Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Drag Performances in Public or in Front of Children

Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill banning drag shows in public or in front of children.

Republican Representative Chris Todd introduced the bill, HB0009, after he sought a court order to stop a “family-friendly” drag show that was scheduled to take place in a Jackson park last year. His effort was successful, the show was moved to a venue for adults.

“It was forced to be indoors and 18 and up, and I was asked to come up with legislation that would make this much more clear,” Todd said on Thursday, according to a report from Reuters.

According to a report from the Tennessean, the bill classifies “male and female impersonators” as adult cabaret performers and bans “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors” under the state’s obscenity law.

“This is a common-sense, child safety bill,” Todd said before the vote.

If signed into law, the legislation would make drag performances in front of children or in public a misdemeanor for first-time offenders and a felony for second offenses.

“It gives confidence to parents that they can take their kids to a public or private show and will not be blindsided by a sexualized performance,” Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson said in a statement.

The bill will return to the Senate for a procedural vote before final passage, then be sent to Republican Governor Bill Lee for a signature.

The Senate previously passed a version of the bill with a 26-6 vote along party lines. No Democrats supported the bill, but it did not matter with the large Republican majority.


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