On Thursday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed legislation limiting drag performances and outlawing gender transition therapies for children.
As the first state to do so, Tennessee has now made it against the law to perform in public or somewhere where children might watch you perform.
According to The Hill, the law forbids “adult cabaret acts” from occurring within a distance of 1,000 feet of schools, parks, or places of worship. The law becomes operative on July 1.
The bill adds to Tennessee’s already strict regulations on “adult-oriented companies” by extending the state’s obscenity statutes to cover shows with topless or exotic dancers, “male or female impersonators,” or any performers that offer entertainment “appealing to a prurient desire.”
What, then, is the penalty for performing?
First-time offenders may face a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail. All additional violations will be considered felonies of Class E.
Several other states are exploring similar prohibitions, including Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Utah. A new law restricting “adult-oriented” concerts was just approved by the governor of Arkansas. After receiving complaints of prejudice, the bill that at first targeted drag shows was modified.
While the bill has sparked similar worries, its proponents claimed that wasn’t their intention.
Republican state senator Jack Johnson from Tennessee claimed the legislation targets “sexually provocative drag shows” that aren’t beneficial to children.
Moreover, hormone or puberty blocker prescriptions and procedures for gender transformation on minors are legally prohibited in the state.
According to The Hill, the American Civil Liberties Union and the LGBTQIA+ civil rights group Lambda Legal will challenge the law in court.