Ohio Republicans introduced a bill to ban drag performances in locations other than an “adult cabaret.”
HB 245 is sponsored by Reps. Angela King (R-Celina) and Josh Williams (R-Oregon) and co-sponsored by 41 other Republican representatives.
The bill defines an “adult cabaret performance” as “a performance in a location other than an adult cabaret that is harmful to juveniles or obscene.”
The bill specifically calls out drag performers by referencing “performers or entertainers who exhibit a gender identity that is different from the performer’s or entertainer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts, or other physical markers.”
Stonewall Columbus comment:
HB 245 has everything to do with fear of the unknown and erasure of identities seen in contrast to cis-heteronormative standards. This year our annual pride march welcomed over 22,000 registered marchers, over 400,00 spectators along the march route, while our festival and resource fair weekend welcomed and additional 300,000 attendees. This proposed legislation would impact the many people in attendance as well as performers and marches who may elect to celebrate and support Pride in drag–or those others perceive to be drag. HB245 is a direct attack on our community.
The art of gender impersonation/drag is the practice of dressing and acting in styles typically associated with another gender, usually exaggeratedly so and for entertainment value. The portrayal of the “opposite gender” for entertainment purposes has been happening since the dawn of theatre.
This proposed ban aims to strike at something deeper than drag performers; it aims to give power to others as to when they believe gender impersonation/drag is being performed. It directly aims to attack identities we must keep visibly at the forefront of our Pride because it is these identities that have always been the most under attack.
Densil Porteous (he/they)