The Florida drag queen says the DeSantis-backed anti-LGBTQ laws are “exactly what we were taught in schools about how the Nazis came to power.”
A Florida drag queen compared Gov. Ron DeSantis-backed legislation on LGBTQ issues to Nazis.
Other drag queens and local politicians dubbed the government’s efforts “fascism”.
The state recently revoked the liquor license of a hotel that was hosting a drag show.
Florida drag queens compared recent moves by Republican lawmakers targeting their performances — including efforts by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to revoke the liquor license of a hotel hosting a drag show — to Nazis in the 1930s.
“It’s fascism, it’s complete and total, unregulated fascism. and they just do what they want and it’s so dangerous and so scary,” drag performer Mr Ms Adrien – who asked to use her stage name – told Insider.
The DeSantis government moved to revoke the Hyatt Regency Miami’s liquor license after one of its affiliated properties hosted a drag queen Christmas show that some children attended.
In a previous statement to Insider, DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin told Insider that the governor “stands up for the innocence of children in the classroom and throughout Florida.”
But advocates like Equality Florida say the incident is an example of the DeSantis administration “selectively arming state agencies” to target drag performers and venues not harmful to children.
And Chris Caputo, a city commissioner in Wilton Manors, Fla. who has spoken out on LGBTQ issues, said the current situation reminded him of “Nazi Germany.”
“This governor and the current Republican administration are succeeding by marginalizing groups and tearing them down.”
Florida doesn’t feel like home, said one drag queen
Adrien, who was born and raised in South Florida and is now an Orlando-based drag queen, said recent anti-LGBTQ policy changes are making the state feel like it’s no longer at home.
Specifically, Adrien said ongoing narratives about drag shows and minors, like Tuesday’s complaint against the Hyatt Regency Miami, “try to paint a picture that’s just not real … It’s a fake narrative.”
They also cited current and proposed legislation — including an education law, dubbed by critics as “don’t say gay,” restricting discussion of issues like gender in classrooms — as examples of what they called dangerous power grabs.
“That’s exactly what we were taught in schools about how the Nazis came to power,” Adrien said. “Textbook, bullet point by bullet point.”
The DeSantis office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the criticism.
Adrien said that while they have faced hatred and harassment before, there are recent concerns that people are covertly visiting drag shows to take pictures and videos that could be used against queens out of context or improperly edited.
The environment in the state is becoming increasingly hostile, they said.
“These Safe Spaces Will Disappear”
Jason DeShazo is President of the Rose Dynasty Foundation Inc. and appears as drag queen Momma Ashley Rose.
The Rose Dynasty Foundation is a non-profit organization “whose mission is to provide a safe and family-friendly atmosphere for all people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and/or religion,” according to the website.
Their drag brunches, as documented by NBC News, have been welcoming to kids and families.
But after DeSantis’ move to revoke liquor licenses at the Hyatt Regency and two other locations, drag performers like DeShazo’s group and Adrien may struggle to find jobs.
DeShazo called the effort “a witch hunt” and worries that legislation and drag-limiting efforts could prevent LGBTQ children from finding communities to support them.
“This could very well change the way our entire organization is run, if we can function as an organization at all,” DeShazo said. “These safe spaces will disappear.”
According to both DeShazo and Adrien, the economic impact of Florida’s rhetoric is already being felt: Venues are concerned about the content of their performances, shows have been canceled and queens have abandoned events for fear of public backlash.
Adrien said it would hit the drag queen’s wallets.
“They want us to be broke and they want everyone to be afraid of us,” they said.
Despite concerns, proponents are still protesting.
Caputo is currently helping organize the “March in Heels,” a “protest against Florida HB 1011 and other anti-LGBTQ+ laws in Florida,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
HB 1011 would restrict what types of flags government buildings are allowed to fly and would prevent the display of LGBTQ+ flags, pride flags and other flags not listed in the bill.
And both drag queens say they will perform anyway. DeShazo said he promised families and children that he would fight against laws and restrictions. Adrien said they are dating for love and will not give it up.
“I don’t think it’s in my nature to give up,” they said. “Because giving up would be like dropping dead for me.”
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