MIAMI – Gov. Ron DeSantis has defended parents’ rights during the pandemic, saying it should be up to them whether or not their children should comply with public health measures. But when videos showed kids in a drag queen show, parental rights didn’t cross my mind.
Attorney Nicole Alvarez is among the critics who have called out DeSantis for the contradiction. The R House, a restaurant and lounge, has a gallery for art exhibitions and a stage for performances, in Miami’s Wynwood. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the stage presents the Drag Extravaganza.
DeSantis said he aims for the R house to protect children, but some parents like Alvarez, who see drag shows as a creative form of artistic expression, said it’s not his call.
“If I choose to take my daughter to a drag show, the business will be penalized for my choice. I mean, I really don’t see the correlation,” Alvarez said, adding that DeSantis “has always said that parents have the right to make choices for their children, that private businesses have the right to do business as they see fit. reasonable. Honestly, this is an overkill.”
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation threatened to revoke R house’s liquor license for corrupting “public morals.” DeSantis mentioned the children’s menu.
While federal public health officials recommended implementing face masks and COVID-19 vaccines, DeSantis said the mandates won’t happen in Florida. He also opposed restrictions on businesses during the pandemic.
“Together we have made Florida the freest state in these United States,” DeSantis said during his State of the State address, which kicked off the 2022 legislative session in Tallahassee. “While so many around the country have consigned people’s rights to the graveyard, Florida has stood as the vanguard of freedom.”
While appealing to America’s far right, DeSantis went on to sign a bill that limited public education about gender identity or sexual orientation, and he banned transgender girls from playing school sports. Alvarez said DeSantis just doesn’t make sense.
“It’s only free for some,” Alvarez said.
Bryan Griffin, a spokesman for DeSantis, released a statement describing the drag show as “sexually explicit” and categorizing the criticism as only coming from the political opposition.
“The parents are not subject to this complaint,” Griffin wrote. “It is the restaurant that is advertising sexually explicit dancing for children, as promoted on their children’s menu. And, as the governor said, that’s not appropriate, and the state of Florida is not going to make it easy.”
Alex Fernandez, who performs at R House under the stage name Maritrini, said that R house drag shows are a form of artistic expression and are not sexually explicit.
Even state officials described the show as a nuisance.
“They are talented dancers. They are talented actors and actresses. For them to be called a nuisance and to simplify their art is an insult,” said Alvarez.
Alison Davis, who was visiting Wynwood from Atlanta, Georgia, said maybe business owners could set age restrictions to avoid harassment.
The owners of R House hired a lawyer to help them deal with state officials.
“We hope that Governor DeSantis, a vocal supporter and champion of Florida’s hospitality industry and small businesses, will see this for what it is, a misunderstanding, and that the matter will be resolved positively and promptly,” the business owners said. in one. statement.
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Local 10 News reporter Christian De La Rosa contributed to this report.
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