Recently, conservative lawmakers in Tennessee have been attempting to pass a ban that would prevent drag queens from performing in front of children. Senator Jack Johnson was the catalyst for this proposal back in November when he wrote legislation meant to shield children from “exposure” to LGBTQ people and inappropriate content. This draconian law seeks to stifle the rights of citizens who wish to express themselves freely by prohibiting them from engaging with their young audiences through art and performance.

The drag queens of Nashville are not taking Senator Johnson’s attempts to stop them from entertaining children lightly. Veronika Electronika, a popular 5 Points Diner and Bar performer who hosts the highly-attended Drag Queen Brunch in Nashville, has called out this conservative Republican senator for his efforts to block LGBTQ people from expressing their diversity. This fight is one that will be etched in history as a battle between progressivism and conservatism – but with justice on its side.

Senator Johnson’s proposal, Senate Bill 3, aims to restrict drag queens from performing in front of minors. If this bill is passed into law, it could be detrimental for the queer community and its young members.

“If that law passes, I would be committing a potential felony,” Veronika said. “I don’t know who will be the drag police to judge whether my performance was adult-oriented.”

After a video of children tipping drag queens on stage at a Tennessee college emerged, the Senator decided to introduce a bill. The footage showed small kids showering the performers with dollar bills during their show for those in attendance.

The conservative bill argues that drag queen events are inappropriate for children aged eighteen and below due to their categorization as “adult cabaret performances” containing “obscenity and pornography.”

Senator Johnson is determined to pass the bill before the year ends and has a strong conviction that this objective to “create an offense for a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”

Critics maintain that drag queen performances are not incendiary or insulting.

“What does it mean when someone who is dancing shakes their hips,” executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project Chris Saunders stated. “Cheerleaders clearly do it. Dance teams clearly do it. If a drag queen does it, does that suddenly make it sexual?”

Saunders cautioned that the traditional bill would target the LGBTQ community since drag queen performers can represent both males and females.

“This can go down a very bad path quickly,” Saunders stated. “You could be harassed increasingly for being trans and nonbinary in public.”

Senator Johnson claims that drag queens are subjecting children to inappropriate, sexualized “content” and must be properly regulated in order to protect them.

“The intent of the legislation is just to simply say that you cannot have sexually explicit entertainment … in a public venue where kids might be present,” Johnson stated.

The senator continued, “We’re protecting kids and families and parents who want to be able to take their kids to public places. We’re not attacking anyone or targeting anyone. I’ve heard references to this bill that it will ban drag shows. Well, no, it won’t. It just says you can’t do something that’s sexually explicit. It won’t prevent someone dressed in drag from being in a parade or being in public.”