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'They want it to where we don’t exist': Local drag queen reacts to new state laws

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law this week where it prohibits businesses from allowing children from watching adult live performances.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa's 'Pride on the River' event, which happens along the Riverwalk and at Armature Works, was set for this summer – but is now canceled due to new state laws.

Tampa Pride officials on Thursday made the decision to cancel the event because they fear they could be fined or their license suspended.

A local drag entertainer said this new law has a big impact on her life. 

"For me, this is my business," Brianna Summers explained.

Summers is a performer. 

"I am an entertainer through and through at heart," she said.

Just recently, putting on a performance is now becoming more difficult for her. 

New Florida laws now put restrictions on drag shows.

"You are snatching souls from human beings. [That's] what this feels like. Sorry to get emotional," Summers said.

DeSantis signed SB 1438 this week, prohibiting businesses from admitting children to watch adult live performances. 

"These these drag shows, they're sexually explicit in what they're doing," the governor said Wednesday before he signed the bill into law.

With the new law, Tampa Pride canceled 'Pride on the River' which was set for September. In a public place, Pride officials feel they can’t restrict children.

In the past, Summers served as host for this event.

"This is my life, this is my business, this is how I make money," she said. "This is my self-expression."

Summers said two shows she planned to perform for St. Pete Pride have already been canceled. 

"Now I’m out of a job for a weekend," she explained. "I mean, this is how I make my living."

DeSantis maintains the new law will protect children. 

"Some situations where you will have an 8-year-old girl there with explicit shows, and that is inappropriate," the governor explained.

Carrie West, the president of Tampa Pride, explained their events are family-friendly. 

"We bring together families," she said. "They’re family-oriented events that Tampa Pride puts together."

West said they canceled 'Pride on the River' because they don’t want to get in trouble and jeopardize having to cancel Tampa Pride. 

"Let's refine it and find out what things need to be done," West stated.

As the law stands right now, businesses have a new responsibility. Children can't attend adult live performances. 

"You have an obligation to make sure these young kids aren’t in the premises and we’re going to hold you accountable," DeSantis stated.

"He’s winning, 1,000 percent," Summers said in response to Tampa Pride canceling 'Pride on the River.'

Summers feels the LGBTQ+ community is being bullied. 

"They want to it to where we don’t exist," she said. "That is what’s happening." 

West said Tampa Pride can’t be canceled. 

"Remember it’s rethinking, we’re not going away," she said.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor released this statement to 10 Tampa Bay: 

"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."

"We’re going to dance, we’re going to thrive, that’s all we want," Summers added.

While 'Pride on the River' is canceled, Tampa Pride will happen in March. St Pete Pride will take place in June.

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