DeSantis May Prevent Parents from Taking Kids to Drag Queen Shows

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested last week that he might prompt his state legislature to take action to prevent parents from taking minor children to sexualized events like “drag queen” shows.

The governor’s comments came in response to the news coverage of a recent drag show in Texas. That coverage included video of children watching men dressed as women perform sexually charged dance routines inside a bar.

Conservatives and children’s advocates criticized the decision-making of the parents involved. Gay rights advocates either passed the event off as insignificant or praised it as a positive learning experience for youngsters.

During a press conference at which he was asked about the event, DeSantis said that Florida might “have the ability to deal with that” if a similar situation arose in the state. He said that having 9 or 10-year-olds at a drag show where children are seen stuffing dollar bills into a man’s underwear is “totally inappropriate.”

DeSantis went on to say that children used to be “off-limits” and everyone agreed to leave them alone. He said that the push to expose kids to things that are not age-appropriate is part of a “concerted effort.”

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R), who is running for Congress in this year’s midterm elections, called for an emergency special legislative session on the matter. He pointed to an advertisement that appeared last week in West Palm Beach for a “Pride on the Block: Drag Show for Kids” event.

When DeSantis was asked about Sabatini’s call for a special session, he said he has asked his staff to look into the matter. He noted that the state already has laws in place against child endangerment.

The governor said that he wants to let children grow up “in a normal environment” without having political or sexual agendas “shoved down their throats.”

DeSantis signed the Florida Parental Rights in Education state bill into law earlier this year. That law includes prohibitions against explicit public school education on sexual orientation or gender identity between kindergarten and third grade. In higher grades, such types of education must be “age-appropriate.”

DeSantis said that part of the reason the state passed the parents’ rights in education law is because of the larger national movement to inject highly sexualized content like “drag shows” into elementary schools. He added that schools should instead be teaching children reading, writing, and math.

Sabatini added that his call for a special session would not be for the purpose of outlawing drag shows, but only for preventing children from attending. He said that if adults want to “do these drag shows on their own time, that’s fine. But not involving kids and not aimed at kids.”