DeSantis Weighs Child Protective Services Order on Parents Who Take Kids to Drag Shows

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested Wednesday that he could urge state child protective services to investigate parents who take their children to drag shows.

When asked by reporters if he would support a Florida state representative’s bill that would punish parents who take their children to such shows, the governor said he asked his staff to consider the idea.

“We have child protection laws,” the governor said. “We have laws against child endangerment.”

“Previously, children were forbidden. Previously, everyone was okay with that,” DeSantis continued. “Now there seems to be a concerted effort to increasingly expose children to things that are not age-appropriate.”

The debate over whether minors should be allowed to watch drag shows began on Saturday after videos emerged showing young children attending a drag show in Dallas and tipping performers with money. appeared on social media.

The event, “Drag the Kids to Pride Drag Show” – held at the Mr. Mister gay bar – was advertised as a “family spin-offfrom the bar’s “Champagne Drag Brunch” show.

Conservative pundits and lawmakers weren’t convinced. In particular, critics — including DeSantis — pointed to an illuminated sign on the bar’s wall that read “HE’S NOT GOING TO LICK IT.”

“It’s totally inappropriate. It’s not something kids should be exposed to,” DeSantis said Wednesday of the video. “And so, we probably, we can have the ability to deal with something like that if something like that happens.”

Representatives for Mr. Misser could not be reached for comment.

DeSantis’ comments follow those of firebrand Republican Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who also argued that all drag shows should be “illegal” for minors.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson also called the footage “grotesque” and accused parents and performers of “sexualizing children”. Podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey, who has more than 357,000 Twitter followers, suggested that parents, artists and bar owners “should be charged with child sex abuse.” And Republican state representatives in Texas and Florida have gone so far as to announce plans to propose legislation that would prevent children from attending events.

“I will propose legislation to charge with a felony and end the parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these kinky sex shows aimed at FL children,” Florida Representative Anthony Sabatini tweeted. “When will the sexualization of children stop?”

Several famous drag queens have pushed back, criticizing the proposed measures in Texas and Florida and arguing that lawmakers were aiming to “distract“to divert public attention from a lack of new gun laws.

“My thoughts: 1) Our God is a loving God. 2) Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher/role model. 3) Drag is an art form that is subjective. 4) You sir tweeted more about #Drag than the loss at #Uvalde. Is it really about the kids or the politics? #Priorities,” star of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Alyssa Edwards tweeted Tuesday, referring to the site of the recent mass shooting in Texas that left 19 children dead.

Some opponents have also argued that drag shows are “favorable environmentsfor young LGBTQ people to express themselves.

Florida Rep. Carlos Smith, a gay Democrat who has previously criticized DeSantis’ actions regarding LGBTQ Floridians, pounced on DeSantis’ words on Wednesday, sharing that he and her husband hired a drag queen to perform in front of children at the of their marriage.

“Why doesn’t badass #DeSantis come and arrest us?” Smith tweeted. “We’ll be waiting. Our drag queens aren’t going anywhere! Happy #Pride”

DeSantis’ remarks come amid a recent flurry of charged rhetoric surrounding how and if kids should learn about LGBTQ issues.

In recent months, conservative lawmakers, television pundits and other public figures have accused opponents of a recently enacted Florida education law – which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law – to try to “prepare” or “indoctrinate” children. The word “grooming” has long been associated with the miscategorization of LGBTQ people, particularly gay men and transgender women, as child molesters.

DeSantis cited the law, which takes effect in July, at Wednesday’s press conference.

“Part of the reason we did, you know, fought against parent rights and education, is because there’s a movement to inject these things like gender ideology in elementary schools even,” DeSantis said. “And my view is that our schools need to teach these kids to read and write, add and subtract and do the things that are supposed to be done in school.”

Simultaneously, LGBTQ activists have fought against the record number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures this year – more than 320, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

DeSantis’ comments also follow Texas lawmakers’ decision to use Texas Child Protective Services to enact anti-transgender policies.

In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate child abuse complaints filed against parents who may provide their trans children with gender-affirming medical care.

In a mixed decision last month, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a statewide injunction blocking the investigations, but also ruled Abbott had no jurisdiction over them.

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