Drag Restrictions and Bans Doesn’t Affect the Drag Queens in the World
By: Nina He
Even though Republicans across the world have been discussing banning drag performances in front of children, their talks and efforts haven’t really done anything yet.
Though bills against drag have been introduced in flurries, they failed to pass. In the three states that have managed to put down limits against drag, laws have been stopped by federal judges.
In fact, on Friday, a judge blocked the last law in Montana restricting drag right before Pride events started happening.
Lawmakers are still enraged, so more laws against drag might be afoot soon, although they may be taken down by federal judges as well.
In Arkansas earlier this year, Gary Stubblefield championed and sponsored a bill going against drag. He said that drag showed kids harm and “took away their innocence,” but he never said why.
Back in January, as he presented his bill on the floor of Arkansas Senate,
Stubblefield said, “I can't think of any redeeming quality, anything good that can come from taking children and putting them in front of a bunch of grown men that are dressed like women.”
In the bill, there were some key words that showed up in the attempted drag restrictions of some other states. One of them was prurient interest.
“That word—prurient interest—means excessive interest in sexual matters,” explained Stubblefield.
However, JT Morris, an attorney for the free-speech group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, disagreed against this.
“Most drag shows do not appeal to the prurient interest. Even if they did, saying something appeals to the ‘prurient interest’ under the First Amendment is not enough to regulate it. You can’t pass a state law based on disagreement with somebody’s viewpoint. It’s a textbook First Amendment violation.”
That disagreement has been plain across Arkansas when a giant public backlash was created by people who believe drag is showmanship, not sex.
“I do drag as an art form,” said Jeremy Stuthard, an Arkansas drag performer. “I take a decent-looking guy and turn him into a statue-esk Barbie doll, and have a great time and put smiles on people’s faces and that’s all I really try to do.”
Stuthard said children he meets at drag brunches aren’t there to indulge a ‘prurient interest,’ but to listen to drag queen stories.
Perhaps banning drag is just not right since so many people in the world are disagreeing and fighting against it.