JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Members of TriPride, a local LGBTQ+ organization, spoke about how a new Tennessee bill could restrict drag performances at their annual festival if passed.
The bill has been passed through the state Senate and is on its way to the House for review. It would ban drag shows in public places or in locations where children can see them.
Representative Bud Hulsey of Kingsport is in support of the bill and said it does not violate First Amendment rights. The bill would ban performances that it describes as “obscene” which are defined in its text as including any form of nudity, sexual conduct or excessive violence.
“They still have the liberty under the First Amendment to do a parade in a park, anything that anybody else could do,” said Hulsey. “It’s when it crosses over that line that it becomes an issue.”
Regardless of the legislation, TriPride has released the location and theme of its 2023 festival this year.
President of TriPride Melody Taylor said the organization sees drag as a work of art.
“It’s a beautiful art form,” said Taylor. “It brings joy and comfort to so many people, so we at TriPride will continue to support that art form. We hope everyone continues to support that art form.”
2023’s TriPride festival is set to take place in Founders Park in Johnson City on Sept. 23.
You can read more about the bill here.