Republican Gov. Invoice Lee signed a invoice into legislation Thursday afternoon that may limit public drag present performances in Tennessee, making his state the primary to take action this yr.
The state Senate handed the bill earlier Thursday alongside get together traces to restrict “grownup cabaret performances” on public property in order to defend them from the view of youngsters, threatening violators with a misdemeanor and repeat offenders with a felony.
The invoice, which the Tennessee Home handed final week, defines an grownup cabaret efficiency as a efficiency “that options topless dancers, go-go dancers, unique dancers, strippers, male or feminine impersonators who present leisure that appeals to a prurient curiosity, or comparable entertainers.”
Republicans maintain supermajorities in each the state Home and Senate. The legislation will go into impact on July 1, 2023.
The Tennessee measure is the primary of practically a dozen such payments presently working their approach by way of GOP-led state legislatures. Republicans say the performances expose youngsters to sexual themes and imagery which might be inappropriate, a declare rejected by advocates, who say the proposed measures are discriminatory towards the LGBTQ group and will violate First Modification legal guidelines.
As transgender points and drag tradition are more and more changing into extra mainstream, such exhibits – which regularly characteristic males dressing as girls in exaggerated make-up whereas singing or entertaining a crowd, although some exhibits characteristic bawdier content material – have often been the goal of assaults, and LGBTQ advocates say the payments into consideration add to a heightened state of alarm for the group.
Republican state Sen. Jack Johnson, who sponsored the Tennessee laws, advised CNN on Thursday that the invoice was not meant to focus on drag performances or transgender individuals.
“For clarification, this invoice isn’t concentrating on any group of individuals. It doesn’t ban drag exhibits in public. It merely places age restrictions in place to make sure that youngsters usually are not current at sexually express performances,” Johnson stated.
Forward of the invoice’s signing, Lee confronted accusations of hypocrisy after an unidentified Reddit person posted a photograph from a 1977 highschool yearbook, which purports to indicate the longer term governor wearing girls’s clothes and a wig alongside feminine college students wearing males’s fits.
CNN has been unable to confirm the authenticity of the picture.
At a information convention on Monday, the GOP governor ignored a query about whether or not he had as soon as wearing drag however rejected any comparisons between the purported picture and the drag present laws.
“What a ridiculous, ridiculous query that’s, conflating one thing like that to sexualized leisure in entrance of youngsters, which is a really severe topic,” Lee stated, in keeping with CNN affiliate WZTV.
A spokesperson for Lee additional elaborated to The Every day Beast, saying, “The invoice particularly protects youngsters from obscene, sexualized leisure, and any try and conflate this severe challenge with lighthearted faculty traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee households.”
This story and headline have been up to date for extra developments.