05/15/23 Passed House Third Read (31-27-1)
04/10/23 Passed House Committee of the Whole
04/04/23 Passed House Rules (5-3)
03/29/23 Passed House Government (5-4)
03/16/23 Passed Senate Floor (16-14)
02/16/23 Passed Senate Government Committee (5-3)
01/11/23 Senate Second Read
01/10/23 Senate First Read
What started with men dressed in heavy women’s makeup and glitzy dresses reading to preschoolers, has quickly accelerated. Now, drag queen shows often include performers stripping, dancing provocatively, singing, and acting in a sexually charged manner. Drag performers continue to push the bounds of sexual innuendo.
LGBTQ activists have been able to hide behind a false claim of discrimination and a general cry of victimization as they expose young children to inappropriate sexual talk, dance moves, and dress.
Arizona law puts a number of restrictions on adult businesses, including a prohibition on sexually explicit shows or performances in the presence of minors. Arizonans, and Americans overall, have long seen the wisdom in protecting children from sexuality-related adult entertainment. It is time to bring drag shows in line with traditional sex shows and limit audiences to adults.
When Drag Queen Story Hour began a few years ago, it was confined to men dressed up as caricatures of women reading books to young children. Many parents balked at that, but it didn’t stay there. Now, performances include men spreading their legs,[i] allowing children to climb on top of them,[ii] teaching children suggestive dances[iii] and how to perform for tips.[iv]
While denying they target children, some drag performers tip their hands. One example: A performer at a Los Angeles Zoo drag show for children recently said, “We just thought we would give the children a little something to snack on, ya know what I’m say’n?”[v]
As the shows became increasingly sexual, activists feigned innocence, still claiming they were harmlessly reading to children. Parents rely on elected officials to protect children from inappropriate material in the public square, just as they do traditional strip clubs, and adult stores and shows.
What the Bills Do
SB 1026 ensures taxpayer dollars are not used by anyone or any entity or institution to pay for drag shows targeting minors. This includes state tax dollars and federal tax dollars passing through the state treasury. The bill includes punishment for those in violation of the law; they would be barred from receiving or spending state money for three years.
SB 1028 prohibits cabaret performances on public property and in view of children. It defines cabaret performances to include strippers, exotic dancers, drag shows, drag performers, male and female impersonators, etc.
The bill allows municipalities to further restrict such adult performances and carries a punishment for violators of a class one misdemeanor, and a class 6 felony for subsequent offenses.
SB 1030 amends Arizona statutes relating to adult businesses, bringing drag shows in line with other sexually suggestive performances already regulated by state law. It includes drag shows in the definition of adult-oriented businesses and requires drag shows to be licensed as other adult-oriented businesses.
Other States Regulating Drag Shows
Other states have seen the dangers of allowing seductive drag shows to target children and they have introduced bills to treat such shows as any other sexually suggestive adult business. A sample of proposed legislation includes:
- Lawmakers in Texas filed legislation to deem businesses “sexually – oriented” if they host drag shows, thereby forbidding children to attend.[vi]
- Governor Ron DeSantis uses existing child protective statutes to fast-track a ban on drag shows for children in Florida. Lawmakers there introduced legislation prohibiting minors from attending drag shows and holding parents responsible who bring children to such shows. Localities such as Miami-Dade County prohibit minors from even being on the premises of venues hosting adult performances.
- Ohio is considering a ban on drag shows for minors.
- Idaho lawmakers filed a bill that would ban drag shows in public.
- Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow parents to sue schools that host drag shows.
- Montana lawmakers are also considering a bill to prohibit minors from attending drag shows.
- Tennessee lawmakers filed a bill similar to SB 1028, prohibiting cabaret performances in public.
- Missouri lawmakers also filed a bill similar to SB 1028.
- Arkansas lawmakers filed a bill categorizing drag shows as adult businesses.
- 31 U.S. House members last year signed onto legislation, the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” that would ban federal funds from going to public or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years old to sexually explicit material.[vii]
Such laws have the support of most adults nationwide. A majority of Americans, 60%, believe drag shows are inappropriate for minors.[viii]
- All sexually charged performances should be limited to adults, regardless of the performers’ sexuality.
- Drag Queen Story Hour has become drag queen grooming hour. It is the Legislature’s job to ensure the protection of children in the public square. We have always protected them from sex shows; drag shows are no different.
- Arizonans should not have to pay for the sexualization of children. Drag shows have reached the point of grooming children while hiding behind a false narrative of discrimination.
- There are limits on free speech and expression. That is why traditional strip shows are reserved for adults. Drag shows are no different and should be regulated equally.
Drag Queen Story Hour has quickly become drag queen grooming hour, exposing young children to sexually charged performances, stripping, and even touching between performer and minors. Parents rely on lawmakers to protect children in the public square. Laws protect children from traditional adult shows; drag shows are no different and should be regulated as such.
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