Tennessee Legislature Passes Bill Banning Drag Shows In Front Of Kids

 February 27, 2023

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that, classifies “male and female impersonators” as adult cabaret performers, while also banning “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors.” The legislation, SB3, now makes its way to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s office. It would prevent drag shows, from taking place on public property, or in front of children.

Chris Todd, R-Madison County State Rep., filed the bill, saying “this is a common-sense child-safety bill.” Passing by a vote of 79 to 19, the bill makes it illegal to host an “adult cabaret performance” in a location where children are present. This same legislation, proposed by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, would also ban adult cabaret performances on public property.

In the bill, Cabaret performers are defined as “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, [and] male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest.” If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Lee, anyone who either hosts or performs a drag show in the presence of children would be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of $2,500, one year in prison, with repeat offenses considered a felony, and defendants subject to a $3,000 fine with one to six years in prison.

Johnson went on to say-

“The intent of the legislation is just to simply say that you cannot have sexually explicit entertainment … in a public venue where kids might be present,”… “We’re protecting kids and families and parents who want to be able to take their kids to public places.”

-TN Senate Majority Leader, Jack Johnson

This is a victory for preserving the innocence of these children. These vulnerable minds need those who are older and hopefully, with a more mature outlook to protect them from negative influences.

In June of 2021, writer David Marcus, in an opinion piece for Fox News put it this way-

“Put simply, do we have, as a society, a responsibility to protect the innocence of children? The notion that childhood should be a time of innocence is a relative newcomer to our culture. Eighteenth Century French writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau is generally considered the father of this movement. which held that children enter the world blameless and should be protected from negative influences until they develop into fully reasonable adults.  Among the upshots of this change were laws barring child labor and providing universal education. But today, the American left is abandoning this principle. Does it still believe that childhood should be a time of innocence?”

-David Marcus, Fox News

Three cheers for the Tennessee Legislature who is taking a very unpopular stand on behalf of these less mature and highly vulnerable minds. More states need to consider this issue.

“For in every adult there resides the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be”

-John Connolly


“No man knows the value of innocence and integrity but he who has lost them.”

-William Godwin
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