Miss Rose Dynasty pageant switches venues amidst drag attacks

ABOVE: Momma Ashley Rose at a previous Miss Rose Dynasty pageant. Photo via the foundation’s Facebook.

ORLANDO | The Rose Dynasty Foundation will host its sixth annual, family-friendly Miss Rose Dynasty drag pageant March 4 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center, switching from the Dr. Phillips Center as conservative attacks on drag mount in and beyond Florida.

Within the last few months, Republican politicians including Gov. Ron DeSantis have begun targeting drag shows and the venues that host them. The foundation was forced to change venues following recent attempts to set an age requirement on attendance for drag shows nationwide.

Last month, the Arkansas Senate approved legislation assigned all drag shows the same restrictions that strip clubs and adult theaters face. Tennessee has vowed to do the same. Momma Ashley Rose, president of the Rose Dynasty Foundation, fears that this may soon be the case in Florida as well.

“It has been heartbreaking and scary. Our organization, especially, we’re geared toward children and families and seeing what’s happening in Tennessee and in other states, knowing that we could be next, I don’t know what’s going to happen to our organization,” Rose says. “I don’t know what we’re going to do and how we’re going to be able to adapt, if laws are made against what we’re doing.”

The Miss Rose Pageant was held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for the last two years. The 2023 pageant would have been the third at the venue.

Rose received a call Feb. 15 from the Dr. Phillips Center which stated that the show either had to be changed from all-ages to 18+ or she would have to find a new venue. The concern followed the DeSantis administration’s targeting of The Plaza Live for hosting an all-ages drag show.

“This is who we are and I’m not changing that,” Rose says. “There was no hesitation to my voice or my thought before they were finished. I was like, ‘No, no, I’m not changing, not going to change what we do, because you’re scared of the government, because we’re not doing anything wrong.”

Following the initial call, Rose immediately began to look for a new venue. She hoped that the Dr. Phillips Center would still allow them to perform, but wanted to be prepared in case they would no longer be welcome there.

“It’s just been a rollercoaster. I called 23 venues around Central Florida and I either got, ‘No, we can’t do this because we’re scared also,’ or they were booked,” Rose explains.

Rose was left in uncertainty regarding the Dr. Phillips Center housing the pageant for two weeks before finally being told that she would have to do the show somewhere else, three days before the pageant would take place.

Rose says she has always ensured that every show hosted by the foundation has been family-friendly. The foundation hosts drag dinners, variety shows and children’s events that have allowed them to raise thousands of dollars to donate to charities. The pageant has always been family friendly, like the other events the foundation hosts.

Despite this, it was still said that the show should be treated as an 18+ show because it is a drag show.

“Where do we draw that line of having to fear the government?” Rose asks. “We monitor everything that they wear, everything that they perform. I like to say we’re the Disney Channel of drag.”

The Rose Dynasty Foundation’s mission is to “provide a safe and family friendly atmosphere for all people no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation, and/or religion, through mentoring, fundraising, fostering community, and promoting awareness of resources.”

“Rose Dynasty will continue to provide a safe space for all ages in our events. As many of you know, nothing inappropriate or ‘lewd’ happens at our events,” Rose stated in the Rose Dynasty Foundation’s official statement released Feb. 28.  Read it in full below.

Following the pageant’s venue change, Rose says that allies are needed now more than ever.

“The fact that organizations like ourselves, along with mainstream organizations, are in fear of closing or losing funding or losing their businesses for standing up for queer people, it’s a sad time,” Rose notes. “I think it’s time that our community stops fighting and comes together and our allies come in and join hands with us to help make a change and make a difference.”

The foundation’s new venue is smaller and located closer to Rose’s home in Lakeland. All ticket sales will still be valid at the new location and a block of hotel rooms has been reserved for those who made reservations to stay at hotels near the Dr. Phillips Center prior to the venue change.

For more information about the Rose Dynasty Foundation and the Miss Rose Dynasty Pageant, visit RoseDynastyFoundationInc.org and MissRoseDynasty.com.

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