Gay Pride Festival Faces Setback After ‘Protection Of Children’ Bill

A parade out of Florida’s Treasure Coast Pride festival, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, was canceled this year after a bill prohibiting kids from attending obscene adult performances was passed by the state’s House on April 19.

The Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast, which organizes the event, announced that other pride events would now be a 21-and-older event, disappointing many in the community.

“We are obviously upset and dishearten[ed] that it has come to this,” the organization wrote.

The “Protection of Children” bill, SB 1438, which is expected to be signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, bars children from attending events with “adult live performances” and imposes severe penalties for venue licensees in violation of it.

The bill 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” or any form of obscene conduct or activities.

The bill, while not explicitly mentioning drag shows, has been criticized for being an attack on the LGBT community, with opponents calling it a “blatant attempt to erase drag performers and silence the LGBTQ+ community.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has come out in opposition to the bill, calling it “discriminatory” and saying it harms “both the LGBTQ+ community and the performing arts.”

Despite the controversy, Rep. John Snyder (R-FL) insists the bill is crucial for the protection of children. In his words: “What we’re focused on is a common sense approach, standing up for the protection and innocence of our children.”

He also clarified that the legislation was not created with the aim of stopping the pride events. “Nothing in our legislation would limit a pride parade,” he stated.

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