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Home Lifestyle Tennessee makes drag and trans well being care bans legislation : NPR

Tennessee makes drag and trans well being care bans legislation : NPR

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Tennessee makes drag and trans well being care bans legislation : NPR

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Britney Banks speaks to protesters exterior the Tennessee state Capitol on Feb. 14, 2023, because the legislature hears testimony on two payments that may limit the rights of LGBTQ folks within the state.

Blaise Gainey/WPLN


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Blaise Gainey/WPLN


Britney Banks speaks to protesters exterior the Tennessee state Capitol on Feb. 14, 2023, because the legislature hears testimony on two payments that may limit the rights of LGBTQ folks within the state.

Blaise Gainey/WPLN

Nashville, TENN. — Tennessee Gov. Invoice Lee has signed a invoice banning drag reveals in public areas, a measure that can probably pressure drag reveals underground in Tennessee.

Lee gave his signature simply hours after the measure handed within the Senate Thursday afternoon. In the identical sitting, he signed a ban on gender-affirming well being care for youth within the state.

The announcement comes as a yearbook picture of the Republican governor in drag lately surfaced on Reddit.

Lee says there is a massive distinction between sporting a gown at a highschool soccer recreation and drag queens sporting a gown on stage.

Hella Skeleton, a drag performer in rural Center Tennessee, says the road just isn’t clear.

“For Invoice Lee to say, ‘, that was lighthearted after I did it,’ that’s completely absurd when a number of drag is extraordinarily lighthearted,” Skeleton says. “Apparently when straight males gown up badly in drag, that is OK. However when homosexual and queer and trans folks do it, that is not OK.”

Republican State Rep. Jack Johnson co-sponsored the invoice. He says, “We’re defending children and households and fogeys who need to have the ability to take their children to public locations. We’re not attacking anybody or focusing on anybody.”

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Broad language worries advocates

The language of the invoice has additionally drawn concern from the bigger LGBTQ group. Drag performers are outlined as “male or feminine impersonators.” The ACLU of Tennessee’s Henry Seaton says that might influence queer Tennesseans on and off the stage.

“It is … this refined and sinister option to additional criminalize simply being trans,” Seaton says.

The ban might even have a chilling impact on Satisfaction festivals. Outside drag is a staple within the Tennessee summer season warmth. Whereas new legal guidelines sometimes go into impact on July 1, the invoice was quietly amended in January to take impact April 1 — forward of Satisfaction month in June.

Tennessee Tech pupil Cadence Miller says his technology of queer folks owe so much to pull queens, and that it is no accident they’re below menace now.

“Traditionally, drag has been such an integral a part of queer tradition,” Miller says. “Trans drag performers who have been like pioneers and us getting … any kind of queer rights, like in any respect.”

Authorized challenges forward

The legislation calls drag reveals “dangerous to minors,” however the state’s American Civil Liberties Union says that the authorized definition for “dangerous to minors” could be very slim in Tennessee and solely covers excessive sexual or violent content material.

“The legislation bans obscene performances, and drag performances are usually not inherently obscene,” says ACLU of Tennessee Authorized Director Stella Yarbrough. The best way the legislation is written, she says, shouldn’t make drag reveals unlawful within the state.

“Nevertheless, we’re involved that authorities officers might simply abuse this legislation to censor folks based mostly on their very own subjective viewpoints of what they deem acceptable.”

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Yarbrough says the ACLU will problem the legislation whether it is used to punish a drag performer or shut down a family-friendly LGBTQ occasion.

Impacts on native enterprise and past

The measure refers to pull reveals as “grownup cabaret” that “enchantment to a prurient nature.” Nashville enterprise proprietor David Taylor testified earlier than the state legislature that the drag reveals at his membership are usually not sexually express:

“We all know this as a result of we now have a Tennessee liquor license and are certain by Tennessee liquor legal guidelines. Our greater than 20 years in enterprise, we have not acquired a quotation for one in all our drag performers.”

Taylor says the ban on drag will negatively influence Nashville’s economic system. Drag brunches within the metropolis’s bars are crammed with bachelorette events, and Music Metropolis’s notorious fleet of celebration automobiles features a drag queen-specific bus.

“My companies alone have contributed greater than $13 million to the state within the type of gross sales and liquor taxes since we opened,” Taylor says.

This legislative session is the third yr in a row that the statehouse has peeled again the rights of transgender Tennesseans. It has many trans folks and households of trans children questioning whether or not staying within the state is well worth the combat.

“There’s lots of people who grew up right here, and that is the place their roots are. And it is actually brutal to be confronted with that type of selection of, you already know, you possibly can both keep right here and undergo or you possibly can go away this house that you’ve got created and all that you’ve got invested in right here,” says drag performer Hella Skeleton. “So, yeah, it is a actually robust selection.”



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