Montana legislators drafted a bill that would ban drag performers reading to children

Montana legislators have passed a bill that would prohibit drag performers from reading to children in public schools, libraries, and publicly funded locations. The bill, called “An Act Prohibiting Minors From Attending Sexually Oriented Shows,” received approval from the House and Senate.

The measure aims to ban events like Drag Story Hour, where drag queens and kings engage in storytelling activities with children. The bill defines drag queen and drag king as performers who adopt flamboyant or parodic personas with glamorous costumes and makeup. The bill’s sponsor argues that it aims to prevent sexualized events in taxpayer-funded institutions. Critics are concerned that the bill’s broad definitions could impact other performances, such as theater in schools and public libraries. Violations of the bill could result in fines, suspensions, or loss of credentials for school and library personnel. Minors who attend prohibited performances can also sue performers for damages.

The bill has gone through revisions and faced criticism, but if signed by the governor, Montana would be the second state, after Tennessee, to enact such a law restricting drag performances in front of minors.