Republican lawmakers in Kentucky are proposing a bill that aims to criminalize drag show performances in front of minors. The proposed law would be punishable as a misdemeanor for the first two offenses and as a felony for subsequent violations, according to the bill. The primary objective, according to the bill’s authors, is to prevent minors from being subjected to “sexually explicit performances.”
The bill has sparked controversy, with some opponents reportedly asserting it is discriminatory and a violation of the First Amendment. They say that drag performances, which often take place in bars, are mostly attended by adults over 21 and that there are already laws in place to protect minors. Furthermore, they state that the bill unfairly targets venues that host drag shows, as businesses could face having their alcohol and business licenses suspended or revoked if it is passed.
Supporters of the bill, however, argue that it is necessary to protect children from seeing explicit performances. Furthermore, they charge that the punishments are reasonable, especially given the first two offenses are treated as misdemeanors, and that businesses would still be able to host performances as long as they do not feature male or female impersonators.