Hundreds protest bill that would ban public drag performances in Tennessee

Have a heart rally with drag speaker
Posted at 10:45 PM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 15:48:53-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hundreds gathered in front of the Tennessee State Capitol to protest what they call anti-LGBTQ bills.

Currently, multiple bills are being debated in the House and Senate that would no longer allow cabaret shows — and drag shows — on public property or for those under 18.

“The people leading in the state legislature have simply lost touch with reality,” said Phil Cobucci with Inclusion Tennessee.

Multiple LGBTQ+ groups held a news conference at the Legislative Plaza on Valentine’s day called the “Have a Heart Tennessee Rally.”

The protestors say SB3, HB09, and HB30, all would turn back the clock on LGBTQ+ related events and performances, while republican lawmakers say it’s all about protecting children.

Drag queens speak on their performing experience

“This is a common-sense child safety bill. There's confusion in the law of what performances are covered. This clarifies what is crossing the line that is harmful to minors,” said Rep. Chris Todd (R.)

Some families at the rally say there is nothing sexual about drag performances and children should be able to watch them.

“I don't think drag artists are in any way harmful to my children. I think it's a colorful performance art and in no way a threat to my children,” said Mary Jo Hansson, mother of three.

Some versions of the bill would also require all drag performances to obtain a permit.