An LGBTQ organization has cancelled its planned Florida Pride Parade and “Kid Zone” over a bill banning children from attending lewd adult-oriented performances.
The organization was concerned that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could sign Senate Bill 1438 into law before the event took place.
If the bill was signed into law before the event took place, and it was for all ages, the venue risked losing its liquor license and the organization could have lost its non-profit status. Anyone doing a lewd performance in drag in front of children would have been at risk of fines or jail time.
The legislation, which DeSantis is expected to sign, does not specifically state that drag performances in front of minors is banned, but 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.”
The cancelled parade was scheduled to be part of PrideFest.
Other events that were part of the festival were changed from all ages to 21 plus.
“Many all of you know, the political climate that we are currently in has us all very concerned for our community.,” the organization wrote on its website. “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. The city has decided that with the on the side caution and require us to make this change. We are obviously upset and dishearten that it has come to this. We also regret to announce that we will have to cancel our plans to bring back our beloved parade.”
The organization went on to say that they are working on planning a “family-friendly” event where LGBTQ youth can “celebrate who they are.”
“We hope that everyone understands that this definitely not what we wanted at all and are working with the city to assure our safety as well as produce a positive event,” the organization continued in their announcement. “We have held off as long as we could making this announcement as we were hoping it would not have to be made. We hope that everyone still supports out community and attends this event! We will be making an announcement in the near future about a family friendly Party in the Park where our youth can celebrate who they are!”
Local station WPTV reports that the Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast were contacted by the city and informed that they had to ban anyone under 21 to be able to host the event. The City of Port St. Lucie told the station that it was a “mutual decision” between the city and the organization.
PrideFest’s largest sponsors were the Cleveland Clinic and the YMCA.