JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — A drag show advertised for local residents of “any age” is scheduled to take place in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon. The show is part of the 2022 Jacksonville PorchFest held in the city’s historic Springfield neighborhood.
“The Jacksonville PorchFest is excited to present the PorchFest Drag Extravaganza! Catch a fantastic all ages performance, featuring local talent, taking place at 1407 Hubbard Street during the 4:30 pm to 6 pm block of the festival,” reads a post on the event’s Facebook page.
“‘All ages’ was to clarify that there would be nothing inappropriate or adult-themed during the show. It will be 5 performers dressed up singing well known pop songs,” Event spokesperson Kelly Rich said in an email. “None of the attendees will be participating in the performance.”
When asked if parental consent and supervision would be required for attendees under the age of 18, Rich replied: “Not necessary as the show will be appropriate for everyone.”
Rich added: “If anyone dislikes that musical genre, there are five other talented porch performances playing at that time including country, latin, and a drum line. We try to incorporate a wide variety of genres to show the diversity of our community and highlight our local talent.”
In a follow up email, The Florida Standard asked if Rich thought it would be appropriate for kids to watch any drag performances. No response was given.
DRAG SHOWS FOR KIDS – A GROWING TREND
Long considered fringe entertainment and deviant behavior for adults, drag performances have grown in popularity with the advance of pro-LGBTQ legislation and social views. Men cross-dressing as women are a staple at homosexual PRIDE parades across the country. Centuries-old stigmas toward drag have faded drastically, as traditional views on men, women, marriage, family and sex fall by the wayside.
Over the summer, social media erupted after independent journalists Aldo Buttazzoni and Tayler Hansen shared videos showing children participating in a drag show in Dallas. Young boys and girls walked down a runway, holding hands with drag performers and striking a pose for the cheering crowd. Some children handed out cash tips to the exotic dancers. In the background a neon sign read: “IT’S NOT GOING TO LICK ITSELF!”
DESANTIS ADMIN CRACKING DOWN
In July, Governor DeSantis blasted the idea of having kids at drag shows as a “disturbing trend.” After video surfaced of kids at a drag show hosted by a bar in the Miami area, the governor said the state began an investigation into the bar and filed a complaint seeking to remove its liquor license. According to NBC 6 in South Florida, the complaint stated that having children at drag shows "corrupts the public morals and outrages the sense of public decency."
DeSantis told reporters: “Having kids involved in this is wrong. That is not consistent with our law and policy in Florida and it is a disturbing trend in our society to try to sexualize these young people. That is not the way you look out for our children. You protect children, you do not expose them to things that are inappropriate.”
Drag show hosts aren’t the only ones who may want to think twice about letting kids in the door. DeSantis also intimated that the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) could use existing laws to go after parents who bring their children to the shows.
“It used to be kids would be off-limits. Used to be everybody agreed with that,” DeSantis said. “Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate.”
Jacksonville PorchFest 2022 is presented by Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) and sponsored by prominent local businesses including UF Health, VyStar Credit Union, Bold City Brewery, 904 Happy Hour and the Bread and Board.