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Let Kids Be Kids: DeSantis May Use Child Safety Laws To Ban Drag Shows in Florida

The Kid Zone at RuPaul's DragCon UK presented by World Of Wonder at Olympia London on January 19, 2020, in London, England. / Getty Images
• June 9, 2022 3:40 pm

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Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) said he may use child safety laws to ban drag shows for kids after a "Drag Show for Kids!" event in West Palm Beach.

DeSantis said he is exploring the use of "child protective statutes" and "laws against child endangerment" to prohibit the shows. Another drag show in Dallas went viral this week, prompting one Florida lawmaker to say he will introduce legislation to criminalize bringing kids to such events. DeSantis noted there was "graphic language" used at the Dallas drag show, including a neon sign that read, "It’s not gonna lick itself."

"You had these very young kids, and they must have been like 9, 10 years old, at a ‘drag show’ where they were putting money in the underwear of this—and that is totally inappropriate," DeSantis said in a news conference in Fort Myers on Wednesday. "That is not something that children should be exposed to."

The Florida governor likened his efforts to ban drag entertainment for children to his March Parental Rights in Education bill, which banned instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade. The Biden administration issued a "Fact Sheet" after the bill passed, condemning "anti-transgender legislative attacks" and supporting the Equality Act, which would allow minors to undergo gender-transition therapies without parental permission.

A California Democratic state senator in response to DeSantis suggested codifying drag shows for children at schools in his state.

"This guy just gave me a bill idea: Offering Drag Queen 101 as part of the K-12 curriculum," Scott Wiener tweeted. "Attending Drag Queen Story Time will satisfy the requirement."

DeSantis's education bill, the governor said, was enacted to preserve a "normal environment" where kids "read and write and add and subtract," instead of having leftwing teachers and administrators "shov[e] political agendas down their throats."

"We want to have our kids be kids," DeSantis said.

Published under: Florida, Ron DeSantis