Kentucky Republicans introduced legislation last week that seeks to keep drag shows at least 1,000 feet — approximately the length of three football fields — from "locations that cater to minors," including schools, churches, parks, homes and walking trails.
While the bill, SB 115, broadly takes aim at "adult-oriented businesses" — which it also defines to include adult cabarets, strip clubs and adult movie theaters — one of the bill's five co-sponsors said the idea for the bill originated, in part, from concerns over a “family-friendly” drag show in the state.
“They’re adult-oriented performances; there’s no reason children need to be exposed to that,” Kentucky state Sen. Lindsey Tichenor told NBC affiliate WLEX of Lexington on Wednesday.
Uma Jewels, a drag queen based in Lexington, the state's second largest city, disagreed with Tichenor.
“Drag is just about the most unsexy thing I can think of doing and if you are wanting to sexualize drag, I think that is on you and not on the performer,” Jewels told WLEX.
Jewels also argued that kids can be exposed to adult-oriented content at a variety of venues, outside of establishments that host drag performances, WLEX reported.
For example, the bill's text describes "adult cabaret" establishments, which would be affected by the measure, in part as "any nightclub, bar, restaurant, or other similar commercial establishment that regularly features a person who appears in a state of nudity or is semi-nude." This could arguably include the seven Hooters restaurants — known for their scantily clad female servers — across the state, which all have children's menus.
“It feels specifically aimed at diminishing the visibility of our community,” Rebecca Richter, the co-owner of a Lexington gay bar, Crossings, told WLEX, noting that bars like theirs already don’t allow entry to people under 21.
None of the bill's co-sponsors immediately responded to requests for comment on the bill, which included questions about its origination, its list of "locations that cater to minors" and whether Hooters restaurants would be affected by the legislation, should it pass.
Hooters’ corporate office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kentucky is one of at least 13 states, including Arizona, Texas and Montana, where lawmakers have introduced bills seeking to restrict drag performances in the current legislative session, according to an NBC News analysis.