Key West drag show performer challenging two-term incumbent in Monroe County’s HD 120

Travis mooney
Michael Travis aka 'Erika Rose' could be the first member of the Florida Legislature to be openly performing in drag shows.

The Florida Legislature could be getting its first openly performing drag queen.

Michael Elgin Travis, who performs as “Erika Rose” in Key West, has filed to challenge Republican incumbent, Rep. Jim Mooney in Monroe County’s House District 120.

He said the inspiration to run for state office hit while he went to Tallahassee with friends to testify against the bill that later became law (SB 1438) — “Protection of Children.” The law criminalizes allowing children into live shows with “lewd” content.

He said he’s not worried about taking on a two-term incumbent. 

“Either way, I win,” said the Key West Democrat. “I’ll either win the election or inspire others and let them know they are valued.”

Voters will see a stark contrast between the candidates, not to mention makeup.

Mooney is a Realtor; Travis works as a bartender at 801 Bourbon Bar on the famed Duval Street two nights each week, performs as “Erika Rose” for another two nights, and serves as a ghost tour guide on other nights.

Mooney, whose district covers all of Monroe County, most of Everglades National Park, and the southernmost portion of Miami-Dade County, won against Democrat Adam Gentle, an openly gay candidate, in the 2022 General Election by double digits, 60-49%.

An unaffiliated candidate, Irene Alzerreca Calvo, has also filed to compete in the 2024 General Election. She ran for the same seat in 2022 but was disqualified from competing.

Travis took part in the drag queen parade that preceded the state House hearings on the bill and said he felt welcomed in Tallahassee. He might have a more challenging time selling support for Democratic policies in his district, however. Data from analyst Matt Isbell of MCI Maps show that the district voters supported Gov. Ron DeSantis by more than 21 percentage points.

Travis said his mission is clear, especially given that the Legislature is trying to erase the LGBTQ community through policies like the Parental Rights in Education Law that was expanded (HB 1069) in the last Session. It regulates teacher discussions of gender identity or sexual orientation through the eighth grade. The state Board of Education passed rules that keep it from being discussed anytime, through senior year in high school.

It’s “nonsense,” Travis said. “That one drives me nuts.” 

The anti-drag legislation, however, has been blocked in federal court. Even though it doesn’t specifically mention drag performers, it’s primarily seen as targeting that community. It prohibits letting anyone under 18 into “a show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities.”

That includes “lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts,” shows appealing to “prurient, shameful, or morbid interests,” and patently offensive displays “without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present.

Even if that law is on hold, last year’s Session saw the approval of legislation that bans gender-affirming care, specifically prohibits trans people from using anything but the bathroom corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth, and more closely regulates the assignment of pronouns at schools.

Travis added, “I’m running for those who feel they are not represented, pushed aside.”

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].


  • Robert D. Raiford

    July 27, 2023 at 8:41 pm

    The Raif Daddy does not approve of electing drag queens to local, State, or National office.
    Not only does electing drag queens put childern and the entire community at an extream risk of …. what? whats that you said John Boy? … its keyless??? Son did you loose your car keys? …Oh I heard you the first time boy. Dam young whippersnappers … need to speak up … grumble mumble grumpy grumpy …
    So its Key West … well now thats a totally different situation there now boy there.
    The Raif Daddy does not care about anything happening in the lost cause City of Key West. As you youngsters say deuces on Cayo Wessell. Raif Out

    • julizaah

      July 31, 2023 at 11:13 am

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  • Dont Say FLA

    July 27, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    Drag Queens need to drive the MAGAs and Rhondas into the sea now that they got it boiling.

    • Earl Pitts American

      July 27, 2023 at 10:00 pm

      Good evening beloved Son/Daughter,
      So what this means, if we follow the nameing procedure you taught your old Dad, is that Michael Travis first pet’s name was Erika and he grew up on Rose Street.
      And you thought your old Dad was not paying attention.
      Love you Son/Daughter

      • Dont Say FLA

        July 28, 2023 at 7:02 am

        That’s exactly right! You ain’t just some ole’ dog after all, pops.

      • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

        July 28, 2023 at 10:34 am

        Daily Reminder that Earl Pitts raped a kid and was convicted for it. He belongs on death row.

  • Denise

    July 27, 2023 at 11:38 pm

    Maybe this is the shakeup that FL needs.

  • Mark

    July 28, 2023 at 1:25 am

    It appears Robert and Earl are the same loser that thinks he/she/it is clever by stealing the identities of a renowned SC columnist and a character created Gary Burbank. He/she/it uses the same gutless, “can’t use my real name” monikers while hurling insults/put downs/8 year old name calling (Really he/she/it “dook-for-brains”) and offering no actual logical points, valid arguments or solutions. It appears he/she/it has a main purpose of vomiting invective while firmly orally copulating with Rhonda Santis’ perineum. I ‘spose a steady diet of meth and Natty Lite results in this level of brain damage and lack of creativity.

    Getting back to the subject of the article: I truly don’t care if my legislator is a brain slug. That would be an improvement from my current elected leaders. As long as they do what’s best for THE MOST citizens, and not the Chamber of Commerce, N-zi’s for Freedumb or Christofascist Zombies, I don’t care what they want to be called or wear.

    • Earl Pitts "Most Loved Most Hated" American

      July 28, 2023 at 1:39 pm

      Good afternoon America and Rob Raford, and “Mark”,
      This guy “Mark” with the story telling mind should go to Hollywood and “scab” in the place of the striking writers. Go Mark Go!
      As your agent, Mark, I Earl Pitts American, am entitled to 20% of your Hollywood earnings.
      And “Mark” stop accusing the inocent of being pedo criminals.
      Thank you,

  • C. L. Owny

    July 28, 2023 at 5:37 am

    Clown stands on railroad tracks, bids locomotive halt in the name of equality.

    • Dont Say FLA

      July 28, 2023 at 7:04 am

      Never thought much about it but you right, clowns are just about exclusively white folk aren’t they.

  • David Torgerson

    July 28, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    Dear Anne


    • Dont Say FLA

      July 28, 2023 at 5:38 pm

      It was 61 to 39. Do you feel better now? I hope you do.

Comments are closed.


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