Many Republicans Push for Drag Show Bans in Front of Kids

( – There is a current cultural war issue regarding the restriction or prohibition of drag show performances in the presence of children, usually being fought against in right wing states. Republicans claim that these performances expose children to inappropriate sexual themes and imagery, however, advocates reject this assumption and state that the possible banning of these shows are discriminatory against the LGBTQ community and could be against the First Amendment. Transgender issues and drag becoming popular has resulted in these shows becoming a target for such bills. Similar proposals have been put forward in atleast 11 states, but none have been signed into law as of yet.

Legislation in Tennessee and Arizona would limit the same types of performances on public property so as to keep them from the view of children, with the threat being arrested, and eventually being charged with a felony if gone against repeatedly. This law would consider bars and restaurants that do these performances as “sexual orientated businesses”. Also, there is a bill in West Virginia awaiting to be approved, and if it is, it will require the parents of kids who are involved in drag shows to take classes ranging from parenting skills, anger management, etc.

Shangela, a drag performer who is best known from the very popular “Rupaul” drag race series believes that the increased popularity of drag has resulted in it becoming a greater target. Jonathan Hamilt, the executive director of Drag Story Hour, has called the proposed bills a form of bigotry. Republican adherents of these bills claim that these performances are harmful to children, while advocates of the LGBTQ community worry that the laws would have an effect on these “performances”.

Sarah Warbelow, who is part of the Human Rights Campaign as the director, said that the bills will not straight up enforce bans on drag performances but would require public places to adhere to these new regs, making it unlikely for them to host these shows.

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