Legislation filed to criminalize public drag performances in Tennessee

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 4:56 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2022 at 4:58 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New legislation filed by a state senator regarding the LGBTQ+ community is looking to criminalize drag performances in public settings.

The bill groups drag performers with other adult cabaret performers, such as exotic dancers, topless dancers, or strippers and would make it a misdemeanor for first offense and felony on the second offense for participating in such behavior.

Sen. Jack Johnson presented the bill.

He represents District 27 which covers Lauderdale, Lake, Dyer, Crockett and Madison counties, though if passed, the bill would affect the entire state of Tennessee.

If passed, the bill would also make it illegal for female or male impersonators to perform in public places or areas where children are present.

We saw a similar issue from community members a couple of months back when the Museum of Science and History – also known as the Pink Palace - hosted a “family-friendly drag show” and some community members argued drag is not family-friendly.

Mosh drag show canceled by protest

As of now, the bill awaits to be presented to the state assembly.

After being introduced, the bill goes through several steps before being signed by the Gov. Bill Lee into law.

If passed, it would take effect in July 2023.

The general assembly is back in session in January.

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