A North Carolina Bill was introduced by Republican legislators that seek to ban drag shows on public property and in front of minors. House Bill 673 was introduced after a viral video that shows a drag queen giving a lap dance to a student at a public school in the state, Fox News reported.
North Carolina Bill Criminalizes Drag Shows
The North Carolina Bill was filed by Republican Rep. Jeff Zenger who seeks to identify adult live, adult entertainment as performances that feature topless dancers, strippers, exotic dancers, or male and female impersonators who provide entertainment regardless of whether or not performed for consideration.
The bill would prohibit this entertainment on public property or in a location where adult live entertainment is in the presence of an individual under the age of 18. Violators of this bill would be guilty of a misdemeanor with up to five months in jail for the first offense and a Class I felony with up to a year in jail for subsequent offenses.
The proposed North Carolina bill has 17 cosponsors and seeks to ban drag shows after complaints from constituents about a drag show held at Forsyth Technical Community College. The school confirmed that students of all ages were allowed to attend, which sparked backlash.
North Carolina Bill Similar to Other States
The North Carolina bill is one of 34 similar bills introduced in 14 other states, according to the Equality Federation. LGBTQ rights group Equality NC slammed the North Carolina bill as discriminatory and dangerous. The group stated that the criminalization of drag is especially dangerous in the current cultural context, where the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys have increasingly targeted the LGBTQ+ community, protesting drag shows, nightclubs, and public events by the queer community. The group believes anti-drag bills will only further embolden the far-right in their attacks.
The North Carolina state Senate has also advanced a bill to ban biological males from competing on girls’ sports teams. These bills are part of a wider trend targeting the LGBTQ+ community in conservative states. While proponents of these bills argue that they are protecting public decency and women’s rights, critics argue that these bills are discriminatory and harmful to LGBTQ+ individuals. The proposed North Carolina bill, if passed, would be a major setback for the LGBTQ+ community in the state.