MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday morning, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill that would ban drag shows from public spaces. It would also ban drag shows in places that include people under the age of 18. This is one of several bills impacting the LGBTQ+ community making its way through the state’s legislature.
Moth Moth Moth, also known as the Magical Ms. Mothy, does drag fulltime. “My story is about coming into a city that has treated me beautifully and has beloved me,” said Moth Moth Moth, Drag Queen and Ms. Mid-South Pride.
It is a safe space that now feels insecure. The Tennessee Senate passed a bill Thursday morning banning drag shows in public places.
“The way that my community every 50-60 years get scapegoated for the grievances of conservatives, it’s disgusting. It’s an old rule book, and it’s a boring rule book,” said Moth Moth Moth.
It is a rule that passed with a 26 to 6 vote. The opposing came from state Democrats. Not only would the bill end drag shows in public places. It’ll also stop those performances in spaces where people under the age of 18 are present. “Bills like this will harm our ability to have prosperous careers which include festivals that are in parks,” said Moth Moth Moth. “It’s so broad that it will be used to punish people simply for expressing their gender expression out in public…How easily this could lead to our neighbors surveilling us, our neighbors reporting on what we’re wearing.”
As the bill heads to the House, Moth called the potential of it passing the start of new era. “The death of gay privacy is something that is rapidly approaching us and is part of the next era,” said Moth Moth Moth. “The only answer that I’m seeing is that we have to radically change and alter the Tennessee State Legislature. That’s by getting people into the legislature who actually look and sound like Tennessee.”
It is a state that is home to thousands of LGBTQ+ community members who are determined to find ways to fight this bill.
“This is where I was born. This is where I belong. Memphis is the only place that has ever made sense. Ever. That is being stripped away,” said Moth Moth Moth. “We have deep real issues in here in Tennessee and drag queens and our art and our culture and pride, it ain’t one of those issues baby.”