Wilton Manors Pride event features Commissioner as ‘Lady Vote’ testing new anti-drag law
photo via Facebook

Chris Caputo
Tampa canceled their Pride event in response to the new law, but a Wilton Manors Commissioner is doubling down with an appearance as 'Lady Vote.'

Tampa might have canceled its Pride event due to a new, anti-drag show law, but one Wilton Manors City Commissioner says he’s ready to risk the Governor’s wrath for his performance at the city’s upcoming Stonewall Pride Parade.

Commissioner Chris Caputo will be at the June 17 parade as “Lady Vote,” according to a post on his Facebook page. Caputo says he’s ready to test — and perhaps push to strike down — the new law that bans having children at live shows that “in whole or in part” depict or simulate “nudity, sexual conduct,” or the exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.

“Personally, I don’t believe drag performances at our stonewall cultural event are illegal,” Caputo wrote. “I believe they are of artistic and political value, and I am comfortable showing up in drag. If the Governor disagrees with that, he is welcome to recall my seat and we can fight it out in the courts.”

The anti-drag bill (SB 1438) originally targeted food and beverage venues for criminal charges — a first-degree misdemeanor — if children were exposed to these “adult live performances.” But an amendment added on the Senate floor also subjects city officials to charges if they issue a permit for an event that exposes children to the same thing.

It was seen, in many quarters, as criminalizing Pride events, which often feature drag queens. The same day that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure — which doesn’t explicitly mention “drag shows” — Tampa Pride canceled its annual Pride on the River event, citing the state’s current political climate.

“In the end, we didn’t want to take any chances,” Carrie West, president of Tampa Pride, told the Tampa Bay Times.

Wilton Manors’ event typically attracts 50,000 spectators and has a direct economic impact of more than $6 million, according to the event’s website.

Caputo argues in his post that drag shows are not illegal. And he’s happy to be the person that will clarify in the courts whether simply dressing as Lady Vote is a violation of the law. He said he disagrees with the state’s “supposed” interpretation of what adult entertainment is — the drag queens at Wilton Manors’ event have not been what most people would call “lewd,” his post says.

But he’s willing to find out exactly how the law defines it in practice.

“It’s an opportunity to clash with the Governor if he wants to push an abusive, inappropriate interpretation of the law and infringe on my civil rights,” Caputo wrote of his upcoming appearance as Lady Vote.

In the comments to his post, Caputo gets more explicit, “I am hoping to address the discrimination by escalating it to a court battle where the law can be struck down.”

He did not respond to a text seeking further comment.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Mercury Shampoo Ed 👍

    May 19, 2023 at 10:47 am

    DeSantis will be sued if he lays a hand on the performers. His far right political gangsters and Taliban Sharia Law whackos will be sued.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 19, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Lady Vote, you go girl! Rhonda is fixing to expose himself to the public as all talk, a rube, and a boob. Either that, or Rhonda will foolishly have Lady Vote arrested, exposing Rhonda even more as being anti-freedom and as a person not to be trusted with the public dollars or the public good.

    • Michael K

      May 19, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      It takes a real man to wear a dress. Lady Vote is more man than Little D could ever hope to be. Show us all what real Florida pride is. And thank you for standing up to the bigoted bullies!

  • AR15s for freedom

    May 19, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Trying again, maybe it’ll show up this time: Will the AR15 crowd show up to defend freedom or not? I bet not! 2A, totally useless for its original intended purpose of whites maintaining control over their slaves, and totally useless for its currently alleged intended purpose of protecting individuals from government tyranny. If the AR15 crowd doesn’t show up to defend freedom, they clearly do not really need their AR15s since they are not really using their AR15s to defend the rights of individuals.

    • AR15 Chumps

      May 19, 2023 at 11:12 am

      If any AR15 chumps show up, they’ll be on Rhonda the Chimp’s anti-freedom side of the “discussion.”

  • Linwood Wright

    May 19, 2023 at 11:41 am

    Hell yes.

  • Antonio

    May 19, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    There is no anti-drag bill, stop with the bullshit. The real question is why are certain people wanting children at these events? Leave the kids out of it and there is no problem.

    • Michael K

      May 20, 2023 at 10:19 pm

      Did it ever occur to you that gay people are parents, siblings, sons, daughters aunts, uncles, god-parents, grandparents and family members – that there are children of gay people as well as neighbors, co-workers, fellow congregants and friends of gay people?

      There is a problem all right – and the “children” are just an excuse to erase LGBTQ people. The problem is authoritarian politicians like our governor who are perverse bullies deriving sadistic pleasure from inflicting cruelty on others.

      • Antonio

        May 21, 2023 at 1:35 pm

        Stop with the BS, Drag was not an issue until children were brought into it. Leave the kids out of it and there is no problem.

  • Antonio

    May 19, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Leave the kids out of it and there is no problem. Easy.

  • G

    May 22, 2023 at 7:08 pm

    They should also have cis gender woman straight women made up along with the drag queens in identical outfits. If they are looking at multiple ways to challenge the law

Comments are closed.


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