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Montana has become the first US state to specifically ban drag queens from reading to children

Montana has become the first US state to specifically ban drag queens from reading to children

Governor Greg Gianforte added it’s 'wildly inappropriate for little kids' to be 'exposed to sexualized content'.

Montana has become the first US state to ban people dressed in drag from reading to children in public schools and libraries.

AP News reported that the new law passed earlier this week followed Florida and Tennesse's restrictions on minors attending drag shows.

However, Montana has taken its legislation a step further by banning drag story time rather than just 'sexually driven' performances.

The state law defines drag as 'a male or female performer who adopts a flamboyant or parodic feminine persona with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and makeup'.

Paul Christian Gordon/Alamy Live News

The bill, co-sponsored by more than half of the Republican-controlled legislature, came into effect immediately after Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed it on Monday (May 22).

The Montana Governor signed the bill as he 'believes it’s wildly inappropriate for little kids, especially preschoolers and kids in elementary school, to be exposed to sexualized content', according to a statement, as per CNN.

However, Sasha Buchert, an attorney with Lambda Legal, a national organization that seeks to protect the civil rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, said the new law is 'constitutionally suspect on all levels'.

She added it would affect young children struggling with their sexuality to know they are not alone.

The bill initially meant to ban minors from attending child-friendly drag shows, and was sponsored by Republican Representative Braxton Mitchell, who believes 'there’s no such thing as a family-friendly drag show'.

The Canadian Press / Alamy Stock Photo

In March, Tennessee became the first state to bar minors from 'adult cabaret performances' on public property, specifically places where children might be present.

Those who violate this legislation could face misdemeanour or even felony charges.

Stella Yarbrough, American Civil Liberties Union Tenessee legal director, expressed her dismay over Governor Bill Lee signing the bill.

“We are disappointed that Governor Lee chose to sign a bill that politicians intended to censor drag performances," she said in a statement.

"However, I want to be abundantly clear: the law that was just signed does not make it illegal to perform in drag in Tennessee. The law bans obscene performances, and drag performances are not inherently obscene.

"However, we are concerned that government officials could easily abuse this law to censor people based on their own subjective viewpoints of what they deem appropriate, chilling protected free speech and sending a message to LGBTQ Tennesseans that they are not welcome in our state."

Featured Image Credit: Images-USA / Alamy Stock Photo. David Grossman / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Politics, LGBTQ