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Pole Dancer performs semi-topless doing a modified jade split.

Drag bans hurt pole dancers too

The title is click-baity on purpose >> If you aren’t paying attention to the “drag bans” because you think they don’t impact you as a cis-gendered, straight person, they impact everyone, and you should pay attention.

So-called “drag bans” which are becoming laws around the country, are vague and far-reaching—AND seriously damaging to trans and queer people.

As an example, Florida law CS/HB 1423: Protection of Children general description states:

“Protection of Children; Prohibits governmental entity from issuing permit or otherwise authorizing person to conduct performance in violation of certain provisions; authorizes Division of Hotels & Restaurants of DBPR to fine, suspend, or revoke license of any public lodging establishment or public food service establishment if establishment admits child to adult live performance; provides violation constitutes immediate serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare; authorizes division to impose specified fines for violations; specifies division may revoke or suspend license of person found to be maintaining licensed premises that admits child to adult live performance; prohibits person from knowingly admitting child to adult live performance. “

When you read the full text at this link. The details get murky:

“Adult live performance” means any 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 as those terms are defined in s. 847.001, lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts when it:

  1. Predominantly appeals to a prurient, shameful, or morbid interest;
  2. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community of this state as a whole with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for the age of the child present;
  3. Taken as a whole, is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present.”


Who decides what is “offensive to the prevailing standards in the adult community”?

What defines “sexual conduct”?

Does having a pole instantly make something “sexual”? >> In the pole community, we know it doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean someone else shares that opinion.

At PoleCon, we respect that children pole dance and caretakers of children pole dance.

We have a Junior ticket and a Youth showcase. PoleCon maintains that parents should make the decisions for their children for which showcases and workshops to attend during PoleCon. Over the years, we have offered guidance with details about workshops, performers, and performances so that parents can make informed decisions.

This is but one of more than 100 laws introduced at state legislators that actively promotes discrimination, often in the name of “protecting” children.  For a current list and status click here.

PoleCon will not return to Florida.

PoleCon was looking to return to Orlando for the 2024 event.

We met with a local hotel this spring, agreed on the space and the costs and when it came time to create a contract, the hotel ultimately rejected us. They could not afford (literally) to risk losing their liquor license for having children allowed to be at PoleCon in their space because of this particular law.

PoleCon refused to get rid of the Junior ticket or the Youth Showcase because we respect that children pole dance and caretakers of children pole dance who sometimes need to bring those children with them to events.

PoleCon also respects that people want to perform, teach, and attend an event that respects their right to present however they want regardless of sex assigned at birth—a crucial element to most of these laws.

So where will PoleCon be in 2024? >> Nowhere with any such ban, which is a shrinking number of states.

What is the future of pole dancing events in your state?

Pole competitions, showcases, and other pole-related events may be unable to host their events in states with “drag bans.” This may negatively impact the local pole community and will absolutely create a less welcoming space in these states outside of the spaces created in individual pole studios/local communities—for as long as their state legislators allow that to continue.

>>Trans and queer people are losing access to life-saving healthcare. Parents are losing their parental rights simply for being trans. These are real issues going on in several states. The focus on this blog is to address those people who think that these things don’t impact them. If you are a pole dancer—it does. We often act from places of personal suffering. You might lose access to your favorite pole events. Let that be a personal motivation to speak out.

Contact your state legislator. Write your governor. Participate in actions. This is not about drag; it never was.



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