CV NEWS FEED // A planned Tampa event that was being hailed as “one of the region’s largest pride celebrations” was canceled Thursday by its organizers in response to a new law that forbids exposing children to adult and sexually inappropriate displays.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law the day before the LGBTQ organization Tampa Pride announced the cancelation of “Tampa Pride on the River. The event is a “festival” where “drag queens perform in the open,” and was slated to happen in September and draw a crowd in the “tens of thousands.”
Carrie West, the president of Tampa Pride, stated that he was “sorry” and “very sad” to cancel the “very fun event.”
West said there are a “lot of famous Ru Paul drag queens that come in for the event,” adding that “people come flying in for that event just to see the famous drag queens.”
Tampa Pride is set to lose around $100,000 due to the cancelation, an estimate based on their self-reporting.
Cited in the group’s decision was the Florida governor’s Wednesday signing of SB 1438, also known as the “Protecting Children’s Innocence” act. The new state law criminalizes exposing children to sexually explicit drag shows, as well as explicit “adult entertainment” of a heterosexual nature, such as strip clubs.
The text of SB 1438 authorizes the “Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to fine, suspend, or revoke the license of any public lodging establishment or public food service establishment if the establishment admits a child to an adult live performance.”
The legislation was signed as part of the five-bill “Let Kids Be Kids” package that also included SB 254, entitled “Outlawing Permanent Mutilation of Minors,” and HB 1069, which expanded the state’s popular 2022 “Parental Rights in Education Act.”
After signing all five bills into law, DeSantis declared: “Florida is proud to lead the way in standing up for our children. As the world goes mad, Florida represents a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy.”
Tampa Pride on the River was not the first “pride” event to cancel due to SB 1438. In late April, a Port St. Lucie “pride” parade was canceled after the bill passed the Florida state House. As CatholicVote reported:
Organizers of an LGBTQ “Pride Fest” in Florida canceled their “Pride” parade after lawmakers passed legislation that would forbid exposing children to sexually explicit and lewd forms of entertainment.
The statement came on the same day that Florida lawmakers passed the Protection of Children Act, which forbids exposing children to “adult live performances.” The bill defines such forms of adult entertainment as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation that is performed in front of a live audience and in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, specific sexual activities,” or includes “lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.”
The LGBTQ group’s statement on the cancelation of Port St. Lucie’s “Pride” parade explicitly cited the bill as the reason behind its decision not to hold the event. “We are obviously upset and dishearten [sic] that it has come to this,” the statement said.