TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — After an hour of intense debate, a bill banning minors from drag shows will go into effect immediately upon becoming law.
HB 1423, sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard), bans children’s admittance into adult live shows, branding violators with a first-degree misdemeanor. It defines these performances as any showcase containing sexual conduct or simulated nudity.
“There is evil in this world, and we deal with it here today,” Fine said. “We’re going to stop this here today. The right question is not why do I want to stop children from going to these kinds of events, the question is why are [drag queens] so determined to do it to children?”
Rep. Doug Bankson (R-Apopka) agreed: “This bill is designed to protect children. Let kids be kids: protect them from losing their innocence.”
“IT IS WHAT SAVES PEOPLE FROM TAKING THEIR OWN LIVES”
Unsurprisingly, the legislation faced vehement opposition. Democratic representatives said the bill is not designed to protect children, but to target marginalized communities and violate parental rights.
“This is purely your efforts to eliminate any type of expression when it comes to marginalized communities, because for some reason, you find that offensive,” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) stated. “Drag is joy. Drag is happiness. Drag is fashion. Drag is glorious. Drag is lip-syncing. Drag is life for so many of our communities. It is what saves people from taking their own lives.”
“I just don’t understand when drag queens became enemy number one,” said House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell. “I’m very concerned that we’re in a time where our state government feels like it needs to look over the shoulder of every parent.”
Despite the aggressive discourse, the bill passed the House in a 82 to 32 vote, advancing it out of the legislature and to the governor for his signature.
The House had a busy day, also passing bans on sex reassignment surgeries for minors and entering the opposite sex’s bathroom – sending both to the Senate.