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Tennessee becomes first US state in 2023 to restrict drag performances

A bill was signed into law in Tennessee in the US to restrict public drag show performances. Violators will be sanctioned with a misdemeanor and repeat offenders will be sanctioned with a felony.

No drag shows allowed in public spaces in Tennessee in the US.

Photo by cody lannom from Unsplash.com

A bill was signed into law in Tennessee in the US to restrict public drag show performances. Violators with a misdemeanor and repeat offenders will be sanctioned with a felony.

Helmed by extremist Republicans, the state Senate passed the bill to limit “adult cabaret performances” on public property, supposedly to shield them from the view of children. This bill, which the Tennessee House passed last week, defines an adult cabaret performance as a performance “that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest, or similar entertainers.”

The Tennessee measure is the first of many bills currently working their way through extremist conservative Republican-led state legislatures.

Interviewed by CNN, Republican state Sen. Jack Johnson, the sponsor of the anti-LGBTQIA Tennessee legislation, justified the existence of the bill by saying that it is not targeting drag performances or transgender people. Instead, it is to keep these people away from children. “For clarification, this bill is not targeting any group of people. It does not ban drag shows in public. It simply puts age restrictions in place to ensure that children are not present at sexually explicit performances,” Johnson was quoted as saying.

The law – signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee – will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

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