Republicans propose banning drag shows with felony charges

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 1:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) - Anyone who performs in a drag show in public could potentially be arrested and charged with a crime, under a new bill proposed by North Carolina Republican lawmakers Tuesday.

Conservatives nationwide have recently galvanized around criticism of drag shows, with armed militia groups sometimes showing up to performances. Drag brunches are popular at some restaurants. Other types of performances have also sprung up in recent years, like libraries hosting events where people in drag read books to a crowd.

WRAL reports that anyone performing adult entertainment anywhere in public would be guilty of a misdemeanor for their first offense, and of a felony for all subsequent offenses, if the bill becomes law. It would also apply to any private event at which a minor was present.

The legislature has been advancing a number of other bills that critics on the left criticize as anti-LGBTQ, like banning doctors from offering certain types of treatment to transgender children.

Also on Tuesday, a state Senate committee advanced a bill to ban transgender girls from playing girls sports in middle and high school. A GOP sponsor of the bill, Iredell County Sen. Vickie Sawyer, said there are 15 such cases that they’ve heard about statewide.

“We made 15 wrong decisions,” she said, WRAL News reported.

The state House plans to debate a similar bill Wednesday morning.

Democratic lawmakers have opposed the efforts, with some calling it discriminatory and others saying the legislature should be focusing on more important issues, like child poverty.