(Daily Caller) – After Tennessee became the first state to prohibit drag shows in places where children may be present, several red states are pushing for similar legislation.
States including Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are focused on passing legislation that would restrict or outlaw sexually explicit drag shows in the presence of minors. The legislation gaining momentum through 14 states is a part of a broader battle throughout the country over exposing children to gender identity and sexually explicit concepts that may not be age-appropriate.
“We frequently hear stories of children being exposed to inappropriate and explicit material in the classroom or during school-sponsored field trips, oftentimes without parental consent or notification,” Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action executive director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Just as state legislatures have worked to protect children from harmful cross-sex hormones or experimental surgeries, they are also tackling the broader problem of activist educators and administrators attempting to influence young children and push the Left’s radical gender ideology.
In March, Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a “first-of-its-kind” bill into law which took aim at drag shows, banning “adult cabaret entertainment” in places, such as schools and libraries, where children may be present. Similarly, Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders signed a piece of legislation that prohibits minors from viewing “adult-oriented shows” that feature performers who are nude or “seminude,” showing genitalia or breasts, and demonstrating “sexual activity.”
The Museum of Science and History in Memphis, Tennessee, hosted a drag show deemed “family friendly” that featured seven performers including “drag clown” Barbie Wyre, who hosted the event, Angel Fartz and Siren Moss, who “[manifested] the art of drag.” The museum also hosted “Cocktails And Chemistry With The Blue Suede Sisters” which highlights science experiments with “drag nuns.”
In Idaho, the state House passed a piece of legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Brent Crane, on March 7 which would require event organizers to take “reasonable steps to restrict minors” from attending shows that contain “sexual conduct” and would allow parents to sue the hosts of such events if children are allowed in. The bill was introduced as a response to a drag show held for children at a Pride festival in 2022.
The 2022 Boise Pride Festival featured “Drag Kids,” a drag show performed by kids ages 11 to 18 which encourages festival attendees to “come cheer them on as they bring drag to the younger generation.” The festival hosted “family friendly” drag shows featuring adult performers.
The Kentucky Senate voted 26-6 on March 10 approving a bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, that would prohibit “adult performances” from occurring at a place “where the person knows or should know the adult performance could be viewed.”
“This bill was about the drag performances that are starting to make their way into the public sector,” Tichenor told the Lexington Herald Leader. “They’ve never been in the public sector before. They’ve never been marketed to children before. They’ve always been in adult businesses and nobody’s had any problem with that. But now that they’re coming into the public sector, we need to put some guidelines around those because some of those performances are absolutely inappropriate for kids.”
In Missouri, Republican state Rep. Bennie Cook introduced House Bill 1364 on March 1, which would ban “adult cabaret” performances from public property. Under the bill, if school districts or any of its administration are found in violation of the legislation, it would result in a loss of funding from the state.
The Oklahoma legislature is considering two pieces of legislation which would prohibit “lewd acts or obscene material” in places where a minor could be present, “including but not limited to parades, shows, concerts [and] plays.” Both bills have been brought to the state house floor for debate.
In April 2022, Oklahoma State University hosted a “Drag Queen Story Hour” aimed at students between the ages of two and eight years old, according to Fox 25.
Under West Virginia’s Senate Bill 253, introduced by Republican state Sen. Mike Azinger, those who are found hosting or performing in an “adult cabaret performance” will face fines up to $25,000 or more than five years in prison. South Carolina’s Senate Bill 585, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Joshua Kimbrell, prohibits “adult cabaret” in places where minors could potentially be exposed to the performance, such as schools and libraries, with potential fines of up to $1,000.
“Kind of what we’re seeing from legislation is that drag is inherently a sexual or dangerous thing for children, and that’s been something that’s been trying to be pushed on the community since the 1950s, that children need to be protected from the LGBTQ community and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Caleb Coker, a drag performer, told WCSC News about South Carolina’s legislation.
Kansas’ Committee on Federal and State Affairs introduced Senate Bill 149 in February which expands the crime of “promoting obscenity to minors” to include drag performances. In Arizona, the state House is considering a piece of legislation which would require an individual who participates in an adult cabaret performance in front of a minor to register as a sex offender.
“I’m not here to hurt people’s businesses because they teach dance,” Arizona Republican Sen. Justine Wadsack, who sponsored the legislation, told the Arizona Mirror. “I’m not here to change people’s livelihood. It’s a matter of the protection of children.”
In February, the Montana House of Representatives passed HB 395, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Braxton Mitchell, in a 66-33 vote, which would bar venues from hosting drag show performances that minors are allowed to attend. Under Nebraska’s LB371, introduced by Republican state Sen. Dave Murman, bringing a minor to a drag show would be a misdemeanor and kids under 19 years old would not be allowed to attend such shows.
The Texas legislature is considering four pieces of legislation that restrict drag shows, including the most recent, House Bill 4378, which was filed on March 9 and would allow community members to sue those who host or perform in a sexually explicit drag show where children are present. House Bill 1266 would deem venues that host drag shows as a “sexually oriented business,” requiring additional taxes and licensing restrictions.
The legislation comes after a Texas “A Drag Queen Christmas” show in 2022 featured partial nudity and graphic sexual content in front of children. The attendees, around age 10, gave tips to the drag performers who simulated sex acts and exposed realistic prosthetic breasts.
“State legislatures should continue this momentum to protect students and empower parents to make the right decisions for their children,” Anderson told the DCNF.
Crane, Tichenor, Cook, Azinger, Kimbrell, Wadsack, Kansas’ Committee on Federal and State Affairs, Wadsack, Mitchell and Murman did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.