The Montana House has approved a bill that would ban minors from attending drag shows.
This legislation prohibits drag shows from being held in public places.
Republican Representative Braxton Mitchell sponsored House Bill 359 because she said a “sick agenda” is being pushed through all-ages drag shows.
“Why do kids have to be in these drag shows?” Mitchell asked Democrats who opposed the bill, according to a report in the Daily Montanan.
The bill expands the definition of “sexually oriented business” to include venues that host drag shows.
“A sexually oriented business shall not permit a person under the age of 18 to enter the business premises during a live nudity or drag performance,” the bill states. “An owner, operator, manager or employee of a sex-based business convicted of violating this section shall be fined $1,000 or the greater of $5,000 for a first offense, $2,500 or not more than $5,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 for third and subsequent offenses and, if applicable, the county or municipality in which the business is owned by the offender. revokes the license.
The Daily Montanan reported, “As of Thursday morning, 149 entities had texted lawmakers in support of the bill and 270 entities had texted in opposition. Opponents outnumbered supporters when the bill was heard in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.
Transgender Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr is personally hurt by the legislation.
Asked why children should be allowed to attend drag shows, he said the older LGBTQ community survived the AIDS epidemic and now have families.
“And now we’re taking some of our kids and sharing an art form that’s valuable to our community in an age-appropriate way,” he said, according to the DM report. “And to directly answer the sponsor’s question, ‘Why should the kids be there?’ That’s why. Because it’s important to us and our community. Because we’re alive.”
Republican Majority Leader Rep. Sue Winton reminded Zephyr that the current bill has nothing to do with transgender people.