TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A bill banning children at drag shows sailed past the Senate floor, but not before all sides condemned Rep. Webster Barnaby for calling transgender people “mutants, demons and imps.”
Filed by Sen. Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville), SB 1438 prohibits the admittance of children to drag shows, branding violators with a first degree misdemeanor. “A legitimate concern for parents and our constituents is children being exposed to nudity, sexual activities, and lewd conduct,” Sen. Yarborough explained.
“VITRIOL LEVELED AT THE QUEER COMMUNITY”
The bill faced Democratic opposition, with critics stating it creates a space for hateful rhetoric, citing Rep. Webster Barnaby’s Monday comments.
“We heard vitriol leveled at the queer community. We heard them being called demons and imps without interruption or condemnation from the chair,” Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) said, before referencing the bill’s discrepancy in not applying to the restaurant Hooters. “Is it only queer culture that you wish to fine, suspend, and revoke? Is it only queer culture that you deem prurient, shameful, and morbid?”
Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-Miami) agreed, condemning Rep. Barnaby’s comments: “What happened yesterday was dangerous. What happened yesterday, should not happen in a body of leaders who represent 22 million people.”
“THAT IS NOT A CHRIST-LIKE RESPONSE”
The Democrats were joined by bill sponsor Yarborough, who criticized Rep. Barnaby’s comments. He stated that “the violence and the name-calling are not acceptable, I condemn that, and that is not a Christ-like response.” He went on to say that given this, his bill deals with the protection of children, not the targeting of the trans community.
“This legislation sends a strong message that Florida is a safe place to raise children,” he concluded. “We are setting a standard in this state that protects children from being exposed to live performances that depict nudity and sexual activities.”
After SB 1438’s party line passing, the House must pass it in identical form. Upon advancement in both legislative chambers, it will go to the governor for him to sign into law.