ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Weeks after Gov. Ron DeSantis shared his support of criminalizing parents bringing their children to drag shows, St. Petersburg artist Chad Mize released a new sticker depicting the Republican leader as a drag queen called “Rhonda Santis.”
All proceeds from the sale of the sticker will benefit Equality Florida, a political advocacy group dedicated to LGBTQ+ civil rights.
Patch has reached out to the governor’s office for comment on the sticker, as well as his stance on children attending drag performances. This story will be updated when his office responds.
In June, after controversy over a Dallas bar hosting a family-friendly drag show, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) tweeted about a West Palm Beach LGBT pride event and said he plans to introduce legislation targeting parents who take their children to drag performances.
“I will be proposing legislation to charge (with) a felony (and) terminate the parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows aimed at (Florida) kids,” he wrote. “When will the sexualization of children stop?”
At the time, DeSantis indicated support of the potential legislation, saying that he asked his staff to consider Sabatini’s proposal to make it a felony to bring minors to a drag performance, WTSP reported.
When asked about the state lawmaker’s comments during a news conference in Fort Myers Beach the governor said, “We have laws against child endangerment.”
After this, a meme suggesting the name “Rhonda Santis” be used by a Florida drag performer made the rounds on social media.
Mize initially shared his version of “Rhonda Santis” on Instagram at the end of June, telling his followers, “Happy pride everybody.”
In the image, “Rhonda Santis” is holding a rainbow flag and has a speech bubble that says “gay,” a nod to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill — referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its critics — which limits how gender identity and sexual orientation can be discussed at school.
“I like to use humor to tackle current topics. This whole ‘distraction’ of drag queens vs parents and their children is nuts. I thought, ‘Why not be nuttier?’ We have to laugh before we cry,” Mize told Patch.
It’s not the first time the artist’s work has had a political message. His Mize Gallery hosted the “Say Gay” art show in June and he’s previously created art depicting former President Barack Obama and former presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders.