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Informing the Lincoln High community since 1895

The Advocate

Informing the Lincoln High community since 1895

The Advocate

OPINION: Anti-Trans Nebraska bill bans minors from drag shows; Puts rights of LGBTQ+ people at risk

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My name is Cate and I’m an eighteen year old senior at Lincoln High School, and I am non binary. Recently, a bill was introduced in the Nebraska legislature that would ban people under the age of nineteen from going to drag shows. To clarify, under this bill, a drag show is defined as “a performance in which the main aspect of the performance is a performer which exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers; and the performer sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment.” This bill states that any person or business that knowingly brings a minor to a drag show will be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. 

LB371 is incredibly harmful to many people in this community. First of all, drag queens have done nothing wrong and they do not deserve the prosecution that has been brought on them. Politicians have the incorrect assumption that drag performers are pedophiles and only want to hurt children, but this is simply incorrect. Drag has always been about entertainment and expression. Even American soldiers during World War II performed in drag to entertain each other and keep their minds off the war. This bill comes shortly after a complete ban on drag has been enacted in Tennessee, and multiple other anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been proposed across the U.S.  

But the primary thing I want to talk about today is theatre. I am extremely involved in theatre at Lincoln High and I recently performed in Mamma Mia. I was born female but for various reasons I chose to be in the male chorus, so I wore my fathers clothes and had a fake beard. If this bill was law when we were performing this show, it would count as a drag show and no one under the age of nineteen could attend. And because of the vague nature of the bill, I have no idea if it would be legal for any of the underage cast and crew members to be a part of it, or even legal for me to perform it. 

Drag has been a part of theatre for its entire history. Women weren’t even allowed on stage in Ancient Greece and even into the Middle Ages and the time of Shakespeare. So every female role was performed in drag. And even now there are multiple roles that are played by men in drag that people adore. For example, the nanny in Romeo and Juliet or Mrs.Doubtfire. This was never a problem before so why would it be now? 

This bill simply criminalizes trans people in theatre. We are just trying to do what we love and exist as we are. But because of the arbitrary decisions and incorrect perceptions of the few, real people in this community are being hurt. In addition, if the leaders of this community really cared about kids they would be enacting laws that protect us from guns and prevent children from being sent to traumatic conversion camps for being who they are. This bill is specifically targeting people in the LGBTQ+ community and it is an absolute disgrace.

However this is not the only anti-trans bill coming through the Nebraska legislature. On the 23rd, a bill that would ban minors from receiving gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers, hormone treatment, and gender-reassignment surgery moved forward after a long filibuster by Senator Machaela Cavanaugh. And there are even more bills of a similar nature coming through. 

Friday March 24th, there is a hearing to debate the anti-drag bill at the Capitol Building. There will be a rally held by a local non-profit, OutNebraska, at 12:30 before the hearing starts at 1:30. If you are in the LGBTQ+ community or want to support your friends and family, please come to the hearing. There will be even more opportunities in the future to raise your voice so please take those opportunities when they arise. Attend rallies, send in testimony, call your representatives. 

Decisions are made by those who show up. So if you care about your LGBTQ+ friends and family and want to use your voice, show up. 

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  • K

    Kass M. | Mar 24, 2023 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you Cate I’ve been following this story for a long time and I’m afriad for myself and other LGBTQ+ people I personally know. I’m esspecially concerned with the bill that would block puberty blockers to minors.