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Arkansas Restrictive Drag Bill Advances

By Charlotte Robinson, January 25, 2023

The Arkansas Senate has advanced Senate Bill 43 an anti-LGBTQ bill that restricts drag performances. The bill would classify drag performances as “adult-oriented businesses'' & ban them from taking place on public property as well as other locations where children & teenagers are present. The bill passed 29-6 & will now be sent to the Arkansas House for consideration. Eric Reece, Human Rights Campaign Arkansas State Director stated, “Many drag performances – such as Drag Queen story hours at schools & libraries – are age appropriate for children & can teach important lessons like acceptance & openness. This is just another example of radical politicians in Arkansas spreading propaganda & creating more stigma, discrimination & ultimately violence against transgender & non-binary people just to rile up extreme members of their base, the only voting bloc they are moving on these issues. The Human Rights Campaign strongly opposes Senate Bill 43 & urges the lawmakers behind them to stop attacking our community & instead focus on real issues impacting Arkansans.” This is all part of a large-scale attack on our LGBTQ community & an attempt to put LGBTQ people particularly transgender & non-binary people back in the closet & labeled as dangerous. Politicians in state houses across the country have introduced a record 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bills in the past year including bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity & bills to prevent transgender & non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare. This is all happening as nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias. 

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