A pride parade was canceled and attendance at an associated event was limited to patrons 21 and older because of a Florida bill that would ban children from adult sex acts.
“After multiple meetings with city officials, it is with a heavy heart that the Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast has to announce that this weekend’s Pridefest will now be a 21 and over event,” said post a notice on the organization’s page.
The Treasure Coast Pridefest event took place Saturday at the MIDFLORIDA Event Center in Port St. Lucie after city officials and organizers reached an agreement, WPTV reported.
“We are obviously upset and disheartened[ed] that it has come to this,” the organization also wrote, adding that they will soon announce a “Family Party in the Park” “where our young people can celebrate who they are.”
The “Protecting Children” bill, SB 1438, passed Florida’s House on April 19. It prohibits government entities from issuing permits for events that allow children to participate in “live performances for adults” and sets stiff penalties for venue licensees who violate it.
The bill, which is expected to be signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), defines “adult live performances” as “any show, exhibition or other presentation before a live audience that, in in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity. , sexual conduct, sexual arousal or specific sexual activities… lewd conduct or lewd display of prostheses or imitation genitals or breasts.”
Although the bill does not contain the word “drag,” its opponents, such as the ACLU of Florida, say it is a “blatant attempt to erase drag performers and silence the LGBTQ+ community.”
“Nothing in our legislation would limit a pride parade,” Florida House Rep. John Snyder (R) told WPBF. Snyder told the outlet that the bill has nothing to do with drag shows and the annual Treasure Coast Pridefest event would not have had to change anything.
“What we’re focused on is a common-sense approach, standing up for the protection and innocence of our children,” said Representative Snyder.
“This is the one date of the year where they can come out and openly be themselves,” Pridefest organizer and performer Shelita Taylor told WPBF before the event.
“And all of that has been taken away because of bigotry and hatred.”
Watch WPBF’s coverage of the Treasure Coast Pridefest below.
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