Tennessee becomes first state to ban drag shows on public property, near schools

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation on Thursday restricting drag shows and banning gender transition treatments for minors.  Tennessee is now the first state to limit the performances, and the provision criminalizes performances that take place in public or where they could be seen by children.  The bill prohibits “adult cabaret performances” from taking place within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship, according to The Hill. The law takes effect on July 1. TENNESSEE DRAG QUEEN, CITING 1969 STONEWALL RIOT, VOWS TO FIGHT BACK IF BAN PASSES: ‘NOT A THREAT BUT A PROMISE’ The legislation builds on existing restrictions on “adult-oriented businesses” in Tennessee, expanding obscenity laws there to include performances that feature topless or exotic dancers or “male or female impersonators” that provide entertainment appealing “to a prurient interest.” So, what is the punishment for performing? First-time violators may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by a $2,500 fine and as long as a year in prison. Any subsequent offenses will be classified as a Class E felony. TENNESSEE BILL AIMS TO BAN DRAG SHOWS, OTHER ADULT ENTERTAINMENT ON PUBLIC PROPERTY Several other states, including Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah, are considering similar bans. The governor of Arkansas recently signed a bill that puts new restrictions on “adult-oriented” performances. While initially targeting drag shows, that bill was scaled back after complaints of discrimination. While the bill has raised similar concerns, sponsors said that was not the intent.  Tennessee state Sen. Jack Johnson, a Republican, said the bill addresses “sexually suggestive drag shows” that are inappropriate for children. Additionally, health care providers in the state are not allowed to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones, or to perform gender transition surgeries for minors. The American Civil Liberties Union and the LGBTQIA+ civil rights organization Lambda Legal plan to challenge the law in court, The Hill reported. The governor’s office did not immediately reply to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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