A ban on drag is a ban on freedom

Written By Brooke Stephens, Opinions Editor

The state of Tennessee has recently passed two bills into law. The first bans drag in public places, and the second forces trans youth to detransition within one year. Enacting both of these laws into power means that Tennessee is publicly, and loudly, forcing trans people into silence. 


The language of the ban on drag bill is inherently vague. Any “male or female impersonator” would be fined and could face jail time. The bill banning drag has been amended so it begins on April 1st, ahead of any Tennessean Pride Month celebrations. 


When a person, whether it be a parent, colleague, or government official makes a space where LGBTQIA+ can (and often will) be threatened, that does not make members any less part of the community. You are not making a gay or trans person into a straight or cisgender person. You are frankly making their likelihood of suicide much greater. 


Members of the transgender community will die as a result of this act. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has existed for decades to help cisgender youth who lack the amount of necessary estrogen or testosterone in their blood levels. Usually, if sought and fought for, transgender people under 18 have the ability to be prescribed hormone blockers, to make the effects of puberty less apparent. 


If you restrict access to gender affirming care, you are saying you are okay with and fully support deteriorating the health of tens of thousands of people. If you have ever bought a shaving product, gotten a hairstyle to align most accurately with your gender, or sought counseling- this applies to you. 


I have found that there is little hesitance from prejudiced people to criticize people who participate in drag. Their most common complaint is that drag queens will corrupt their children’s minds. Although many people with these prejudices come from a religious background, there is often little admittance of the abuse which may occur in religious centers where children could be raised in the United States. Survivors are often left to expose the abuse they experience through social media platforms, with little support from the members of their community. Drag Queen Storytime, where drag queens read children’s books to children, has been the target of immature, violent behavior. I would rather trust drag performers around my kids than an adult in a religious community who has never been questioned. 


Point Park University Campus Activities Board annually holds drag queen bingo, which without a doubt is one of the most well-attended events of the academic year. Our capability to hold such an event is based entirely on the political atmosphere of Point Park and of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If the election in November would have gone differently, women’s and minorities rights would be in stark contrast from what they have now. 


We as a university have the responsibility to protect our peers and the graduates who continue to support us. Tennessee is the first state to ban drag, and people have to realize that they will not be the last. This is an uphill battle, and I encourage everyone to keep their chins up and be strong.