Two legislators in Tennessee have introduced a bill that would criminalize drag performances in the state.
SB 3, introduced by state Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lamberth, both Republicans, would classify drag events that feature “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” as “adult cabaret,” reported them.us, an LGBTQ site.
If the bill passes, drag would be treated akin to topless dancing, and anyone who engages in it in public where it “could be viewed” by a minor would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which in Tennessee is punishable by nearly a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. Repeated offenders could be charged with a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in prison plus a $3,000 fine, them.us reported.
The bill is believed to be aimed at Drag Queen story times, which have become popular in some parts of the country. During the events, which are usually sponsored by private groups, drag queens read stories to children, often in spaces in community centers or public libraries that the groups have rented.