Drag queens put on their highest heels to face the highest legislative halls of Florida to protest anti-drag and anti-LGBTQ bills.
The Republican-led state Legislature passed a bill that banned children from “adult live performances,” which specifically targets drag shows. According to Equality Florida, the state has already passed a “vague bill” that targets drag shows and pride festivals and threatens the small businesses and municipalities that host them with fines and criminal charges. Additionally, Florida expanded the “Don’t Say Gay” law to include grades K-12, barring schools from discussing gender or sexuality at any grade level.
“DeSantis’ agenda of hate is decimating our state’s reputation nationally, sending talented students and business owners fleeing to states where freedom is a value rather than a hollow slogan, and making Florida less safe for LGBTQ people,” Equality Florida said in a statement. “Free states don’t ban art. Free states don’t force families to co-parent with the government or dictate what entertainment they can and cannot enjoy. Free states don’t issue vague threats to suppress speech and expression or target small businesses,” they continued.
State Senator Shevrin Jones, who is Florida’s first openly gay state senator, greeted the protesters outside the state capitol.
“First of all, I want to acknowledge your existence,” Jones said in his remarks. “I also want to acknowledge and to affirm to you all, that you are supposed to be here and there’s nothing wrong with you.”
Hundreds of protestors in matching red shirts declared this march to be the Drag Queen’s March 2023, with the tagline “The shows must go on.”
“Drag Queens are not just entertainers, we’re valued contributors to society — small business owners, parents, teachers, nurses, first responders and much more. Floridians know we pose no threat,” Darcel Stevens, a drag queen activist from Orlando who organized Tuesday’s protest, said in a statement.
“That’s why we’re united here using our powerful collective voices to encourage political activism, register voters, and resist policies that harm us and the brothers and sisters in our LGBTQIA+ community” Stevens continued. “We are not going anywhere, we will not be silent, we will rise up and we will fight back.”
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