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Florida Files Complaint Against Bar that Hosts Drag Show for Children

July 27, 2022

Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) served a complaint to a bar that offers drag shows for children. The R House Bar in Miami was recently featured in viral videos in which a topless drag queen can be seen entertaining a young girl. 

“Children have a right to their innocence. Children who are exposed to sexually explicit content are endangered, and their dignity and innocence are demeaned and denied,” said Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council.

The drag performer who paraded around the bar in lingerie hand-in-hand with a child who appears to be between the ages of three and five. When the video went

“This is something I have wondered about: what are the local and state laws that regulate these venues? How is it possible that children could legally be in an establishment that features sexualized dance?” Kilgannon asked. 

The DBPR complaint addressed several instances of lewd performances shown on social media along with first can observations. In the statement, the DBPR wrote that a child “between the ages of ten and twelve” was “seen recoiling and turning away in her seat as a brunch performer climbed on the back of the child’s bench, squatted, and gyrated a couple of feet above the child’s head.” 

“I am glad to know there is an investigation into the matter. It is possible that new prohibitions will need to be codified,” said Kilgannon. “We can forgive lawmakers and regulators for not imagining that children would be subjected to ‘entertainment’ previously understood to be limited to adults.”

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill earlier this year prohibiting public schools from teaching children in K-3 grades about sexuality and gender. 

“Florida passing the Parental Rights in Education bill shows that parents in Florida are committed to protecting children from sexualization,” Kilgannon explained. “The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation pursuing this matter is consistent with the mood of the public, which takes protecting children more seriously than ever.”

Earlier in the summer, DeSantis urged the state’s child protective services to investigate parents who take their children to drag shows. 

“It used to be that kids would be off-limits. Used to be that everybody agreed with that,” DeSantis told reporters. “Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate.”

The R House Bar has 21 days to respond to the administrative complaint. Should the investigation be found to violate local laws and codes, the establishment could potentially lose its liquor license, effectively putting it out of business.

Deborah Laker serves as a staff writer at The Washington Stand.