The drag community is an integral, vibrant part of arts and culture in St. Petersburg. St Pete Pride stands in solidarity with the drag artists who find themselves the latest targets of far-reaching attacks by a regressive State. We are vehemently opposed to homophobic, transphobic HB1423. For that matter, we are opposed to any legislation that would seek to censor art, self-expression, or free speech. When our government’s top priority is manufacturing ways to punish art and artists, we are all worse off; we are less free. When our political leaders prefer to spend time and tax dollars targeting minority groups and censoring entertainment rather than tackling the real, critical issues that their constituents are facing, we are less safe; we are being failed by their leadership. Unlike a drag show, parents cannot choose whether or not their child attends a school shooting. Unaffordable housing, increased costs of living, and lack of access to affordable healthcare are similarly not a matter of choice for parents. We are angry that the drag community must be the latest scapegoat for a government more interested in a Dark Ages-inspired rebrand than in creating meaningful policy that would help struggling families. We are also energized by this attack on our community. SPP supports the work of advocates who are leading the fight against HB1423, and we encourage you to find ways that you can help those efforts and make your voice heard. SPP will continue to work towards a future where all people are free to be themselves and where arts and entertainment are celebrated, not policed.