Legislation recently passed in Tennessee has raised concerns among members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. The bill, signed by the state’s governor, prohibits drag shows in public spaces, potentially pushing these events underground. Many fear this could also affect Pride festivals, which often feature outdoor drag performances. The bill’s language has been criticized for its potential impact on queer Tennesseans beyond just drag performers. It defines drag performers as “male or female impersonators,” a definition that could be used to harm LGBTQ individuals more broadly.
Tennessee Drag Show Ban: A Dangerous Step Toward Legalizing Bigotry – by Maxwell Alexander, EIC, Hudson Valley Style Magazine
This legislation is particularly troubling because it represents an effort to legalize discrimination and bigotry. The ban is a clear attack on the rights of LGBTQ individuals not only in Tenessee but all across the US and around the World. As one drag performer noted, it seems that dressing in drag is only acceptable for straight men (also white, old, and privileged atavistic shadows of patriarchy), while queer, gay, and trans people doing the same is seen as unacceptable.
The language used in the bill also raises concerns about the potential harm it could cause to the broader LGBTQ community in Tennessee. It could be used to further criminalize being transgender or queer. Businesses that rely on drag performances, such as bars with drag brunches or party buses featuring drag queens, could also be impacted by the ban.
Critics argue that the legislation is unconstitutional, as it unfairly targets drag shows and is not based on a valid legal definition of “harmful to minors.” This marks the third year in a row that the statehouse has rolled back the rights of transgender Tennesseans, leaving many members of the community wondering whether they should stay in the state or leave.
This legislative session is the third year in a row that the Tennessee statehouse has peeled back the rights of transgender Tennesseans. It has many trans people and families of trans kids wondering whether staying in the state is worth the fight. It’s really brutal to be faced with that sort of choice when you can either stay in Tennessee and suffer, or you can pack your bags and go somewhere safe.
It is important to remember that democracy relies on the protection of the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. When communities attempt to legalize bigotry, they pose a grave danger to democracy itself. It is up to us, as citizens, to speak out against discrimination and fight for the rights of all individuals.
LGBTQ rights activism has made significant strides over the years, but there is still much work to be done. It is important for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to support and participate in the fight for equal rights. This can be done in many ways, from attending rallies and marches, to writing letters to elected officials, to simply having conversations with friends and family about the importance of LGBTQ rights. Every action, no matter how small, can make a difference in the lives of queer and trans people. Let us all stand together in solidarity and work towards a future where everyone is free to be their authentic selves without fear of discrimination or violence.