Tennessee First State to Place Bans on Drag Shows - Contact the Gov Now
Is Tennessee's bill unconstitutional? Tell Gov. Bill Lee to not sign the bill into law.
What's the story?
- Tennessee lawmakers recently passed a bill prohibiting drag performances in front of children at public and private venues.
- The bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Chris Todd, and it is now headed to Republican Governor Bill Lee to be signed into law. This is one of twenty such bills targeting drag performances being introduced in the U.S.
- The Tennessee House also passed a law restricting minors' access to gender-affirming health care, placing the state at the helm of a Republican-led effort across the nation to restrict LGBTQ+ rights.
What does the bill say?
- The bill criminalizes "adult cabaret entertainment," which includes "male or female impersonators" in venues where children may be in attendance.
- It amends existing state laws that prevent "adult-oriented businesses" from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, places of worship, and public parks. Drag shows can still take place in age-restricted venues.
- The first offense for violating the law would be a misdemeanor charge, and the second offense would be classified as a felony and carry a sentence of one to six years in prison.
Support for the bill
- Family-oriented, PG drag events like drag story hours at libraries and community centers have been the focus of intense backlash from right-wing family groups and Republican lawmakers.
- Supporters say the laws are designed to protect children. Republican Rep. Chris Todd believes that exposing children to drag shows is "child abuse."
- Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson said:
"[I]t gives confidence to parents that they can take their kids to a public or private show and will not be blindsided by a sexualized performance."
The backlash against the bill
- LGBTQ+ activists and advocates are gravely concerned about the continuous legislation that seeks to reduce the visibility of community members in public life.
- Drag queen and activist Steve Raimo said:
"[T]heir ultimate goal is to eradicate LGBT persons and culture. And I'm sorry to tell you, but there isn't a piece of legislation that's going to stop me from being who I am."
- Performers argue that drag is not inherently sexual and that categorizing it along with adult entertainment is inaccurate, inappropriate, and offensive. They argue that it is part of a fallacious argument that drag queens and LGBTQ+ individuals are "grooming" children.
- Civil rights groups say that the laws are unconstitutional, redundant due to existing obscenity laws, and will lead to further stigmatization and harassment of LGBTQ+ communities.
- Raimo said:
"[W]e all want to protect children, but I want to protect children against child poverty. I want to protect children that are homeless on the street. I want to protect children that are in the foster care system. I want to protect children that are scared to go to school because of school shootings."
Do you think Tennessee's decision is unconstitutional? Contact Gov. Bill Lee and tell him to not sign the bill into law.
(Photo credit: Flickr/David Geitgey Sierralupe)
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You can't pass this bill... One of my coworkers today was crying that he can't visit Tennessee now, that just walking down the street in Tennessee could get him arrested. This bill, and the slew of other laws like it, are attempting to criminalize LGBT people and criminalize gender nonconformity and what some people have decided is gender nonconformity, as further propelling the lie that LGBT people, people who are gender nonconforming, trans people, and people who cross dress are harmful to children, and/or that by just existing, are inherently lewd by nature and so on... But I implore you to think through the ramifications of this bill. Who will be the arbiter of what constitues "appropriate" "gendered" dress and what does not? What if a woman is walking down the street and happens to be bald, what if a man has long hair, what if a man is wearing a kilt, what if a woman is wearing pants, what if a nonbinary person is just minding their business and going about their life? Is the law going to say that these people are inherently criminals? Please... this law does not help children... and it actively harms trans and gender nonconforming children, and hinders them by not giving children the space to explore how they should be and exist in the world. Banning people from existing in public, and saying that their existence, by nature, is illicit is an inherently harmful thing to do... plus, I would like to visit Tennessee again and feel safe to walk down the street.
I just wrote to the Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee telling him that drag shows serve a cultural purpose and are performance art that supports individual self-expression. I also said that violent movies and video games do FAR more harm to children than drag shows (which have their roots in ancient societies), and it would make far more sense to ban them.
What the hell is up with the damn Republicans? Do they think they can intrude in all aspects of a person's life? Obviously, they do but for a party that says they stand for less gov., they sure seem to be expanding the scope of gov. beyond what is reasonable. Their intrusion is highly fascist in nature. Do they think they are the moral police like that have in Iran? If they are going to outlaw drag shows, then they need to outlaw strip shows, as well. After all what's good for the gander should be good for the goose. So, how does Gov. explain his own "drag queen" dress? What an ASSHOLE.
So if this bill is signed into law could parents get arrested for allowing their kids watch "Mrs. Doubtfire" at home?
This just allows people in power to terrorize/control the all others. Fascism is marching forward strongly in Tennessee.
That is an infringement on a person rights and freedom. I hope they sue the state into the next country, if not in to the next county! So much for human rights.
I really hope someone sues under this for drag races. If drag is banned drag races should be included. I'd love to see them get their panties in a twist over that.
People be dumb. Don't want to see a drag show? Don't go.
Apparently too simple to figure out.
More hypocrisy, this time from Tennessee, being noted worldwide along with DOE & FBI reports with no scientific evidence of COVID source being a lab accident versus from the wild showing that the US has lost standing worldwide as a leader.
"Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee, is facing accusations of hypocrisy after a photo of him dressed in drag went viral days after the politician confirmed that he would sign legislation criminalizing drag performances."
Wait, so Governor Bill Lee dressed up as a woman in the 70's, and thinks he has the right to ban drag shows?
Another example of disgusting Republican hypocrisy.
"Do as they say (and legislate), but not as they do."
I'm horrified at this attack on LGBTQ people, after all the progress towards equality made in the last two decades.
Drag performers are not out to hurt children; they just want to entertain people and be their true selves.
Since "red states" are so intent on denying children healthcare, equitable education, gender identity protections, and safety from guns, it's pretty clear that children are in more danger of male white politicians on the right than they are from entertainers.
Shame on the Tennessee politicians.