Image source: Local Memphis
Drag has been rising for the past two decades, but now shows in Tennessee are in danger of getting banned.
Republicans in Tennessee are looking to ban drag performances in public or private properties.
In a backward turn of events, GOP members pre-filed a bill that would make appearing in drag a crime if it becomes law.
As per the SB.3 bill, the charge ranges from a misdemeanor penalty to a felony.
While the bill is broad, it can apply from comedy performances to drag shows and even drag story hour at local libraries.
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Jack Johnson, the Tennessee Senate Majority Leader, clarifies that the laws will single out people in drag.
“I don’t want to ban a theater company from doing a production of Mrs. Doubtfire in a public park,” he said.
“Most people have seen that movie where Robin Williams was dressing up as a woman. We don’t have an issue with that.”
“We do have an issue with men dressed as women simulating sex acts in public parks in front of kids.”
If Johnson’s bill goes ahead, it will amend a Tennessee state law that prevents adult-oriented businesses from operating within 300 meters of schools, public parks, or places of worship to include ‘adult cabaret performances.’
The law includes exotic dancers and ‘male or female impersonators.’
If the bill goes through the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and receives Governor Bill Lee’s seal of approval, first-time offenders might be guilty of Class A misdemeanor.
In addition, the misdemeanor is punishable by a year in prison with a fine of $2,500.
Repeat offenders will be charged with a Class E felony, bringing a heavier prison sentence for drag queens.
Finally, the prison sentence could go up to six years of imprisonment with fines that could go as high as $3,000.
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The Tennessee Senate Majority Leader won reelection during the midterms, promising he would preserve the state’s conservative values.
One of the winning factors for Johnson was his belief that marriage must be a ‘sacred union of one man and one woman.’
This week, Jack Johnson partnered with Tennessee House Majority Leader and fellow Republican William Lamberth to file another bill.
The bill allegedly prevents doctors from giving lifesaving, gender-affirming healthcare to transgender youths under 18.
Republicans submit bill that would criminalize drag performances in Tennessee