South Florida LGBTQ+ leaders call proposed legislation 'attack on the rights of parents'

Florida lawmaker threatens criminal penalties for parents who take kids to drag shows
Families protest in Florida Capitol with sign "Free Mom Hugs If You Vote No On 'Don't Say Gay' Bill"
Posted at 11:25 AM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 17:36:44-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Leaders of the South Florida LGBTQ+ community said Friday they'll continue to "host our events and will provide a safe space for all open-minded, accepting individuals" after a recent "drag show for kids" event in West Palm Beach prompted a Florida lawmaker to propose legislation penalizing adults who allow children to participate.

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, said earlier this week on Twitter that "drag sex shows aimed at children have come to Florida," citing June 4's "Pride on the Block: Drag Show for Kids" event in downtown West Palm Beach.

Sabatini said that's why he wants to enact legislation that would charge adults with a felony and terminate their parental rights if they bring a child "to these perverted sex shows."

But South Florida's LGBTQ+ community isn't backing down from hosting similar events in the future.

"We live in a free society," the joint statement said. "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."

The statement was signed by the Compass Community Center, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the Pride Business Alliance, Transpire Help and Pride on the Block.

Sabatini, who is running for Congress, told WPTV's Josh Navarro on Wednesday that he doesn't care if adults want to participate.

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

Anthony Sabatini: Children shouldn't go to drag shows

"They're just not appropriate for children," Sabatini told WPTV. "We don't need any sort of sexually provocative show aimed toward children. Children should not be involved."

June is Pride month in honor of New York's 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising, which is considered to be the birth of the LGBTQ+ liberation movement.