Fight for LGBTQ Rights: Protestors Gather to Oppose ‘Drag Queen Ban’ Bill

House Bill 2186, a bill proposed by West, has advanced through a House committee on Wednesday and is headed to Gov. Bill Lee's desk for approval.[0] The bill, if passed, would ban the public performance of “adult cabaret”, including drag shows, if it is “harmful to minors.”

Many have referred to this bill as a ‘drag queen ban’.[1] It would make it illegal for adult cabaret performances to occur in public places or places where minors could be present. A drag show is described in the bill as a performance by a person who has adopted a gender identity different from the one they were given at birth and involves singing, lip-syncing, dancing, reading, or any other form of entertainment before an audience.[2]

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday morning to oppose the bill, however it passed with a vote of 5-2 and is now headed to the House floor.[3] If passed, it would be the first state to criminalize the shows.[4] Those who break the law may be charged with a felony, face imprisonment, and be subject to a $[5]

In the last few months, Tennessee's drag shows have been met with resistance from local authorities, as well as demonstrations at Diskin Cider in Nashville and other venues that recently featured drag acts.[6] In January, WPLN reported that masked demonstrators had displayed Nazi slogans and shouted anti-LGBTQ slurs outside an event in Cookeville.[6]

A group also gathered at the Oklahoma state Capitol on Wednesday to rally against a similar bill that would make public drag show performances illegal.[7] Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Nicole McAfee said the message the bill sends is harmful to 2SLGBTQ+ Oklahomans, who rely on drag shows to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth.[3] At the protest were a few drag performers, with Busty Springfield, the creator of a drag queen story hour in Norman, being one of them. Springfield noted that story hours are places of safety for 2SLGBTQ+ kids.[3]

The emergence of anti-drag bills across the US is causing unease as it may impede trans people from living their lives.[8] This has sparked outcry from the LGBTQ community, who are speaking out and advocating against the proposed bills.[9]

0. “Emotions run high as committee passes Oklahoma bill regarding drag shows in public spaces” KOCO Oklahoma City, 22 Feb. 2023,

1. “Protestors Gather Against HB 2186 Known As ‘Drag Queen Ban'” KWTV, 23 Feb. 2023,

2. “KY bill would limit where drag shows can be performed, opponents question constitutionality” The Owensboro Times, 21 Feb. 2023,

3. “Opponents of legislation targeting drag performers voice concerns” Public Radio Tulsa, 23 Feb. 2023,

4. “Drag Queen shows could disappear and become illegal in Tennessee” The Cairns Post, 23 Feb. 2023,

5. “HB 2186, A Bill Criminalizing Public Drag Performances, Passes House Committee” KWTV, 22 Feb. 2023,

6. “Tennessee drag bill to ban certain performances passes House” Tennessean, 23 Feb. 2023,

7. “Group rallies at Capitol against bill banning public drag shows in Oklahoma” KOCO Oklahoma City, 22 Feb. 2023,

8. “Drag Race queens disgusted by hateful Tennessee drag ban” PinkNews, 20 Feb. 2023,

9. “Republicans Are Trying to Ban Drag Shows Now” VICE, 22 Feb. 2023,

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