Tennessee has become the first US state to ban
performances in public or around minors.
It is not the only legislation against this activity: this year alone, at least 32 bills have been presented that seek to restrict this type of show in the country.
, male performers characterized with feminine features who often sing, dance, and parade theatrically, have a long history in American entertainment, having been popularized by game shows such as
RuPaul's Drag Race
The law approved by Republican Governor Bill Lee will come into force on July 1 and penalizes filings with fines of up to $2,500 or one year in prison, which can go up to 6 years in case of repeat offences.
Critics of the legislation have pointed to ambiguity in the terms of its application and a broader campaign to limit the rights of the transgender population.
The most repeated argument in the legislative debate on these restrictions is the protection of children.
Activities such as the
Drag Story Hours
, sessions in which
read stories to children, have been strongly criticized by the Republican sector.
In recent months, several events have been disrupted by far-right protesters, sometimes armed.
Two drag artists during a demonstration in Nashville, the capital of the State of Tennessee, on February 14. gothbitchjuice (RR SS)
“For example, I grew up in a family where football was always watched and it was never like I said: “I have to play football because I watch football”.
I don't think that logic makes sense," says Justine Van de Blair, one of the artists affected by the ban.
“I think this is just an attempt to weaken our voice and eliminate the LGBTQ community, with an emphasis on trans people,” she adds.
The law has also been a focus of concern for Tennessee businesses.
Josh Cloud, the owner of
the Big Drag Bus
, a bus that performs shows featuring
, says the restrictions have created an environment of uncertainty.
“Everyone felt very safe after gay marriage was legalized,” he says: “Now it's like, 'Wait, we're not safe.'
Poly Tics, one of the
that has staged protests against the prohibitions, believes that the way out is to involve certain sectors in politics and recover the public offices currently held by Republicans in these states.
“The only way forward for us and prevent this from happening further would be to diversify our officials and bring new people to power,” she suggests.
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