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    Tennessee Becomes First State To Ban Drag Shows For Minors

    March 8, 2023
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    On Thursday, Tennessee became the first state to ban public drag performances that are accessible to minors.

    Governor Bill Lee signed the bill into law last week after a controversy about high school pictures of him dressed in drag resurfaced. Tennessee is currently the only state to have a law banning drag shows for minors. However, other states are likely to join the Volunteer State soon.

    Arkansas recently passed a law limiting adult-oriented shows, but the original bill was revised to remove language that was specific to drag shows.

    Meanwhile, 11 other states in the South, Midwest, and West have also introduced similar bills to the one Lee signed last week.

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    While the specifics of all the bills vary, they each target drag show performances in one way or another.

    In Arizona, the bill aims to ban drag performances for minors under the age of 15, but a bill introduced in Nebraska wants to move the age limit to 19.

    Most of the bills seek to ban drag performances in all public spaces where minors may be present, but a measure in Missouri only aims to ban drag shows on public property.

    The proposed bills would not affect drag shows in bars, as those automatically carry an age limit of 21 in the U.S. The bills would target drag shows at street festivals, theaters, and other public venues. They would also take aim at drag queen story hours, which have become more prevalent in recent years.

    Drag queen story hour began as an initiative by a San Francisco-based drag queen with the purpose of educating and fostering acceptance of the LGBT community in children. It began in 2015 and is based on drag queens reading to children in bookstores and libraries.

    Not all drag performers are LGBT, but drag performances have a long history in the LGBT community, particularly among gay men. Currently, more than 7 percent of adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT.

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    Author

    Jen Snow

    Jen Snow is a former paralegal turned freelance writer who has a passion for foreign affairs. When not writing, she can be found curled up with her dog and a good book or outside playing in the Florida sun.
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