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Orlando Democrat calls DeSantis administration investigation into Christmas show a drag

World AIDS Day Atlanta 2022
Jenni Girtman/AP
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FR84360 AP
IMAGES DISTRIBUTED FOR AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION - In celebration of World AIDS Day, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation hosts a drag show where Kornbread entertains before Atlanta AIDS Walk. (Jenni Girtman/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

Orlando Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani is calling the DeSantis administration’s investigation into a drag show touring the state, hypocritical.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation threatened the licenses of both The Plaza Live in Orlando and a South Florida venue if minors were allowed to attend a show they hosted called “A Drag Queen Christmas.”

In letters sent to both businesses, the department claimed the performance had been marketed to children and that it was sexually explicit.

Eskamani said these actions aren’t about protecting kids. Instead, they're a direct attack on LGBTQ people and their freedom to exist in the state.

“Some content like going to a Hooters is not seen as sexually explicit or inappropriate for children, but watching a drag show performance which is theatrical in nature is," said Eskamani. "The fact that one is better than the other based on some skewed perspective of morality. It's, it's sick, it's homophobic, it's rooted in a political agenda.”

Eskamani said she’s not only worried about the impact these actions might have on the safety of the LGBTQ community, but on the solvency of local mom-and-pop businesses.

“It’s not even just the culture wars that are concerning and the conflation of LGBTQ plus identity to sexual activity," said Eskamani. "It's also the fact that they're going after small businesses and nonprofit leaders and institutions in our community that have been really beacons of hope and light, you know, especially in these past years.”

Eskamani says she’s concerned DeSantis and conservative Republicans might try to pass an all-out ban on drag shows during the next legislative session.

Republicans allege drag shows and even drag queen story hours are inappropriate for children.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of both the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. In her free time, she enjoys playing her guitar, writing fiction, and cooking.
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