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Bill filed to ban drag shows in public spaces

The bill is part of a trend in GOP-controlled legislatures targeting drag performances.

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Drag shows would no longer be allowed in Alabama schools, libraries or other public spaces where minors are present if a bill introduced Friday passes into law.

Sponsored by Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Indian Springs, the bill follows the example of other conservative states that have taken aim at drag shows.

The bill adds a code section to existing law preventing material “harmful to minors” from being disseminated in public spaces. 

“Any sexual or gender oriented material that exposes minors to persons who are dressed in sexually revealing, exaggerated, or provocative clothing or costumes, or are stripping, or engaged in lewd or lascivious dancing, presentations, or activities, including but not limited to topless, go-go, or exotic dancers, or male or female impersonators, commonly known as drag queens or drag kings,” the language adds to a section defining sexual content.

Josh Coleman, president of Central Alabama Pride, criticized the filing of the bill Friday.

“This bill is an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and the vibrant culture of the LGBTQ+ community in Alabama,” Coleman said. “Drag performances have long been a source of empowerment, resilience, and unity for our community, and banning them is an affront to our fundamental rights. Additionally, in its haste to assault the LGBTQ+ community, the Alabama Legislature has drafted a bill so broad it could criminalize a day at the beach. This crusade to legislate subjective notions of morality threatens the liberty of every Alabamian.”

Tennessee became the first state in the nation to ban drag shows in public spaces in March. At least 14 other states are considering similar legislation in GOP-controlled Legislatures.

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Drag shows have also been targeted by far-right extremists including Neo-nazis in recent months, including the firebombing of a Tulsa donut shop among other bomb threats, protests and intimidation.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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