MIAMI. – Tampa Pride, the organizer of one of the largest public confluence parades for the LGBTQ+ community in Florida, announced the cancellation of its Pride on the River event.
The decision comes shortly after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a series of bills that will have some impact among the LGBTQ+ community in the state.
One of these measures seeks to penalize companies that allow children to participate in “live performances for adults”, such as drag shows.
The Tampa Pride organization said its decision to cancel Pride on the River was “explained in detail” in a Facebook post.
In this statement, Tampa Pride President Carrie West expressed her concern for the LGBTQ+ community and called for action to express her dissatisfaction with the measures Tallahassee implemented.
According to West, it is important that all Floridians come together to defend the lives and rights of LGBTQ+ people.
The cancellation of the event is a form of protest and a show of solidarity according to their statements.
“In the end, we didn’t want to take any chances,” West said.
Held in September, the festival attracts 15,000 to 20,000 visitors to the Riverwalk and Armature Works area.
Given the lack of sufficient space to carry out the event without violating the new laws, the organizers were forced to cancel it, as explained.
Last year’s Pride on the River on September 24 included events such as a variety boat parade, fireworks show, drag luncheon and live performances.
SB 1438, signed at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, holds businesses liable “if the establishment admits a child to a live performance by an adult”.
In addition, it prohibits gender reassignment services to minors, prohibits discussion of personal pronouns in schools, and requires people to use certain bathrooms.
In this context, the DeSantis administration filed a complaint in December against the Hyatt Regency Miami hotel for holding a “Drag Queen Christmas” event, under the condition that they allowed minors to participate in the show.
The complaint seeks to revoke the hotel’s liquor license and has been seen by many as an attempt to censor and restrict the freedom of expression of the LGBTQ+ community.