Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled he would consider a law stripping rights from parents who take their children to drag shows.
After video of a “Drag the Kids to Pride” event in Dallas sparked right-wing outrage, several GOP lawmakers proposed laws restricting children from drag shows.
In Florida, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Republican candidate for Congress, proposed legislation to charge parents with felonies and terminate the parental rights of any adult who brings a child “to these perverted sex shows aimed at FL kids.”
“When will the sexualization of children stop?” Sabatini tweeted.
Asked about Sabatini’s proposal at a press conference Friday, DeSantis, a prospective Republican candidate for president, said he would consider signing the law.
“I’ve asked my folks to look,” DeSantis said at a Fort Myers press conference. “We have child protective statutes on the books. We have laws against child endangerment.”
He specifically referenced the Dallas video.
“You had these very young kids, they must have been 9, 10 years old at a quote ‘drag show’ where they were putting money in the underwear. That is totally inappropriate,” he said. “That is not something that children should be exposed to. So we probably may have the ability to deal with that if something like that happens. There is also very graphic language in that thing, and people got a lot of video and a lot of stuff from it. I think that was really, really disturbing.
“Look, we want to have our kids be kids, okay. They want to have normal environments.”
He then alluded to the recent passage of what his office billed as a “parent’s rights in education” law, better known as the “don’t say gay” bill, which prohibits teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation with children in kindergarten through third grade and requires discussion with students at any level to be “age-appropriate.”
“There’s a movement to inject these things like gender ideology in elementary schools even,” he said. “My view is, our schools need to be teaching our kids to read and write and add and subtract, and do the things that are supposed to be done in school.”
In response to DeSantis’s comments, Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, tweeted, “It has never been about respecting parents. It’s always been about dehumanizing LGBTQ children and adults to appeal to the ignorance & fear of his extremist base as [DeSantis] prepares to run for President. He doesn’t care if he imprisons parents or harms children.”
Earlier this week Texas state Rep. Brian Slaton, a Republican who represents a district outside of Dallas, announced that he will introduce a bill in the Texas House of Representatives in the coming days that would ban children from drag shows.
Following Slaton's announcement Monday, Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez said in a statement to The Advocate, “In spite of Rep. Slaton’s attempts to harass, demean, and belittle his own LGBTQ+ constituents on the floor of the Texas House, none of his numerous anti-trans amendments were adopted. In a state that has a history of being openly hostile to LGBTQ+ people, drag shows have been creating safe places for our community for nearly a century. As early as the 1930s there was a thriving drag scene in San Antonio.”