Jun 13, 2022 - Politics

Florida and Texas Republicans want to ban kids from drag shows

Illustration of a no-sign being drawn in red lipstick.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Bringing children to drag shows could be criminalized in Florida.

Driving the news: State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) said he plans to propose legislation to make bringing a child to a drag show a felony with the potential to terminate parental rights.

  • Sabatini called for an emergency special legislative session last week, citing a recent Pride on the Block: Drag Show for Kids in West Palm Beach.
  • This comes a day after a Texas lawmaker announced his plan to introduce legislation to ban minors from attending drag shows in the state, citing videos of a Drag the Kids to Pride Drag Show in Dallas.

Why it matters: Texas and Florida have become foils of each other, ramping up similar anti-LGBTQ legislation.

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration took action against trans health care earlier this month.
  • A judge in Texas on Friday temporarily blocked Gov. Greg Abbott's order for state officials to investigate parents for child abuse if they seek gender-affirming care for their trans children.

Flashback: Children attending drag performances has been under debate since 2018 as libraries around the nation ran into controversy as they tried to host Drag Queen Story Hours.

The other side: Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani told Florida Politics that Republicans' recent push for family values is grounded in homophobia and transphobia.

  • "If you have concerns about sexualized content being available to those under the age of 18, then why are we not talking about Hooters or cheerleading or beauty pageants or billboards in our communities or magazines at the store or internet ads?" Eskamani asked. "It's just a continuation of homophobic rhetoric disguised as safety concerns."
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