TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Drag queens are praising a recent Supreme Court ruling that blocks Florida from punishing businesses that allow children inside drag shows while the case plays out in court.
The “Protection of Children Act” was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis back in May. It bans children from adult live performances that feature sexual or lewd conduct.
Joey Brooks has performed in drag for more than 30 years and believes the Supreme Court sided with all people by making the decision.
“If you don’t want to come to a drag show, you don’t have to come to a drag show,” Brooks said.
The 6-3 vote will allow Brooks to once again show off his talents in front of fans under the age of 18.
“So many families bring their children in because they wanted to expose them, show them what this was, that it wasn’t a bad thing, and they actually would give them a dollar and have them go up there and tip me,” he said.
The Executive Office of Governor Ron DeSantis sent 8 On Your Side a statement following the ruling:
“While we are disappointed in this particular ruling, the Supreme Court did not opine on the merits of our law protecting children from sexualized adult live performances. This case is still pending appeal at the 11th Circuit, and we expect this law to be upheld on the merits.”
Some Pride events throughout the state were cancelled following the law’s signing, including the Pride on the River Festival in Tampa.
“The ruling of that would’ve taken away our liquor licenses forever, it would’ve taken away a lot of our rights for assembly,” said Carrie West, president of Tampa Pride.
West said the organization is planning to bring the event back in 2024.