State lawmakers in Arizona have introduced three bills that would limit and regulate drag shows, and transgender activists are outraged.
“This is absolutely insane,” responded transgender activist Alejandra Caraballo on Twitter. “This bill is about criminalizing all gender nonconformity and enforcing it through draconian criminal penalties. It would also criminalize trans people existing in public.”
Caraballo was referring to the SB 1698 law proposed by Arizona state Senator Senator Justine Wadsack, a Republican. The law would ban performers who “dress in clothing and use makeup and other physical markers opposite of the performer’s or group of performer’s genders at birth to exaggerate gender signifiers and roles” from performing in front of children.
Another bill, SB 1030, would limit the hours that drag shows could be performed and make a violation a misdemeanor.
“There are very popular drag show brunches all over the valley,” said drag performer Richard Stevens to KPHO-TV. “Some of them get anywhere from a hundred to three hundred people who want to just come out, they want to laugh.”
A third bill, SB 1026, would ban state funds going to pay for drag shows targeting children.
“We see that these bills are another attempt to erase our people from existing in public really,” said Xyra Flores with Trans Queer Pueblo.
Human Rights Campaign Arizona Director Bridget Sharpe told KPHO that the bills are likely to gain some traction in the Republican-controlled state legislature, but they would be vetoed by the state’s Democratic governor.
Caraballo decried SB 1698 nonetheless.
“Just to be clear, this bill almost certainly stands no chance of passing but the fact that they spent time drafting this and proposing it signifies how far they are willing to go legislate LGBTQ people out of public life,” the activist tweeted.
Here’s more about the drag show regulation bills:
Senator introduces bill that would limit drag shows in Arizona
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