Drag queens ride on a float during a Stonewall Pride parade. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Two Ohio Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would ban drag performers from working anywhere that isn’t designated as an adult entertainment facility. The way the law is written, it would also appear to ban any theatrical performance where a character wears clothing opposite gender at birth.
House Bill 245 prohibits “adult cabaret performances in locations other than adult cabarets,” and adds to the definition of adult cabaret performances “performers or entertainers who exhibit a gender identity that is different from the performer’s or entertainer’s gender assigned at birth.” This means that drag queens and kings can only perform at places like an “adult” cabaret, an “adult” theater or a “sexual encounter establishment.”
It was introduced by state Reps. Angie King (R-Celina), Josh Williams (R-Oregon) and is co-sponsored by 41 other Republican House members.
The bill lumps drag performers in with acts that are “harmful to juveniles or obscene,” such as strippers and topless dancers.
People found guilty of performing in the presence of someone under 18 would get a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the performance involved is obscene, a violation is a felony of the fifth degree. It is unclear what this means since all drag performing would be considered obscene under the proposed law.
If someone present at the drag performance is under 13 years old, the performer would get a felony of the fourth degree under the proposed law.
States have been banning or limiting drag shows due to unsubstantiated fears of danger for kids. This idea has been introduced in at least 14 other GOP-led states.
This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
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