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Tennessee will be the first state to restrict drag shows by 2023


Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill Thursday afternoon that would restrict public drag performances in Tennessee.

USA: Eleven states seek to restrict drag shows 1:45

(CNN) --

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill Thursday afternoon that will restrict public drag performances in Tennessee, making his state the first to do so this year.

The state Senate passed the bill earlier Thursday along partisan lines to limit "adult cabaret performances" on public property from being exposed to children, threatening violators with a misdemeanor and repeat offenders. with a felony.

  • Republicans across the country push laws to restrict drag performances

The bill, which the Tennessee House of Representatives passed last week, defines an adult cabaret performance as a performance "featuring topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators providing entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest, or similar artists”.

Republicans have supermajorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The law will enter into force on July 1, 2023.

The Tennessee measure is the first of nearly a dozen such bills currently making their way through GOP-led state legislatures.

Republicans say the performances expose children to inappropriate sexual themes and images, a claim rejected by advocates, who say the proposed measures are discriminatory against the LGBTQ community and could violate First Amendment laws.


As transgender themes and drag culture become increasingly common, these shows — which often feature men dressed as women with exaggerated makeup while singing or entertaining a crowd though some shows feature racier content — they have occasionally come under attack, and LGBTQ advocates say the bills under consideration add to a further state of alarm for the community.

Republican state Sen. Jack Johnson, who sponsored the Tennessee legislation, told CNN on Thursday that the bill was not directed toward drag performances or transgender people.

“To clarify, this bill is not directed at any group of people.

It does not prohibit drag performances in public.

It simply sets age restrictions to ensure that children are not present at sexually explicit performances,” Johnson said.

Before signing the bill, Lee faced allegations of hypocrisy after an unidentified Reddit user posted a photo from a 1977 high school yearbook purporting to show the future governor dressed in women's clothing and a wig alongside students dressed in men's suits.

CNN has not been able to verify the authenticity of the photo.

At a news conference Monday, the Republican governor brushed off a question about whether he had ever dressed as a drag, but rejected any comparison between the alleged image and drag show legislation.

"What a ridiculous, ridiculous question, to combine something like that with sexualized entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious subject," Lee said, according to CNN affiliate WZTV.

A spokesperson for Lee elaborated further on The Daily Beast, saying: "The bill specifically protects children from sexualized and obscene entertainment, and any attempt to combine this serious problem with light-hearted school traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to families. of Tennessee."

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-03-03

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