OPINION: Drag shows are not for children

SB 1438 provides positive societal change by not allowing children to attend inappropriate drag shows. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/UNSPLASH

In the U.S., the month of June is officially recognized as Pride month. This has caused numerous Pride events to be hosted in Tampa, according to a June 1 WUSF article. Senate Bill 1438 being passed on May 17 puts stipulations on children attending drag shows in Florida.  

Children should not be allowed to attend drag shows if inappropriate behavior is being displayed at events.

Drag is defined as “a type of entertainment where people dress up and perform, often in highly stylized ways,” according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

These shows are hosted by individuals dressed to exaggerate the opposite, or their own, gender.

SB 1438 defines an adult live performance as a “show, exhibition or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities,” according to SB 1438.

Children are not allowed to attend shows that fall under this definition.

Even though ‘drag show’ is never stated in the bill, many people have quickly assumed that SB 1438 is targeted at drag shows.

“I think that a lot of people don’t realize the targeting of drag performers is the first step to targeting trans people, because a lot of these folks see trans people as a type of performance, some sort of dress up,” USF graduate student and alum Charlie Suor said in a June 6 article with The Oracle. 

This bill is not targeting the LGBTQ community, it’s protecting children from seeing inappropriate adult content.

Adult live performances are a genre of entertainment unsuitable for children. If drag shows fall into this category, then kids should not be allowed to view them.

Environmental engineering senior Aleyda Matamoros agreed with SB 1438, stating drag shows are inappropriate and unfit for children.

“It’s very similar to burlesque and it can be equated to actual stripping,” Matamoros, who identifies as bisexual, said in a June 6 article by The Oracle. 

”I don’t think children should be around this kind of sexual, very high-energy performance,” she said.

ACLU Director Kara Gross said she is concerned that SB 1438 contains vague language.

“The unclear and vaguely worded bill will impact businesses and venues that host plays, musical performances, art exhibits and other forms of expression that the state may subjectively deem inappropriate,” Gross said in an April 11 article.

However, SB 1438 states that “lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts” is the action that determines what is inappropriate for a child to view.

Children do not need to be exposed to these things at such an early age. 

SB 1438 isn’t a bill that attacks the LGBTQ community – it’s a bill that protects children. Sexually displaying oneself in front of children is something that no community should be advocating for, especially if it means not allowing children to view drag shows.