Bill restricting drag performances clears Kentucky Senate committee

The bill was cut back from 13 pages to two.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:31 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A panel of lawmakers approved a pared down version of a bill limiting access to drag shows.

Lawmakers removed a thousand foot distance requirement from homes, schools, and parks.

Instead, they sought to ban drag performances from occurring on public property.

The Kentucky ACLU said this version of the bill was a big improvement over the previous version, although they still don’t support it.

The current bill would ban drag shows from occurring on public property or in places where a performance could be seen by children.

“Is this appropriate for a child to watch a man imitate anal sex with another man on stage, is that appropriate?” asked State Senator Lindsey Tichenor (R Smithfield) while holding up an image taken from a drag performance in Florida.

“Should you be the person that decides for me? That is the question,” responded State Senator Karen Berg. (D Louisville)

Tichenor said Kentucky needs to keep children away from drag shows.

“The intent of Senate Bill 115 is to keep sexual performances away from children,” said Tichenor.

The bill was significantly cut down from a previous version, from 13 pages down to two. Drag shows would be allowed, but hidden from children. The law would allow liquor and building authorities to revoke the business licenses for any business hosting a drag show with children there and allow the performers to be charged with crimes. Opponents demanded lawmakers drop this ban.

“How I am going to have a pride on the old capitol lawn, which maybe is your purpose, and keep anybody under the age of 18 from seeing it is impossible,” Bruce Brook from Frankfort said.

“There are so many misperceptions about this bill from people who clearly have no idea about our community,” Bonnie Meyer said.

It easily passed out of committee and will need to be voted on in the full senate.

“This bill not only tells me that I’m not really a human worthy of rights, but I’m also not worthy to work,” Drag Queen Polly Ticks said.

“I’m going to continue to take a look at it and make sure what we do here is based on moving the argument forward and trying to be fair to anyone,” State Senator Brandon Smith (R Hazard) said.

The ACLU raised significant concerns with government authorities deciding when a performance crosses the line into being primarily about sexual matters.

The session ends at the end of this month.