Drag queen Shelby LaBanks Photo by Lillian Hyde | The All State
The Tennessee legislation recently passed a bill that will restrict “adult cabaret performances” such as drag shows, like the one that took place Wednesday night inside Clement Auditorium on the campus of Austin Peay State University.
In the bill, it states that no performances are allowed on public property and no minors can attend shows, starting April 1.
Despite the recent legislation, queens such as Vivica Steele, Virginia Tea, Shelby LaBanks, and Leimoni Lay all gave students, faculty and staff a crowd pleasing performance to music and dance this past week.
The bill not only affects people going to these shows but the performers in them as well.
Drag queen Vivica Steele said, ” I’m staying positive, we all know this isn’t about children, and I think that it’s very imperative that we really stay focused to what’s really going on in this present time. And also, just be there to support our brothers and our sisters of the LGBTQ community as well as the Trans community also.”
Shelby LaBanks, another drag performer said, ” I feel drag is important because it is one of the oldest expressions of art and also it allows creativity for people who may not know otherwise how to be creative.”
Drag as an art form has been cast in a false light as in recent months this freedom of expression has been labeled as “sexualization” and “grooming;” making this passion a hot topic.
Virginia Tea, another performer and a member of the LGBTQ community of Nashville highlights that the performances are all about love.
“We are not trying to retaliate with hate because hate with hate makes more hate. Spread love and there is nothing more loving than putting your art out there,” said Tea.
Leimoni Lay also gave their opinion on how this bill affects them as a performer moving forward.
“I thought about that, I mean I’ll do what I need to but I’m still going to do drag because that’s what I love and if they have a problem with it I’ll suffer the consequences what have you and I’m still going to do what I love and that’s just me,” said Lay.
As more bills are passed, Steele believes it is important to note how this effects the LGBTQ community and their feeling of being isolated.
“Look in the mirror and tell them and tell yourself that all this nonsense has nothing to do with the beauty that lies within yourself. Sometimes we get so confused by all the noise in the air, that we forget that we are a gem within ourselves. And so don’t be confused by all the noise. Know that you have support, know that you have love, and know that you have people on the battlefield that are ready to fight for you. And we are here for it.”