ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A bill making its way through the Florida Legislature originally aimed at drag shows now has people concerned it could have a chilling effect on local pride events and parades.
The bill would bar children from attending drag shows with lewd performances that depict or simulate nudity, but an amendment expands that from private venues to public places.
Pride event organizers in the Tampa Bay region say they’re concerned local governments could be intimidated into self-censoring and no longer issue permits for pride events or parades for fear of repercussions and penalties.
“And the question becomes to what degree will city or county attorneys tell these municipalities to pull back on, you know, public events, and events in our communities that we’re familiar with,” Brandon Wolf with Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, said.
He went on to question if Gasparilla would be impacted by this or if the pirate-themed event would be able to get public permits to use parks.
“The [thing] is, we don’t really know because the language of this bill is so vague and broad that it is intended to induce a chilling effect across the state,” Wolf said.
According to Equality Florida, lawmakers should focus more on issues like feeding the hungry and lowering property taxes rather than legislation that could impact local Pride events.