February 26, 2024

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Gov. Lee dismisses yearbook image of him in women’s dresses as he readies to signal anti-drag monthly bill

UPDATE (3/2/23): The Tennessee Senate has officially passed a bill proscribing drag demonstrates, which indicates the monthly bill is heading to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk, exactly where he reported he’ll sign it into legislation.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A invoice that would prohibit drag performances in Tennessee is 1 procedural move absent from the governor’s desk and turning into the legislation.

But just as the bill is about to cross the end line, a yearbook photo taken virtually 50 many years back showing up to clearly show Gov. Bill Lee in a costume has turned into a headache.

“Sexualized entertainment in front of small children and obscenity for children is anything that shouldn’t transpire in this state,” Lee explained to reporters as protestors known as him a fascist and a liar at an event in Memphis on Wednesday.

Reporters also questioned Lee once again about the photograph circulating on the internet from his 1977 Franklin Substantial yearbook.

“It’s preposterous to attempt and conflate some high school skit to something that is as significant as most likely genuinely harming small children,” Lee explained.

Nonetheless, the photo doesn’t feel to be likely absent.

Pretty much $40,000 has been lifted for a GoFundMe to put up billboards of the photograph close to Tennessee following to foster care studies in the state.

In the feedback on the donation web site, people are declaring they are from states close to the state and contacting Lee a hypocrite.

If signed, the bill would in portion ban “adult cabaret performances,” “male or female impersonators,” “topless dancers” and/or “similar entertainers” from providing leisure that appeals to a “prurient curiosity.”

The bill’s sponsors say the definition of what would qualify as a “prurient interest” is stated in Tennessee Code.

“I imagine the language is quite clear at what we are making an attempt to get at and it is blatantly sexually explicit enjoyment, simulating sexual intercourse acts,” invoice sponsor and Senate The vast majority Chief Jack Johnson explained. “That any affordable particular person can appear at and deem that is inappropriate.”

Johnson has also repeatedly explained this legislation is not meant to goal the LGBTQ local community but instead to defend children.

Nevertheless, opponents and critics of the monthly bill worry that this invoice would be broader than stopping performances with simulated sexual intercourse acts and argue that drag is an art type and not the exact as exotic dancing.

“This invoice would allow me as a district legal professional, by the plain language of this invoice, to arrest Beyonce,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville).

When asked if there have been scenarios of public, adult cabaret that have been destructive to children in Tennessee, the other sponsor of the invoice described why he felt inspired to deliver forward the legislation.

“This earlier yr in my local community we had a neighborhood team determine to do a quote spouse and children-welcoming drag show and when they outlined this as relatives-helpful, my community rose up,” Rep. Chris Todd (R-Madison County) stated.

Todd mentioned his constituents lifted 1000’s of pounds have been elevated to set up a legal combat in his county to halt the demonstrate from taking place, and that afterward, his constituents requested him to acquire the challenge to the General Assembly.

Tennessee is not the only point out to bring ahead a bill proscribing drag performances. States like Arizona, Texas and Tennessee all have legislation associated to drag relocating via their statehouses.

When asked if they plan to problem the law in court, the ACLU of Tennessee said they experienced worries about the monthly bill.

“We have critical constitutional concerns about the drag ban that could final result in litigation. We would like to continue on to listen to from party organizers, performers and enterprises or other people that are going to host drag events and are prevented from doing so when the new law is handed,” wrote the team in a assertion.

⏩ Read today’s major stories on wkrn.com

If it is signed by the governor, the initially offense for performers who break the regulation would be a Course A misdemeanor and a 2nd offense would be a Class E felony.

The bill’s sponsor said ultimately the selection as to irrespective of whether a functionality is sexual in mother nature will be still left to judges, juries and community regulation enforcement.