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Op-Ed: Will Gay Key West Pride In Florida Follow the “Protection of Children” Legislation At June Event?

Gay Key West
The Annual Key West Gay Pride Parade on June 10, 2018, held in Old Town Key West. File photo: Chuck Wagner, Shutter Stock, licensed.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida bill (SB 1438), entitled “Protection of Children” received final approval on April 19 in an 82-32 party-line vote. The bill seeks to block venues from admitting children to “adult live performances.” 

It defines “adult live performances” as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation that is performed in front of a live audience and in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, specific sexual activities,…lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.” 

Would the bill restrict Pride events? An article in The Daytona Beach News-Journal asks, “It seems so. The bill would prohibit local governments from issuing public permits for events that could expose children to the targeted behavior. Also, it would allow state regulators to suspend or revoke licenses of restaurants, bars and other venues that violate the law.” 


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Venues will have to ensure that children are not allowed in any adult performance at risk of fine, suspension or loss of license, with the possibility of an additional $5,000 fine for the first violation and a $10,000 fine for the second and subsequent violations. Knowingly allowing a child to attend an adult performance would be a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. 

Adults attending the Gay Key West Pride event in Florida in June can twerk and jerk until the cows come home – as long as minors are not in the audience watching raunchy drag queen performances or participating in lewd entertainment. Kids and drag queens don’t mix. 

After reading several websites about the Pride event in June, the following is my opinion: 

It appears the evening Vibrator Races at Mary Ellen’s Bar is for adults only. “Join us for a night of silliness like nowhere else…There is a dong gong. You will be expected to have fun, BID ON VIBRATORS and drink. This is not a spectator sport, so be prepared to get involved. The more fun you have, the more fun we have, the more money we raise, the more people we help. Fun (and booze) fuels this party.” 

10 pm to 4 am is the “Somewhere Over the Rain Glow Underwear Glow party.” The advertisement says “Break out the day glow underwear, paint your face/ body and glow the night away!”  

I assume kids are not up this late at night. 

The Key West Pride Drunken’ Drag Brunch at Mangoes restaurant doesn’t list an age restriction, however the ticket website says “21+ event.” 

The Big Gay5K Award Ceremony is at the Aquaplex bar/nightclub with nightly drag queen shows. “Enjoy a protein rainbow inspired breakfast and a free shot of unicorn pee. Plus, a DJ and guest Drag queen appearance!” It says ages 21+ on the page for reservations.  

Live theater with “HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH” @ The Waterfront Theater is definitely for adults. The BBC says the story centers on Hedwig, a singer in a punk-rock band (in drag) from East Berlin now living in Kansas following botched gender reassignment surgery that left him with an “angry inch.” I could not find an age requirement on the ticket page. 

The Gulf, a play, written by Audrey Cefaly at the Fringe Theater Key West is certainly not for children. There is a lot of intense profanity, taking God’s name in vain, and discussion of adult issues. Read parts of the transcript HERE. 

The Big Gay 5K is holding its 1st in person event in Key West, Florida…With the Start and Finish line at the world famous Rainbow Crosswalk on Duval Street, this is an Event you won’t want to miss. According to the website, minors under 18 are allowed to sign up for the race. 

My question: Are children allowed at the following event? 

With Queens from start to finish, this is the party you need to kick off your PRIDE WEEK Saturday.” (bold emphasis mine) 

My question: Are children going to be watching the following outdoor drag queen show? 

On Saturday is the “Key West Pride Street Fair featuring a variety of vendors, and a drag show!” 

The parade application website states: “This is a Family-friendly parade. NO nudity or lewd behavior will be allowed.” But, will drag queens be riding on floats?

Side bar: You would not want to take your kids to the following hotels. It’s a no-brainer that children should not be walking around with naked men. Big Gay Key West features exclusive access to 4 all-male clothing optional resorts: Island HouseNew Orleans HouseAlexander’s GuesthouseEquator Resort.  

In summary, the Gay Key West Pride event in June is for adults and not minors – my opinion.  

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