Tampa Pride Event Canceled Over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

An LGTBQ+ pride event usually held along the riverwalk in Tampa, Florida, has been canceled after hard-right Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bevy of anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law this week.

Tampa Pride President Carrie West confirmed to several local news outlets that the event, called Tampa Pride on the River, would not go ahead in September because it features drag performances at a public venue. One of the state’s new laws targets drag where it might be visible to minors.

“In the end, we didn’t want to take any chances,” West told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday.

“Really, I’m sorry,” West told WFLA, an NBC affiliate.

The event usually draws around 20,000 people to downtown Tampa for food, drinks and entertainment in an area without any fencing, according to a St. Petersburg CBS affiliate.

It is at least the second pride event to be canceled as Florida Republicans continue to attack the LGBTQ+ community. Officials in Port St. Lucie — a city north of West Palm Beach — axed a pride parade last month.

On Wednesday, DeSantis appeared at Tampa’s private Cambridge Christian School with a fistful of Sharpies to sign a number of bills curbing the rights of LGBTQ+ people in his state, which he dubbed “a citadel of normalcy.”

In addition to targeting drag shows, the new legislation bans gender-affirming health care for minors, including puberty blockers, while implementing new rules for adults who elect the procedures. It bars people from using bathrooms associated with their gender identity and cracks down on preferred pronoun use in schools. DeSantis also expanded the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law to reach classrooms from pre-K through eighth grade, prohibiting in vague terms any mention of gender identity.

The governor tossed the Sharpies used to sign the bills into a crowd of onlookers, PBS Newshour noted.

DeSantis is widely expected to announce his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in the coming days.