Tennessee governor will signal payments limiting drag, transgender youth therapy By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. drag queen ‘Peppermint’ performs throughout the 31th annual homosexual and lesbian Mardi Gras parade in central Sydney March 7, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz


By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – Tennessee Governor Invoice Lee mentioned he would signal into legislation payments that handed the legislature final week banning gender-affirming therapy for transgender youth and limiting drag performances in public.

Talking to reporters outdoors a faculty on Monday, Lee, a Republican, additionally addressed a high-school yearbook {photograph} that appeared to indicate him carrying a cheerleaders’ costume, a wig and a pearl necklace.

“What a ridiculous, ridiculous query,” Lee mentioned when requested if he recalled dressing in drag in 1977, “conflating one thing like that to sexualized leisure in entrance of youngsters, which is a really, very severe topic.”

Lee mentioned the drag invoice, which comes into impact April 1, would shield youngsters from being “probably uncovered to sexualized leisure, to obscenity.”

Civil rights teams and drag performers have famous that Tennessee, like different states, already bans obscenity in entrance of minors, and name the restrictions unconstitutional, obscure and redundant.

Fashionable drag performances, which have lengthy flourished in LGBT venues earlier than turning into a extra mainstream leisure in recent times, usually don’t contain nudity.

Performers who host drag brunches at eating places or library studying hours with youngsters say they’re able to tailor their exhibits to be child- or family-friendly. Consultant Chris Todd, a Republican sponsor of the invoice, has mentioned even drag exhibits that invoice themselves as family-friendly are inappropriate and even dangerous to youngsters.

One of many payments Lee will signal bans docs from offering gender-affirming medical therapy, corresponding to puberty blockers, hormone remedy and surgical procedure, for transgender minors.

The opposite criminalizes “grownup cabaret leisure” in public or the place it may very well be seen by youngsters. The invoice defines such leisure as together with “adult-oriented” performances by strippers, go-go dancers or “male or feminine impersonators,” phrases left undefined.

The Tennessee payments are a part of an upswing in latest months in Republican efforts to control the conduct of lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and queer folks.

“The final word purpose is the general public erasure of LGBTQ folks,” mentioned Stella Yarbrough, the authorized director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

She referred to as Lee’s feedback concerning the yearbook {photograph} hypocritical: “They’ve this blind spot the place they appear to permit themselves to do those self same actions as a result of they assign themselves an harmless intent, they usually ascribe to others a responsible intent or a sexually perverted intent, and it is only a double commonplace.”

After Lee’s remarks, his workplace issued an announcement: “The invoice particularly protects youngsters from obscene, sexualized leisure, and any try to conflate this severe difficulty with lighthearted faculty traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee households.”

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