Governor Ron DeSantis continues to utilize children to advance his anti-LGBTQ agenda.
In its latest effort to sanitize sexuality, the DeSantis administration has now entered a private place of business, threatening to revoke the liquor license of the Hyatt Regency Miami, following the “Drag Queen Christmas” event that was held at the hotel-affiliated James L. Knight Auditorium in December. The admission policy allowed children under the age of 18 to attend the show with an adult.
The DeSantis administration does not take aim directly at the drag queens but instead claims that, because children were exposed to the drag show (despite a warning from the state), the hotel’s premises should lose its liquor license.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation accuses the venue of several violations, including a prohibition of "lascivious exhibition" to people under the age of 16. “The nature of the show’s performances, particularly when conducted in the presence of young children, corrupts the public morals and outrages the sense of public decency.”
“Exposing children to sexually explicit activity” violates the Department's licensing standards for operating a business and holding a liquor license,” claims a DeSantis official.
Last year, Governor DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, commonly referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law, which prohibits public school teachers in Florida from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity.
This is a different kind of war DeSantis has started. It is now clear that DeSantis does not want to protect kids from topics in a public education setting. It is now clear that DeSantis is using kids as a tool to root out a community that contributes to the economy and creates the flair that makes Miami great.
In 1992, the Miami Herald published a collection of stories, “A Gay Renaissance,” highlighting how the influx of gay people to Miami restored dilapidated Art Deco buildings, opened businesses, opened a local chamber of commerce, and built political clout. In 1994, Miami became the first city in Miami-Dade County to ban discrimination based on gender identity. “We are here to live in peace. We are citizens just like everyone else. We are lawyers and doctors and judges. And the fellow who delivers the newspaper, and the ones who are waiting on you, and who are washing your dishes,” said Michael Aller, of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
If the DeSantis administration is genuinely concerned about the welfare of children, it would prohibit them from being permitted to enter establishments like Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks Restaurants, which have locations across the state, where young waitresses are hyper-sexualized, and required to don lingerie while serving liquor to patrons who bring children along.
DeSantis is attempting to set a dangerous precedent which could lead to the administration threatening to close movie theaters where adults to bring their children to movies with sexualized scenes. Or restrictions on concerts like Lady Gaga, Madonna and Beyonce. Now is the time for Floridians to stand up to this witch hunt against the LGBTQ community disguised as an effort to protect the children.
Tamara Holder is a nationally recognized civil rights attorney. She built a pro bono legal clinic at Rainbow Push Coalition under Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr, and was a progressive legal analyst on Fox News Channel for nearly a decade.