An upcoming LGBTQ event in Tampa has been canceled because Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law that bans establishments from admitting children to sexualized, adult live performances.
On Wednesday, DeSantis signed multiple bills into law that protect children in Florida from so-called gender-affirming care, gender identity discussions in the classroom, and adult live performances.
DeSantis signed HB 1438, dubbed the "Protection of Children" bill, into law that prohibits establishments from admitting children into an adult performance.
The bill defines an adult live performance as "any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities, lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts."
Establishments that allow a child to view an adult live performance are subject to a fine or having their license suspended or revoked.
DeSantis said during the bill signing, “We’re protecting kids. And we’re going to protect kids when it’s popular, we’ll protect kids even when you take some incoming as a result of maybe offending some ideologies or some agendas out there, but that’s fine.”
Following the new law being passed, which takes effect immediately, an LGBTQ event in Tampa was canceled.
Organizers of Tampa Pride on the River canceled the LGBTQ event that was scheduled for September.
“Really, I’m sorry,” Tampa Pride president Carrie West said on Thursday. “I’m sorry that this has happened, but you are going to be the generation to make the change.”
West said that the cancellation was "very sad" because "a lot of famous Ru Paul drag queens" come to Tampa for the event, and “people come flying in for that event just to see the famous drag queens.”
Tampa Pride is an organization with a "commitment to demonstrate diversity as a community." The LGBTQ advocacy group was "sickened" by the cancellation.
"It is with deep sorrow and sadness that the Tampa pride board has had to cancel Pride on the River this fall," the organization said on Facebook. "The law the governor signed into effect against LGBTQ+ community yesterday is sickening."
In reaction to not being allowed to have sexualized drag shows in front of children, the LGBTQ organization urged followers, "We have to come together for our lives."
WFLA reported, "Organizers were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to restrict who sees the performances since the event takes place in such a large, open area. Rather than risk the licenses of participating businesses, organizers canceled the event altogether."
“It’s disappointing to hear Tampa Pride on the River is canceled, but it doesn’t change the fact that Tampa is and always will be an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming community,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor – who is a lesbian.
The event, which first debuted last year, reportedly attracted "tens of thousands of visitors" to the Riverwalk area of Tampa.
In April, another LGBTQ event being held in Florida felt the heat of including minors.
The Treasure Coast Pridefest in Port St. Lucie canceled an LGBTQ parade and changed associated events from all-ages to only patrons aged 21 and older.
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