ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA — A group of progressive activists are working to make history next month by assembling the largest crowd to ever attend a reading by men cross-dressing as women. Organizers promoted the event on Facebook, calling it a “very family friendly event” and stating that it will be held at the Downtown Waterfront in St Pete.
Plans for the event have been in the works for several years. The Facebook page shows posts dating back to 2017. As of Wednesday morning, 224 people had marked “going” and 1,300 responded to the event “interested.”
The most recent post from September 15 states in part: “We'll kick the afternoon off with a short march to protest Florida's newest bigoted, oppressive and problematic policies. (Don't Say Gay, Stop Woke, the 15-week abortion ban, etc.) From there, we'll attempt to set the record for the World's Largest Drag Queen Story Time with Florida drag performers sharing stories and books with kids.”
The Facebook event paged lists the organizers as Amanda Dodge, Michelle Lisan, Tiffany Razzano and C Abraham Bellamy. Dodge, Lisan and Razzano are board members at Wordier Than Thou, an organization purportedly dedicated to supporting writers and readers in the Tampa Bay area and throughout the state of Florida. Tiffany Razzano, President & Founder of Wordier Than Thou, currently works as an editor for Patch, covering St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton and Miami.
The organizers did not respond to The Florida Standard’s request for an interview.
A GROWING TREND
Rachel Aimee reportedly kickstarted Drag Queen Story Hour seven years ago by coordinating a public reading from cross-dressing men in San Francisco. Since then similar events have become regular occurrences in libraries and bookstores across the country.
Advertising the events as “all ages” is a common method employed by event organizers to disarm opposition, and perhaps shield those involved from legal recourse. In November, the Florida Standard reported on an “all ages” drag show in Jacksonville. Another “all ages” performance is planned for this weekend in the Bold City’s historic San Marco neighborhood.
Over the summer, Governor DeSantis blasted the idea of having kids at drag performances as a “disturbing trend.” After video surfaced of kids at a drag show hosted by a bar in the Miami area, the state began an investigation into the bar and filed a complaint seeking to remove its liquor license. The complaint stated that having children at drag shows “corrupts the public morals and outrages the sense of public decency,” NBC 6 in South Florida reported.
DeSantis also suggested 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.”