Tennessee governor Invoice Lee introduced on Monday that he’ll signal a invoice banning drag present performances inside 1,000 ft of public parks, faculties, or locations of worship. If the invoice turns into legislation, first-time violators may face fines of as much as $2,500 and as much as a yr in jail; any additional offense can be categorized as a felony that’s punishable by as much as six years in jail. On condition that Lee believes it’s cheap to imprison folks from participating on this kind of exercise, you’d most likely anticipate that by no means in his life—not even as soon as!—did he present up in a public place dressed like a lady. And but!
Over the weekend, an unearthed yearbook photograph of Lee surfaced on Reddit exhibiting him in a costume and pearls, with the caption “Laborious Luck Lady.” On condition that Lee was objectively wearing drag—and seemingly on faculty property!—the invoice he’s about to signal, if in impact on the time, may have resulted in him being fined heftily, in addition to in 11 months and 29 days behind bars. But requested concerning the 1977 photograph by The Every day Beast, Lee’s workplace insisted there’s completely no comparability between what he did as a teen and what he’s attempting to make unlawful. “The invoice particularly protects youngsters from obscene, sexualized leisure, and any try to conflate this critical problem with lighthearted faculty traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee households,” a spokesperson informed the outlet.
Confronted with a replica of the photograph throughout a press convention on Monday and requested, “Do you bear in mind dressing in drag in 1977?” Lee snapped and angrily responded: “What a ridiculous, ridiculous query that’s. Conflating one thing like that to sexualized leisure in entrance of kids, which is a really critical topic…” He trailed off and didn’t reply when requested if he solely thinks drag must be “unlawful when homosexual folks do it.”
Twitter content material
This content material can be considered on the location it originates from.
In fact, Republicans like Lee have principally argued that anybody carrying drag is sexualizing youngsters, interval. Therefore the uproar over Drag Story Hour, a nationwide occasion wherein drag performers actually simply learn books to youngsters. And regardless of Lee’s claims of individuals unfairly “conflating” issues, as The Every day Beast notes, the Tennessee invoice “is vaguely worded and it’s unclear…if Lee carrying girls’s clothes can be exempt from its felony categorization.” As written, it won’t be!
Lee is much from the one GOP official to attempt to make drag exhibits unlawful in lots of conditions, with a minimum of 14 states crafting related items of laws. He’s additionally not the one blatant hypocrite: Consultant George Santos, who has spoken approvingly of legal guidelines like “Don’t Say Homosexual,” reportedly wearing drag whereas residing in Brazil and glided by the identify drag identify “Kitara Ravache.” (Santos has each denied this and likewise stated, of a photograph of him wearing drag, “I used to be younger and I had enjoyable at a competition. Sue me for having a life.”) In the meantime, failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who has claimed drag queens are harmful to youngsters, reportedly employed a drag queen to carry out for a celebration at her dwelling (together with her youngsters apparently current) and at bars in Arizona. (Lake’s marketing campaign acknowledged to The Washington Submit that she had attended an occasion with a “Marilyn Monroe impersonator.” She later despatched a stop and desist letter to Richard Stevens, the drag queen who had referred to as her out, with a spokesperson for Lake accusing him of “defamatory lies.”)
Raging hypocrisy apart, it’s troublesome to take Lee and different Republicans critically after they declare they’re passing and signing most of these payments for the kids. For one factor, it’s not clear how the mere presence of a drag performer hurts youngsters, neither is it readily obvious how, for instance, being learn to in a library by an individual in drag can be detrimental to a toddler’s well-being. For one more, folks like Lee are passing and signing legal guidelines that can actively hurt youngsters; on Monday, the governor additionally stated that he would prohibit gender-affirming look after minors. That’s going to have a way more devastating influence on a trans baby than being in the identical room as a pleasant drag queen.