A popular and longstanding restaurant in Orlando, Florida, has filed a lawsuit targeting the state’s GOP Governor Ron DeSantis over a law he signed that targets drag performances, though such shows are not completely prohibited under the new legislation.
The restaurant, known as Hamburger Mary’s Orlando, has a history of hosting family-friendly drag shows that, like so many other similar performances, feature nothing sexually explicit. It’s literally just another form of expression towards which some might be inclined over the theatricality, the break with gender norms, or anything similar — and it’s something after which Republicans in Florida and other states have feverishly gone with recent legislative pushes. As recapped in news reports, the new legislation from DeSantis blocks the attendance of children at a broadly defined category of performances, using language obviously written to generally include drag shows. Events involving “the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts” are covered by the ban.
“This bill has nothing to do with children, and everything to do with the continued oppression of the LGBTQ+ community,” a statement on Facebook from the Orlando location of Hamburger Mary’s said. “Anytime our [legislators] want to demonize a group, they say they are coming for your children. In this case, creating a false narrative that drag queens are grooming and recruiting your children with no factual basis or history to back up these accusations AT ALL!”
Outlined in the actual lawsuit are business impacts that the restaurant has suffered as a result of the state policy push, CNN noted. To avoid the possibility of serious penalties, they’re no longer allowing children at any of their drag shows, and they’ve seen a dip in reservations, losing one-fifth of those who said they would be attending an event scheduled last weekend.
Though so-called freedom is, of course, a popular topic in comments from political figures like DeSantis, the reality of what they’re doing is something entirely different. For instance, he has also signed legislation mandating transgender individuals use the bathroom at certain places (including government buildings) that corresponds to their sex assigned at birth, and he even signed a ban on policies for using pronouns for teachers and students other than those corresponding again to their sex assigned earlier in life. He’s still expected to soon be formally announcing a campaign for president, in which he’d be seeking the Republican nomination.