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Don’t Be a Drag, America.

Updated: May 29

By Betty Abate

Sasha Colby unravels her black-feathered coat to reveal a sparkling purple gown.

The crowd roars as she lip-syncs the ‘80s hit, “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart.

With this dazzling performance, Sasha Colby was crowned the new winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race April 7. That next week, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill banning public drag performances. Soon after, a federal judge halted it.

“I am the embodiment of what they want to eradicate,” said Colby in an interview with Vogue.

Proponents of the Tennessee law aim to protect children from “adult cabaret performances” by restricting male or female impersonators to be in any public area that a child could be.

Its agenda is really aimed at taking away human rights – LGBTQ rights.

Sasha Colby (front) and Rupaul (back). Courtesy of MTV
Sasha Colby (front) and Rupaul (back). Courtesy of MTV

The vague description of what qualifies a person as a male or female impersonator puts transgender people at risk.

Colby is transgender. If the law were to hold up in court, any person could accuse her of impersonating a woman if she’s seen grocery shopping in Tennessee.

She could face up to 11 months in jail.

“This is about erasing queer people from public spaces,” said Meaghan Liebe, a non-binary drag performer at CSU’s House of Ovis.

Liebe said they are hoping to move out of Colorado, but the law limits their options.

The anti-drag law is contagious. Florida’s SB 1438 bill – a mere copy of Tennessee’s bill - is waiting to be signed into law by Ron DeSantis.

“I can’t even go down to Florida to visit my mom,” said Liebe.

The lead faculty of sociology and women’s studies at FRCC said that the law is another political stunt aimed at further marginalizing a community.

“Unfortunately, legislation doesn't even have to pass in order to harm trans people, or anyone who doesn't follow culturally acceptable gender binary norms for expression or behavior,” said Dr. Kalynn Amundson.

She said that the laws are an attack from “moral entrepreneurs” such as politicians to invoke panic around the conception that society's morals are getting stripped away.

Tennessee is leading the nation into hateful legislation by having enacted 14 anti-LGBTQ laws into place since 2015 according to the Human Rights Campaign.

“Drag is community,” said Liebe.

Many are trying to tear this community down. The attempts come with the cost of LGBTQ. people’s safety.

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