© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Critics say Tennessee's public drag show ban hurts the entire state's LGBTQ community

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Yesterday, Tennessee became the first state to restrict drag shows in public spaces.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Ayes, 26 - 6 nays.

BILL LEE: Senate Bill 3, having conferred in Amendment No. 1, is adopted.

SUMMERS: Republican Governor Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 3 into law shortly after it passed in the Senate.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Proponents of the law considered drag shows harmful to minors and call this legislation an effort to protect children.

SUMMERS: But parents like Mary Jo Hansson, a mother of three, aren't worried about their kids being exposed to drag. She brought hers to a rally at the statehouse last month to protest the bill. Here's what she told Nashville's NewsChannel 5.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "NEWSCHANNEL 5 NASHVILLE")

MARY JO HANSSON: Yeah, I don't think drag artists are in any way harmful to my children. I think it's a colorful performance art.

CHANG: The way the law is written is causing concern from members of the LGBTQ+ community at large. Language within the bill restricts performances by, quote, "male or female impersonators," and trans Tennesseans are worried this bill will criminalize their everyday gender expression. Here's how Henry Seaton with the ACLU explained it to Marianna Bacallao of NPR member station WPLN.

HENRY SEATON: They don't define male and female impersonators as just drag performers. That can easily be a trans person. You know, there's the phenomenon of walking while trans, where specifically, like, trans women of color, while just existing, oftentimes get the police called on them.

SUMMERS: The ACLU plans to challenge this law if it's used to punish a drag performer or shut down family-friendly LGBTQ+ events. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Erika Ryan
Erika Ryan is a producer for All Things Considered. She joined NPR after spending 4 years at CNN, where she worked for various shows and CNN.com in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Ryan began her career in journalism as a print reporter covering arts and culture. She's a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and currently lives in Washington, D.C., with her dog, Millie.
Ivy Winfrey

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.