Politics /

Tennessee passes bill prohibiting performances such as drag shows and strippers ‘in the presence of children’

  |   By Polling+ Staff

By a majority 74-to-19 vote, Tennessee passed a bill that makes it illegal to host “an adult cabaret performance” where children are present. The bill defines Cabaret performances 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.”

National Review reports:

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 further violations would be escalated to a class E felony and carry one-to-six years of prison time and fines up to $3,000.

Tennessee is not alone. National Review adds that at least 15 states have also introduced legislation that prohibit drag shows in public venues. The bills were introduced in response to mounting concern about the prevalence of drag shows in restaurants and bars, and so-called “drag queen story hours,” in which drag performers read to children in public libraries and other venues.

Another bill, HB1, was also passed in the Tennessee House which bans gender-reassignment surgery for minors. The bill specifically barred “hormone or puberty blockers” aimed at helping “gender dysphoric” youth. Both bills are headed to the desk of Republican Tennessee governor Bill Lee, who is expected to sign them into law.

“No matter what radicals say, I am proud to be a relentless defender of Tennessee kids,” Republican state senator Jack Johnson told a local Fox affiliate earlier this week.

“The passing of my bill in the Tennessee Senate is a huge accomplishment in the fight to keep our kids safe. As a dad, you can be certain I’ll continue my fight to safeguard our Tennessee kids,” added Johnson, who introduced the Senate version of HB1.