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Some states want to say where you can and can't be in drag

A drag queen performs during celebrations for Pride month in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A drag queen performs during celebrations for Pride month in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Republicans in state legislatures across the U.S. have found their focus for the 2023 legislative session: drag.

But drag has been around for a long, long time.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed one of these drag-restricting bills into law on March 3. But a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect on April 1.

The law would prohibit people in Tennessee from being in drag in public places or where it could be seen by people under the age of 18. It defines drag as “adult cabaret.”

Other states like Texas have more than one bill on the legislative floor that would ban drag. And the Spectrum club at West Texas A&M had a charity drag show canceled by the university president, who called drag “misogynist” and equivalent to blackface.

Florida has its own version of the bill too called “Protection of Children.” It would take away licenses and pose $5,000 to $10,000 fines to businesses that violate it if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs it into law.

We discuss the response to these bills and whether or not they violate free speech.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Jorgelina Manna-Rea