Drag shows, and the bars that host them, could soon disappear across the entire state of Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration are going after R House in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood after social media posts showed children having a good time at their Sunday Drag Brunch. The administration filed a state complaint saying the show exposes children to “sexually explicit drag shows,” and “corrupts the public morals and outrages the sense of public decency.”

DeSantis has had drag performances in his crosshairs for a while. Following Texas’ lead, he voiced support for investigating parents who take their children to drag shows.

R House and its legal team are working on a response. They could lose their liquor license which would likely put them out of business. Husbands Rocco Carulli and Owen Bale own R House, and said, “We are an inclusive establishment and welcome all people to visit our restaurant. We are hopeful that DeSantis, a vociferous supporter and champion of Florida's hospitality industry and small businesses, will see this as what it is: a misunderstanding, and that the matter will be resolved positively and promptly.”

It doesn’t appear that DeSantis will cooperate. As the situation developed, he cited a 1947 ruling by the Florida Supreme Court ruling that says, “men impersonating women in a suggestive fashion” is against the law. This could target all drag shows as well as trans people.

Brandon Wolf of Equality Florida told SFGN this is yet another attack on LGBT Floridians.

“DeSantis has shown that he is willing to bend state agencies to his will and weaponize them against marginalized communities, including LGBTQ people, in his quest to incite right-wing fervor.”

Lips, home to legendary drag shows including a Sunday brunch, told SFGN that they don’t allow young children into shows.

LGBT Under Constant Attack

This is the latest attack from DeSantis on the community. Last year he went after Wilton Manors Elementary for taking students on a field trip to Rosie’s restaurant to learn about the community and money management. After seeing posts on social media, he sent a representative to the school to ‘investigate.’ Sarah Leonardi, the school board member who led the trip and made the posts, came under attack. Last week she told SFGN that, so far, nothing has come of it and there is no open investigation into her conduct. Broward Schools reflexively banned future visits, but later walked it back and the field trip could happen again this year.

DeSantis’ administration recently told schools to ignore federal rules and guidelines from the US Dept. of Education and US Dept. of Agriculture meant to protect LGBT youth.

The governor and the Republican-led legislature also passed a law banning trans kids from school sports and the infamous Don’t Say Gay (DSG) measure. They justified DSG as giving control to parents, but this latest move does the exact opposite. Parents who bring their kids to drag brunch know what to expect and there is no nudity or sex. R House’s brunch is done on a public sidewalk.

Wolf said targeting R House shows his blatant hypocrisy. “Hooters is headquartered in Clearwater. Has an investigation begun into parents taking their children to ogle in a restaurant with a name based on a sexualized premise/double entendre? What about bikini-clad gun show models? Does he intend to begin policing bathing suit length on public beaches? Since DeSantis is intent on replacing a parent’s judgment with his own, we will see how far the Governor’s puritanical purge is going to go or if it is merely selectively enforced.”

That their Sunday Drag Brunch could put them out of business is ironic. The patio and drag brunch show helped them stay afloat during COVID-19. When indoor dining was still closed, people were ready for an outdoor meal and entertainment.