Republican leaders proposing anti-wire laws are in trouble

  • A Texas state senator and a Tennessee governor have proposed their own laws restricting drag shows.
  • Both Republican leaders have dressed up in the past — based on the definition of the word in their bills.
  • They have argued that it is not the same as a drag show.

A Texas state representative and Tennessee governor who have supported or proposed restrictions on drag shows in their respective states have dressed in drag — if you use their own definitions of the bills.

This week, a 1977 high school photo of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee wearing a dress surfaced online, while a video of North Texas Rep. Nate Schatzline skipping and dancing in a dress surfaced on Twitter and the TikTok.

Both Republican leaders have pushed for restrictions on drag shows.

Schatzline authored and introduced House Bill 1266 in January, which aims to designate venues that allow on-premise alcohol consumption and host drag shows as “sexually oriented establishments.” The designation would make those businesses subject to certain taxes and restrictions, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Meanwhile, Lee promised on Monday to sign an anti-show bill that seeks to ban “adult entertainment,” which broadly includes “male or female impersonators” from public property and from places where it can minors must be present.

Based on the language of both bills, it appears that Schatzline and Lee have engaged in the very act they hope to curtail and have suggested is harmful to children.

In Schatzline’s bill, “drag performance” means a “performance in which a performer displays a gender identity that is different from the performer’s sex assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip-syncs, dances or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment’.

The Tennessee bill does not include the term “drag” but suggests “male or female impersonators” as a type of entertainment that is “harmful to minors.”

Lee defended himself Monday after an activist approached him about the high school photo and said it was “ridiculous” to compare what he was doing to “sexual entertainment in front of children,” The Tennessean reported.

Lee’s representative, Jade Byers, also told the local network that the bill aims to protect children from “indecent, sexual entertainment, and any attempt to confuse this serious issue with impatient school traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee families.” “.

Schatzline similarly responded on Twitter that his performance was not a “sexually explicit drag show”.

“Are you really going to be mad at me wearing a dress as a joke to school for a play? Yeah this isn’t a sex drag show…lol you’re going to twist ANYTHING,” she tweeted on Monday.

“The left wing attacks me about some class project I did as a teenager where my friends dared me to wear a dress,” Schatzline said. in surveillance video Wednesday. “But we’re not going to let that distract us from the real message of what we’re trying to do here in the Texas Legislature, which is to ban sexually explicit drag shows and preserve the innocence of the next generation.”

Bella DuBalle, a Memphis-based drag queen, previously spoke to Insider about the Tennessee bill and the rise of legislation linking drag shows to sexual acts.

“There has never been a child sexually assaulted or injured at a drag show or a pride show. If there was, it would be a poster image for their campaign, we would see it everywhere,” he said. “If you want to contrast it with the absolute piles of records of sexual abuse and misconduct in our churches, but we’re not trying to stop people from taking their children to church.”

Representatives for Shatzline and Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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