Tennessee has introduced legislation banning public drag performances and gender-affirming care for trans+ children. The new laws were signed by Republican governor Bill Lee on 2 March, with the state becoming the first in the US to restrict drag shows.
Although the word “drag” does not appear in the bill, the definition of adult cabaret has been changed to mean “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors”.
It puts “male or female impersonators” within the category alongside go-go dancers, exotic dancers and strippers. Such performances, including drag shows, will be banned from taking place on public property and/or anywhere minors might be present.
It takes effect on 1 July and comes after a photo of Gov. Lee showing him in women’s clothing in his 1977 yearbook surfaced online. READ MORE: Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon slams “evil” legislators introducing drag bans When asked if he remembered “dressing up in drag”, he said it was “ridiculous” to compare “something like that to sexualised entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious question”.