LGBTQ group speaks out against new Tenn. bill proposal

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 8:11 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - OUTMemphis, an LGBTQ group, is criticizing Senate Bill 3 introduced this week by Tennessee Republican lawmakers as an attack on gender identity and protection.

“To make drag performances inaccessible and less accessible is to remove some of the first places that queer and transgender people go when they are trying to learn about their identity,” said Molly Quinn OutMemphis, Executive Director.

Senate Bill 3 wants to ban performances in a location other than an adult cabaret that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, and male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest.

According to the proposal, Tennesseans could face a misdemeanor offense followed by a Class E felony charge for performances on public property or performances where it could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.

“If this bill were to be passed, it would be again an act of communication to the Memphis community that our queer identity is considered to be unsafe,” said Quinn.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson who filed the bill wrote in a statement saying in part:

“I filed this legislation to protect children. Just as current law prohibits children from going to a strip club, this legislation would also prohibit children from going to a sexually explicit drag show.”

Quinn disagrees and believes these performances teach youths acceptance amongst other things.

“Teaches gender diversity, helps teach expression, to teach acceptance and affirmation,” said Quinn.

The bill is set to be discussed by the Tennessee General Assembly during its upcoming session that starts in January.

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