Tampa Pride Event Canceled Over Concern of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill
A popular Tampa Pride celebration has announced that they will be cancelling their 2023 event. Organizers of Pride on the River have decided to cancel this year in concern over the recently signed Parental Rights in Education Act, otherwise known as the “don’t say gay” bill. The event usually takes place down the Hillsborough River near Armature Works.
The bill can “revoke, suspend, or fine any food service or lodging establishment if the establishment admits a child to an adult live performance.” Even though drag performances are not specifically mentioned, the bill includes “lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts”. Governor DeSantis specified that drag shows are considered an “adult live performance” in a reference conference. And since Pride on the River includes drag performances, this is a violation of the law.
The event is wildly popular in the LGBT+ community and attracts around 15,000-20,000 people. According to News Channel 8, many queens and contestants from Ru Paul’s Drag Race come out to this event. Also other LGBT+ folks fly out from other cities to visit Tampa.
This is not the first pride event in Florida to cancel over the controversial bill. A pride celebration that takes place in Port St Lucie cancelled their parade and set an age restriction on the event. The parade was cancelled due to the presence of drag performers.
The legislature for this bill is aimed to “protect children.” While we understand the Pride on the River organizers strive to be fully inclusive to LGBT+ families. We wonder why they wouldn’t just set an age restriction for the Tampa pride event. As of now, the St. Pete Pride parade is still happening in June.