The war on the queer community in this country continues. Soulless Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis has been on a tear this week ramping up his war against our Transgender brothers and sisters. Also under attack – drag queens. Our beloved entertainers have all of a sudden found themselves on the front lines in the war for equality. And make no mistake we are in a war. The latest casualties of this war live in Fort Lauderdale. South Florida Gay News just reported that Wilton Manors Caves to DeSantis Over Drag Shows.
There has been some confusion as to what exactly this means for Pride. Instinct Magazine spoke to City Commissioner Chris Caputo to clarify what Pride will look at. Caputo began by taking aim at the leader of the state saying, “Florida is in the spotlight thanks to Governor DeSantis’ recent legislation, and for the LGBTQ+ community, the fight for our rights is happening right on our doorstep.” The out and proud longtime resident of Wilton Manors knows how important this fight is,
“As a City Commissioner in Wilton Manors — a well-known safe space for LGBTQ+ folks — I know that the stakes are high, especially with Stonewall Street Festival fast approaching. The Governor’s recent attempt to ban drag is a perfect example of the kind of attack we’re fighting against. This is a chance to send a strong message to the Governor that we won’t be bullied or silenced.
The strong message being sent: “let me be clear: drag is not a crime. It’s a form of artistic and political expression protected under the first amendment.” We all know the GOP knows this, they are using drag queens as a distraction from the real problems facing this country like the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our streets. As the conversation continued, talk turned back to DeathSanthis, “Unfortunately, the Governor disagrees, and has threatened elected officials with recall, criminal prosecution for event producers, and fines or liquor license revocation for hospitality venues.”
This fight has only just begun and thankfully Caputo is not alone, “I’m excited to have the support of my fellow city commissioners to appear on a float at this year’s Stonewall Street Festival in drag as “Lady Vote.” He vows to fight these unconstitutional laws in the courts. Until then the Central Area resident wants people to know that Pride is still and will always be ours,
“That’s why I’m calling on everyone to join us at the Stonewall Street Festival on June 17th in Wilton Manors, FL. You’re welcome here, in drag or not! Let’s stand united against tyranny and oppression, and show the Governor that we won’t back down.”
Don’t do his dirty work
Make him toss you out
… a little Disney, Kiev
Stand your ground…
No middle ground.
Make the drag shows bigger
Give us something we can support.https://t.co/PlmNRkXf1T
— Michael Goff (@michael_goff) May 15, 2023
We spent many years in Fort Lauderdale. I became a father there. We celebrated yearly at the Wilton Manors Pride Festival/Parade, this photo was taken there. I just learned that the city’s permit is being amended in anticipation of DeSatan and his legislations. 😡#NotADragQueen pic.twitter.com/FsxVmf2D1R
— 📿🏳️🌈Henry Amador-Batten (@AmadorBatten) May 15, 2023
Mark your calendar for the return of our Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival on 6/17! The street festival kicks off at 3 p.m. and the parade begins promptly at 7 p.m.
Get all the deets here: https://t.co/QrX7URykCi pic.twitter.com/ddQdGEwk2i
— WiltonManorsOfficial (@WiltonManorsCty) May 10, 2023
Here is the original South Florida Gay News story,
Drag queens and other performers who work up and down Wilton Drive, filed into the city commission chamber at Wilton Manors City Hall. They, along with other citizens, stood up and spoke out, urging commissioners to stand with them against the tyranny of Tallahassee.
In the end, the panel sympathized, empathized, and 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 entertainment. The new permit language reads: “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.”
The law is still being analyzed, but it likely means no public performances by drag queens. Queens play an integral part in Stonewall and most prides throughout the world. They host parades and stages as well as perform. It appears that will not be the case at next month’s event. “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,” Jeff Stirling, CEO of Stonewall Pride Inc., told SFGN exclusively. Our Community Is Not Safe’ Before the vote, more than a dozen people got up to speak against the law and the city’s acquiescence.
The Wilton Manors annual Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival is undeniably one of the most anticipated events of the year, and no piece of legislation will change that.
For more weekly updates: https://t.co/4GxdmTkRDq pic.twitter.com/JGHnIyvwr5
— WiltonManorsOfficial (@WiltonManorsCty) May 16, 2023
I’m sure Wilton Manors city officials felt tremendous pressure to vote the way they did amid the extremist anti-LGBTQ right-wing government Florida has to deal with now, but Pride isn’t Pride for me without drag queens.https://t.co/TQWwhc9hi8
— Race Bannon 🇺🇦 🏳️🌈 🌊 ✏ (@BannonRace) May 15, 2023
“The laws are just unjust,” said one speaker representing Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar. “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,” she said. “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.” No Good Choices The city had few choices and none of them were good. To take a principled stand and blatantly allow the law to be broken with the city’s permission could result in political upheaval in the city. Gov. Ron DeSantis has the right to remove elected and appointed officials if he deems they are not enforcing state laws. It is possible the entire city commission and other positions could be filled with lackeys who would blindly do the governor’s bidding.
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, who says decisions are still being made about who will be allowed in the parade. He is open to the idea of a float or delegation of drag entertainers, since that is not a performance. In the end he wants Stonewall and the city to live to fight another day. “There are no good answers. We’re trying to get by and fight again.”
Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival is scheduled for June 17 from 3-11 p.m.
I’m referring to everyone who lives in or is planning on attending Pride in Wilton Manors ( I used to live there)…it doesn’t have to be an official proclamation from the Mayor’s office. pic.twitter.com/JVKjQ8SPFJ
— Kff 🌈🌈💙💙🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🇺🇦🇺🇦☮️☮️ (@Kff02634162) May 14, 2023
@WiltonManorsCty I’m sorry?! TF!
The city of Wilton Manors is all about queer pride, inclusivity, diversity, and acceptance of all ppl. How in the hell are you going to vote against your own constituents and ppl who additionally bring business into your city. https://t.co/JR2c7Qo68W
— SupremeSeaGoat (@JoseLuisCarb) May 16, 2023
(**this post is solely the opinion of this contributing writer and may not reflect the opinion of other writers, staff, or owners of Instinct magazine.”
4 thoughts on “Exclusive: Out City Commissioner On Wilton Manors Pride Drag Ban”
Scary! I have no intention of going there. He is truly evil!
It’s sad to see that the LGBTQ community has to fight again for equality. We’ve seen this in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000’s, and the 2010’s. But I fear this is more dangerous and aggressive than the past 20 years. The queer community in Florida and their allies need to stand strong and show Deathsantis why Pride still exists. We cannot be silenced.
It is sad to see how a “commissioner” exaggerates and lies about legal matters to make himself look like a 🦸♀️.
No drag queen has been arrested . It is very simple no sexual content is allowed in front of minors .
It’s time to go Stonewall on these tyrants.