Florida Rep. Fine calls on City of Melbourne to pull ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ permit

(Randy Fine photo in public domain, Downtown Melbourne photo by Michele Haro; both from Wikimedia Commons)

MELBOURNE, Fla. | Florida Rep. Randy Fine, who posted on social media over the weekend his disapproval of an upcoming Space Coast Pride drag queen event, is now calling on Melbourne’s city manager to pull the permit for the event.

Fine first posted about Space Coast Pride’s “Drag Queen Story Time” event Sept. 16, writing the Wikipedia definition “Drag Queen Storytime” and listing sponsors for the LGBTQ nonprofit Pride organization.

Fine made a second post later that same day, writing “I know of no one who thinks it would be appropriate for a female stripper, dressed in her ‘work costume’ to read children’s books to a six-year[-]old. But Space Coast Pride thinks that having men dressed as female strippers reading children’s books to six[-]year-olds is somehow enlightening[.] This will happen in Melbourne next Saturday. Enough is enough. Make your voice heard.”

Fine made several more posts calling on his supporters to reach out to Space Coast Pride’s sponsors as well as stated that he made “a public records request of the City of Melbourne for all documents relating to the permit for ‘Drag Queen Story Time.’”

“We are seeking to understand if the City was informed and approves of the sexualization of three year-olds or if the organizers hid the information,” Fine wrote.

Following his request, Fine posted Sept. 20 his letter to Melbourne’s city manager Shannon Lewis. In the letter, Fine states “We have reviewed the 129-page file you provided and have found no evidence that Space Coast Pride disclosed that they would be hosting ‘Drag Queen Story Time,’ or any events targeting children for that matter, as part of their permit application. … Space Coast Pride hid their efforts to host sexualized performances targeting children by not disclosing their plans. You are within your right, and I strongly encourage you, to pull their permit.”

Melbourne’s mayor, Paul Alfrey, took to social media to address Fine’s concerns, writing “The multiple posts specifically refers to an event called ‘drag queen story time’ and infers the indoctrination of children during this event. Even more, multiple sponsors listed in the photo, who do so much in our community and support a diverse work force, are mentioned and even referenced to calls and boycotts of these sponsors.

“As Mayor of the City of Melbourne, I welcome the Space Coast Pride and their event,” Alfrey continued. “Even more, I have spoken to the President of the Space Coast Pride about the event and specifically ‘drag queen story time.’ This is an event that happens nationwide and are attended by both adults and children. As the City of Melbourne completes at least one hundred large event permits a year, in this specific event, Space Coast Pride has paid nearly $10,000 for public safety services, including Melbourne Police Officers who will be patrolling downtown Melbourne. The City of Melbourne welcomes diversity and the safety of all patrons at this event is our number one priority.”

This isn’t the first time Fine, who has been in lockstep with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state Republicans, has attacked the LGBTQ community. Fine has been a vocal supporter of the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law and the governor’s verbal attacks on Disney for opposing the bill, has used his platform to attack trans kids in schools with alleged false claims of violence and wrote that transgender adults “self-mutilate” believing they can “defy both G-d and science.”

Watermark reached out to Space Coast Pride who says they have no comment regarding Fine.

Space Coast Pride, in spite of Fine’s online rallying, will continue as planned with its ribbon cutting Sept. 23 and their parade and festival Sept. 24. Drag Queen Story Time will take place during the festival on the Spotlight Stage. Story times will take place at 1 p.m. with Momma Ashley Rose, 2:30 p.m. with Shelita Taylor and 4:30 p.m. with Bridgette Galore.

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