Wilton Manors City Hall listened to drag performers and allies, sympathized –and then voted against them.
The issue was amending the permit for Stonewall Pride Inc. to force compliance of a new law that expands the definition of “live adult entertainment” to include drag.
The new permit language says,
Organization responsibilities to Include language regarding a possible new state law pursuant to SB 1438 and HB 1423 (Florida 2023).
These bills, which are anticipated to become law, prohibit performances in violation of section 827.11. Florida Statutes.”
In other words, no public performances by drag queens.
Jeff Stirling, CEO of Stonewall Pride Inc., told SFGN,
We may be constrained by the narrowest interpretation of the law today but that does not dissuade us from our long-term fight against injustice against our community.”
Before the vote, more than a dozen people got up to speak against the law and the city’s acquiescence. One speaker representing Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar said,
The laws are just unjust. We are entertainers. We are emcees.
We are comedians in our culture, not criminals.”
Coco Lords sat near the front in full regalia representing the drag community,
I’m here to make sure we are heard and are seen.
To show that we are one community and we have to represent each other and stand up for each other.”
Michael Rajner, chair of Broward County’s Human Rights Board, said,
We are not safe in Florida, but we stay here. Some of us are going to stay here and fight.
We hope we have enough Democrats that are registered that will vote and we can start stemming that tide.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis could (and likely would) remove elected and appointed officials if he sees they are not enforcing state laws to his liking.
Before the vote, Mayor Scott Newton said people marginalized by the law are still welcome to be part of the event.
We’re proud to have drag queens and the transgender community come and walk and ride in floats down Wilton Drive.
And that’s not going to change, not on our watch.”
The permit language puts the onus on Stirling and Stonewall Pride, who says decisions are still being made about who will be allowed in the parade. They are considering a float or delegation of drag entertainers, since that is not technically a “performance”.
Can you believe this shit? I just checked, it’s 2023!
Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival is June 17, 3-11 PM in Wilton Manors.
“Wilton Manors, Florida – long known as one of the most LGBTQ+-inclusive cities in America – has fallen prey to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.”https://t.co/ZKHuDwF7Vf— Cindy Scott 🏳️🌈🇺🇲🏴🦮⚓🎸🏎🎥 (@cindyscott54) May 17, 2023
(Photo, Stonewall Pride; via SFGN)