroom discussion in grades K-3 on gender orientation and sexual identity. Throughout this legislative session, this bill has been maliciously maligned by those who prefer slogans and sound bites over substance and common sense. Fortunately, Governor DeSantis and I believe that parents should have a say. We will not back down to woke corporations and their same tired tactics that are steeped in hypocrisy. As a mother of three, I am committed to protecting the rights of parents.”
Mr. DeSantis says the laws are in place to protect children from what he sees as woke ideology infecting everyday life.
In response, LGBTQ and immigrant advocacy groups, as well as the NAACP, have cautioned people against traveling to the state.