Florida lawmaker wants to penalize parents who take children to drag shows

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini to propose legislation after West Palm Beach 'drag show for kids'
Anthony Sabatini says children shouldn't attend Florida drag shows
Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 06:25:16-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida lawmaker plans to propose legislation that would punish parents who take their children to drag shows.

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, made the announcement Monday on Twitter in response to last weekend's Pride-themed event in West Palm Beach.

Sabatini, who is running for Congress, said he intends to draft legislation that would charge adults with a felony and "terminate the parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows."

"When will the sexualization of children stop?" he added.

His tweet was in response to last Saturday's "Pride on the Block: Drag Show for Kids" event in downtown West Palm Beach.

The event was sponsored by Rohi's Readery, a social justice-oriented children's bookstore and learning center, according to its website. The event listing said it "promotes diversity and inclusivity" intended to foster "social justice abilities." It was billed as "the first drag show for kids" at West Palm Beach's annual celebration.

"Adults can do what they want, but children should not be going into these shows," Sabatini told WPTV's Josh Navarro during a Zoom interview Wednesday.

WATCH: Anthony Sabatini: Children shouldn't go to drag shows

Anthony Sabatini: Children shouldn't go to drag shows

Gov. Ron DeSantis also weighed on the topic during a news conference Wednesday in Fort Myers Beach.

"Targeting these kids with all this stuff, you know, it used to be kids would be off-limits," DeSantis said. "It used to be everybody agreed with that, and now it just seems like there's a concerted effort to be exposing kids."

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach County Library System was preparing to host "a lively discussion about the artistry of drag performance," followed by a question-and-answer session, Wednesday night at the Hagen Ranch Road Branch.

Unlike the drag show, however, this event was not for children. The event listing on the library website categorized it as an "adult" class.

"No one else has the right to try to go in and sway and culturally or socially determine a child's upbringing and outcome," Palm Beach County resident Christine Scott said. "That belongs to that family and the parents of that child, and to try to overrule what happens in one's own family is inappropriate."

Several members of the LGBTQ+ community contacted WPTV with the statement below.

"In light of recent events and threats against LGBTQ+ community we want to make the following statement clear:

We live in a free society. Our strengths as a people come from the collective backgrounds, beliefs and lives of our diverse communities. We understand that there is increased rhetoric focused on limiting the freedoms of our citizenry, including an attack on the rights of parents to raise their children in a manner that is best for their families. We will continue to host our events and will provide a safe space for all open-minded, accepting individuals to enjoy the diversity of these freedom loving communities everywhere.

Signed by,
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center, the Pride Business Alliance, Transpire Help, and Pride on the Block."