It’s Back… State Rep Attempts to Revive Bill Banning Drag Performances in Public Spaces

Frankfort, Ky.–A thought-to-be-dead bill that seeks to ban drag performances from public spaces and establishments open to minors may be making a comeback in the Kentucky Legislature. State Representative Josh Calloway, a Republican from Irvington, has proposed adding an amendment to Senate Bill 5, which would require Kentucky’s boards of education to adopt a complaint resolution policy for parents who allege that materials taught in school are harmful to minors.

Calloway’s proposed amendment mirrors the language in Senate Bill 115, which passed the Senate on a party line vote but has not had enough readings in the House to gain full passage before the veto break. If Calloway’s amendment is adopted by a majority vote of the House and is passed, the Senate would need to concur with those changes for it to gain full passage.

The ban on drag performances has been a contentious issue in Kentucky, with opponents arguing that it discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community and infringes on free speech rights. Supporters of the bill argue that drag performances are inappropriate for minors and can promote “deviant” behavior.

If the bill were to pass, it would not only ban drag performances from public spaces but also from establishments that are open to minors. This would have significant implications for bars and nightclubs that often host drag shows.

The proposed ban has sparked outrage from members of the LGBTQ+ community, who argue that it is a clear attempt to marginalize and discriminate against them. Many have also raised concerns about the impact it could have on Kentucky’s economy, particularly in cities like Louisville, which have a thriving LGBTQ+ community.

It remains to be seen whether Calloway’s amendment will be adopted by the House, but with the General Assembly adjourning sine die on March 30th, time is running out for opponents of the bill to make their voices heard.

Photo: Rep. Josh Calloway, R-Irvington (LRC PIO)