A Republican lawmaker in Arkansas has introduced a bill to classify drug performances as adult entertainment, similar to erotic movies and escort services.
The law also bans drag shows in public places or places where people under the age of 18 can see them. , and performances are classified as singing, dancing, lip-syncing, or other types of entertainment for an audience of two or more people in a manner “intended to appeal to obscene interest.”
Drag shows are “destroying the innocence of these kids,” Sen. Gary Stubblefield, who sponsored his Congressional version of the bill, told Arkansas television station KHBS/KHOG. “They aren’t children anymore. They see things they shouldn’t see.”
LGBTQ+ activists have spoken out against the law.
“The audacity of this bill to try to say we’re not appropriate in front of an entire audience is ridiculous,” Patti Johnson, who plays drag as Lady Cakes Monroe, told KHBS/KHOG. She said she has been doing drag shows for audiences of all ages for over a decade.
Program director and NWA equality advocate Megan Tulloch said homophobia was behind the bill. Is it?” she told the station. “Or is this to keep queer people away from children?”
Tullock said if the measure becomes law, it will affect things like the Pride Festival. “Youth Including Drag Performances There are drag performers on the main stage that are outdoors, even if they are not related to her zone. . .
Others pointed to the chilling effect of the law as well. Deloris Wilk, executive director of Central Arkansas Pride, told TV station KATV, “As a member of the LGBT community, the pronouns are ‘they’ and ‘them.’ Being a person directly impacts me every day.” “I dress differently than my assigned gender. It would also prevent Central Arkansas Pride from hosting the annual festival, Wilk said.
MD Hunter, who does drugs as Athena Sinclair, added that the law would affect touring events that bring money to the state. [host] Either Miss Gay America or one of these events,” Hunter told KATV. [actors] I always act as the opposite sex. I think the biggest aspect of this is that people don’t really know what drugs are. “
Stubblefield and Rep. Mary Bentley said they expected the bill to pass easily because both houses have Republican majority. The state’s new Republican governor and former White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, does not appear to be commenting on the move, but she has leaned into the culture war issue in her first week in office. Among other things, she issued an executive order banning the use of the term “Latino” in state documents and the teaching of critical race theory in Arkansas schools.
Republican lawmakers in Arizona also recently introduced a bill aimed at limiting drag show times and audiences. The drag queen’s Story Hour and other drag performances have come under attack from the right wing this past year.