A wave of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment has sparked a nationwide push by Republican politicians to pass restrictive laws targeting drag shows, part of an increasingly hostile climate in conservative regions across the United States.
Legislation to Censor the Media
Legislators in multiple states, including Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas, have pushed for new legislation that could potentially censor the media.
According to a report from one of America’s top freedom of speech organizations, 14 bills are currently being considered across eight US states with an intent to limit viewers’ access to shows on television screens nationwide.
Wild how almost every politician pushing anti-gay/trans/drag legislation ALWAYS has something like this that confirms that it is just deeply internalized self hatred and internalized homophobia in action https://t.co/lntAvvisGq
— Bean (@arealwildbean) January 20, 2023
As attention around drag events and performances grows, so too has the pushback.
The recent political rhetoric surrounding these types of activities prompted bills to be drafted in Montana, Idaho, as well as other states throughout the US – an assertion made by civil liberties group, Pen America.
Despite protests or interruptions at some shows, many are dedicated to promoting awareness of LGBTQ+ issues for children within local communities.
There has been a dramatic clash between the progressive stance of LGBTQ+ rights and those who oppose it; this conflict is coming to head in states like Florida that have passed the Parental Rights in Education law.
This struggle for equality – which often involves peaceful protests, as well as violence – continues today throughout America.
Last weekend in Taunton, Massachusetts, a Drag Queen Story Hour event was disrupted by masked men allegedly affiliated with the neo-Nazi group NSC-131, chanting anti-pedophile slogans.
In response to their actions, the library ended the scheduled program early restoring order for attending community members.
The drag queen Brita Filter, performing here in a church as part of a Pride initiative, was invited by the Biden administration to perform at the signing of same-sex-marriage legislation on Tuesday. 😡😡
Join: Denzel Washington pic.twitter.com/4BuYEoku8s
— Samurai World Yojinbo (@Mushroommillio5) January 15, 2023
Restrictive Laws to Classify Drag Performances as “Adult-like or Sexualized”
Pen America has identified a troubling trend across the US: increasingly restrictive laws attempting to classify drag performances as adult-like or sexualized in nature.
Director of Pen’s free expression programs Kate Ruane commented this is “part of a broader rise in political rhetoric about drag performances.”
This increasing curtailment on self-expression could limit access for both budding and established artists within the LGBTQ+ community – something advocates are now taking active steps against.
Across the nation, mass protests chorusing an anti-censorship message are on the rise as restrictive bills attempting to cut off such forms of expression take center stage.
While public dialogue surrounding these measures is growing more heated each day, what they actually do and say might be quite different than anticipated.
Drag artists have sounded the alarm after a number of proposed bills threatened to put their livelihoods in jeopardy.
These acts consist of vibrant performances that celebrate gender expression and serve as an integral part of queer culture. Pen urges legislators to protect these cherished forms of creative artistry from any form of governmental suppression – drag shows are here for good.
Raising the curtain for an unprecedented decision, a series of bills have been proposed that would expand existing regulations and establish new zoning laws regarding areas hosting drag performances.
If these efforts are successful, such establishments could no longer be found in close proximity to schools or residential neighborhoods.