Origins of Tennessee's Controversial Anti-Drag Bill, from Jackson to the State Capital
JACKSON, Tenn. - Tennessee has become the first state this year to restrict drag show performances.
Governor Bill Lee has signed a bill that restricts public drag shows.
The state senate passed the bill to limit “adult cabaret performances” on public property.
While new laws typically go into effect on July 1st, the bill has been amended to take effect April 1st, ahead of Pride Month in June.
“I just get a feeling that lawmakers are uninformed or misinformed about these decisions they are making, that do affect people’s lives.”
Julie Cooke respects lawmakers wanting to serve, but believes there are misconceptions on both sides, lawmakers and the LGBTQ community.
It is reported that after state lawmaker, Chris Todd, received complaints about a drag show in Jackson, he spearheaded the effort to create one of the nation’s first restrictions on drag performances.
“Our conservative legislature in this state decided to act on this proposal, and they made it a law and governor lee signed it into law, and some states are mimicking what’s been done in Tennessee while some states look down upon it.”
John Rawl knows some states are agreeing with Tennessee, while other states are disagreeing, but praises Tennesseans for doing what they believe is in their communities’ best interests.
“I’m just sad because I think it’s not really meant as anti-LGBTQ, but I think there’s very much misinformation or lack of information on the part of lawmakers, when they discuss this issue, and they feel they do the thing that represents most of their constituents.”
“I would say Jackson is the home of this, because it started here as far as I know, and I mean yeah, some people might say it’s a bad image, but I think it’s a good image.”
Julie Cooke and John Rawl, as Jackson community members, do both agree that Jackson had an impact on the state’s drag restrictions.