A massive, 90-day sting operation in Florida has led to the arrest of 123 men in relation to human trafficking, and as commentators online were quick to point out, none of the arrested appear to be drag queens.
The men were arrested after allegedly soliciting sex from undercover agents posing as minors, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said last week in a statement, among them being a church grief counselor, an elementary school teacher, a nurse at a substance abuse clinic, and a basketball coach, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Not one of the arrested has been reported as being a drag queen, which social media users instantly noted. Several accounts on Threads seemingly referenced Florida's anti-LGBTQ+ laws in response to the news, which include an attempted drag ban on the false basis that the art form is inappropriate for children.
"No drag queens again??!! Maybe they're looking in the wrong place?" one added, to which another responded: "That must be it, because I haven't seen a single article about a drag queen getting busted for this shit."
"Quick - someone ban a dictionary!" one person joked, in reference to the state's book ban policies, which recently resulted in the Webster’s dictionary being pulled from school shelves in the Escambia County School District over its inclusion of words such as "gay" and "transgender." Florida's "don't say gay" law bans the mention of any LGBTQ+ subject in classrooms K-12.
Florida's proposed drag ban failed after a federal judge struck down the law in June. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in November that they would not review the case, leaving the ban unenforceable.
Florida is one of six states that have passed anti-drag laws of some form. Montana and Tennessee both explicitly restrict drag performances, whereas Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Texas all passed "adult" performance restrictions that could be used to target drag, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Alongside Florida, the bans in Montana, Tennessee, and Texas are all currently unenforceable due to legal challenges.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a press conference Thursday that many of the men arrested “held positions of trust and authority” in their communities, including the teacher, who he said was “an individual trusted with shaping young minds.”
To report suspected cases of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.