Leigh Shannon Faces Backlash Amid Florida Legislation

Leigh Shannon Faces Backlash Amid Florida Legislation

LGBTQ drag performer Florida backlash legislation

In the midst of Florida’s evolving political landscape, LGBTQ drag performer Leigh Shannon is grappling with the repercussions of the Protection of Children bill, a piece of legislation that has successfully passed through the Florida House and Senate. As the bill awaits the signature of Governor Ron DeSantis, Shannon sheds light on the unsettling consequences he and his business are facing.

The Protection of Children bill specifically targets live adult shows, prohibiting minors from attending. Despite its pending status, Hamburger Mary’s, the venue where Shannon organizes and performs in a cabaret show in downtown Orlando, has already implemented restrictions. Shannon reveals that anyone under 18 is now prohibited from attending his Saturday night cabaret show, showcasing preemptive measures taken in anticipation of the bill becoming law.

The impact of this legislation goes beyond the legal realm, manifesting in tangible challenges for Shannon. He has experienced a noticeable decline in attendance at his shows, estimating a reduction of approximately 20% in recent weeks. Moreover, the hostile political rhetoric surrounding the bill has escalated to threatening phone calls directed at Shannon. Recognizing the need for increased security, one of Shannon’s shows in Brevard County took the precautionary step of hiring extra security personnel.

Shannon, who also owns Ritzy Rags Wigs & More in College Park, where he supports cancer patients by donating and fitting wigs, shares the distressing encounters he has faced. Harassing phone calls, including one where an unknown caller ominously hinted at the end of Shannon’s drag shows, highlight the personal toll this backlash has taken on him and his business.

Reflecting on the progress made over decades to attain acceptance in both business and performance, Shannon expresses concern about regression due to the current political climate in Florida. He emphasizes the importance of allies in the community stepping forward to counteract the negative momentum. According to Shannon, powerful voices are essential in challenging the demonization of trans individuals and drag shows.

In the face of adversity, Shannon remains resilient, calling for collective action to preserve the hard-won acceptance of the LGBTQ community. As Florida navigates its political landscape, the repercussions of legislation like the Protection of Children bill underscore the ongoing struggle for acceptance and equality.

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