Our view: Drag artists are the new targets of GOP fearmongering

Will Groves, Opinion Editor

So many issues are plaguing Kentucky during this legislative session. We are experiencing an opioid crisis and a teacher shortage, yet the Kentucky GOP chose to target drag artists instead.

   If passed by the Kentucky legislature, Senate Bill 115 would ban all drag shows from taking place within 1,000 feet of schools, walking trails, homes and churches. This would destroy the drag community in the state of Kentucky, as most places that host drag shows fall within 1,000 feet of one of the restricted areas. 

   Much of the new wave of controversy surrounding drag artists came from a recent viral video taken at a performance called “A Drag Queen Christmas.” The show’s website said although the show was open to all ages, adult content was included in the show.  This warning was available to all show attendees, so the drag artists who participated should not take the blame for something outside of their control.

   If Republican lawmakers have any issues with the show, they should not target drag artists for an adult’s decision to see a drag show.

   We at The News believe drag artists are being unfairly targeted by Kentucky politicians. Because of SB 115’s vague wording, the legislation could affect the lives of transgender people. The bill defines drag as gender expression “inconsistent with the biological sex” from a person’s birth certificate. This vague wording could be used to target trans people even though drag is much different from being trans. 

Similar bills have been introduced in Tennessee and 13 other states. Tennessee’s anti-drag bill is even more restrictive than Kentucky’s SB 115, as it would ban all drag from being viewed by minors completely. We at The News believe drag artists are not a danger to anyone and should not be regulated as though they are a danger.

   These bills have been criticized as an attack on gender expression by members of the LGBTQ+ community. If passed, Tennessee’s bill would take effect right before Pride Month, when drag artists are a major part of events throughout the month.

   Local drag artists in Kentucky and Tennessee have spoken out against the bill and devastating economic impact the passing of these bills would have on the economies of large nearby cities like Nashville and Louisville. 

   Drag brunches have grown exponentially popular over the past few years, and Louisville has some of the highest-rated drag brunches in the United States, according to Yelp. Seeing as famous drag brunches like LeMoo and CC’s Kitchen and Louisville fall within 1,000 feet of restricted areas, they would lose their ability to host drag brunches and their valuable tax contributions to the city of Louisville.

   Most drag is appropriate for  children’s viewing. Drag Queen Story Hour is an event where drag artists read age-appropriate books to children at schools, libraries and businesses. The drag artists are not there to groom the attending children; they are there to entertain the children and read to them.

   These anti-drag bills introduced in multiple states perpetuate a popular right-wing lie members of the LGBTQ+ community are groomers and dangerous to young people, but we at The News disagree. Drag artists are no more dangerous than your average person in a Halloween costume or dressed as the Easter Bunny. 

   Our founding fathers were men in wigs and tights, so why do we have a problem with it now?