NEWS NOW: See What This State Did About Drag Shows and Children

( – The Tennessee General Assembly has passed a bill prohibiting drag shows from being hosted in public venues or anywhere minors might be present.

The bill, passed by a 74-19 vote, makes it illegal to host “an adult cabaret performance” where children may be present. Cabaret performances are defined as those featuring “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, [and] male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest.”

Under the bill, anyone who hosts or performs in a drag show in the presence of children would be charged with a class A misdemeanor, subject to a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in prison. Any subsequent violations would be escalated to a class E felony, carrying one-to-six years of prison time and fines up to $3,000.

The Tennessee House also passed a bill called HB1 that bans gender-reassignment surgery for minors—the bill specifically bars “hormone or puberty blockers” aimed at helping “gender dysphoric” youth.

The journalist Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire, who uncovered widespread abuses at Vanderbilt University’s transgender clinic, applauded the decision.

The Tennessee Equality Project, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ issues, condemned the legislation, arguing that it endangered youth.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has promised to challenge the bill from being ratified as state law. The ACLU stated, “All Tennesseans should have access to the healthcare they need to survive and thrive. Gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth is safe, necessary, effective, and often life-saving.”

Both bills are headed to the desk of Tennessee governor Bill Lee, who is expected to sign them into law.

At least 15 states have introduced legislation prohibiting drag shows in public venues in response to mounting concern about the prevalence of drag shows in restaurants and bars and “drag queen story hours,” in which drag performers read to children in public libraries and other venues.

The passage of these bills has sparked controversy and criticism from the LGBTQ community and its allies, who view them as an infringement on their rights and a threat to the health and well-being of transgender youth.

On the other hand, supporters of the bills argue that they are necessary to protect minors from exposure to adult entertainment and to prevent gender-reassignment surgery, which they see as harmful and mutilating.

The debate around these bills highlights the ongoing cultural and political divide over LGBTQ rights and the role of government in regulating these issues.

What is your opinion? Do you support these bills as passed in Tennessee? Should the governor sign them into law? Please share your thoughts by emailing [email protected]. Thank you.