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Pride parade canceled over bill barring kids' attendance at lewd adult performances

Image source: WPBF screenshot compliation

A pride parade was canceled and attendance at an associated event was limited to patrons age 21 and older over a Florida bill that would bar kids from sexual adult performances.

"After multiple meetings with city officials, it is with a heavy heart that Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast has to announce that this weekend’s Pridefest will now be a 21 and older event," a notice on the organization's page said, in part.

The Treasure Coast Pridefest event took place at the MIDFLORIDA Event Center in Port St. Lucie Saturday after city officials and organizers came to an agreement, WPTV reported.

"We are obviously upset and dishearten[ed] that it has come to this," the organization also wrote, adding that they would soon be announcing a "family friendly Party in the Park" event "where our youth can celebrate who they are."

The "Protection of Children" bill, SB 1438, passed Florida's House April 19. It prohibits governmental entities from issuing permits for events that allow children at "adult live performances" and provides stiff penalties for venue licensees that are violation of it.

The bill, which Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is expected to sign, defines "adult live performances" 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."

Though the bill does not contain the word "drag," its opponents, like the ACLU of Florida, say it is a "blatant attempt to erase drag performers and silence the LGBTQ+ community."

"Nothing in our legislation would limit a pride parade," Florida House Rep. John Snyder (R) told WPBF. Snyder reportedly told the outlet the bill has nothing to do with drag shows and the Treasure Coast Pridefest annual event would not have had to change anything.

"What we're focused on is a common sense approach, standing up for the protection and innocence of our children," Rep. Snyder said.

"This is the one date a year where they can go out and just openly be themselves," Pridefest organizer and performer Shelita Taylor told WPBF ahead of the event.
"And it's been all taken away because of bigotry and hate."

Watch WPBF's coverage of Treasure Coast Pridefest below.

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