Earlier this year, two bills were passed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee that both come as attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community. The first banned gender-affirming healthcare for transgender children, which includes puberty blockers, surgeries, and hormone treatments (such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.) The law was written so as not to disclude specific medicines by name, hence the overly general wording.
The second,Senate Bill 3, cites drag performances as “obscene,” and bans all drag and drag-related performances from any public spaces that aren’t age restricted, claiming it has the potential to “harm minors” by exposing them to mature content. As stated, “This bill creates an offense for a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property or... in a location other than an adult cabaret that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest...”
Understandably outraged, celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and The B-52’s, have spoken out against these laws. By publicly standing with the LGBTQIA+ community, both artists are ushering in a “new wave” of activism amidst waning civil liberties.
On March 8th, the B-52’s tweeted a black background with a caption that read “Dear fellow citizens, We, The B-52’s, are deeply concerned about the numerous new bills that promote transphobia and discrimination against transgender individuals and drag artists, which have been introduced in the United States. We strongly denounce these bills and stand in solidarity...” The post received over 4 million views.
Dear fellow citizens,
We, The B-52’s, are deeply concerned about the numerous new bills that promote transphobia and discrimination against transgender individuals and drag artists, which have been introduced in the United States. We strongly denounce these bills and stand in pic.twitter.com/mzMROe4pxE— The B-52s (@TheB52s) March 8, 2023ADVERTISEMENT
Just before the viral post on the B-52’s Twitter account, another well-known hitmaker spoke out against the new legislation. Cyndi Lauper was interviewed at the Gershwin Prize Awards, and she had some very powerful opinions on the laws. When asked by an interviewer, “What do you make of all the anti-lgbtq+ legislation that’s making its way in bills across the country?” Lauper responded wistfully, “I believe you don’t stop the fight. Everybody’s equal or nobody’s equal. This is how Hitler started, you know?...I don’t think it’s a good idea what they’re doing, but you just have to keep fighting for civil rights in this country.”
This legislation is a serious infringement on the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and it spells uncertainty for the future of drag performances not only in Tennessee but across the nation as well.
Top Image: Corentin LAMY, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Faith Green is a writer based in New York City. She is also a personal stylist at New York City's Last Goth Store, Gothic Renaissance. She has 2 cats and not enough plants.