On Thursday, April 1st, the GOP-led Kentucky Senate passed a controversial bill that seeks to curb drag shows in the state. The bill, which was approved by a vote of 22-14, has sparked outrage among the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, who see it as an attack on their civil rights.

The bill, formally known as Senate Bill 7, would prohibit any public funding for performances featuring nudity or sexual acts, or acts that simulate nudity or sexual acts. While the bill does not specifically mention drag shows, critics argue that the language used in the bill is vague enough to include them.

Proponents of the bill argue that it is necessary to protect children from inappropriate content and to preserve traditional values in the state. Senator Phillip Wheeler, who sponsored the bill, argued that the government should not be funding events that promote “sexual orientation and gender identity ideology.” He went on to say that “Kentucky taxpayers should not be forced to fund events that are morally objectionable or that go against their beliefs.”

Opponents of the bill, however, argue that it is discriminatory and goes against the principles of free speech and freedom of expression. They argue that the bill unfairly targets the LGBTQ+ community and specifically targets drag performances, which have become a popular form of entertainment in recent years.

Drag performances are a form of artistic expression that have been around for decades, and have traditionally been a space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves and challenge gender norms. They involve performers dressing up in elaborate costumes and makeup, often to impersonate famous celebrities or fictional characters.

Drag shows have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many cities hosting regular drag performances and events. They have also become more mainstream, with some performers achieving mainstream success and even appearing on popular television shows.

Critics of the bill argue that it sends a message that the state of Kentucky is not welcoming to members of the LGBTQ+ community, and could harm the state’s reputation as an inclusive and diverse place to live and visit.

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies have spoken out against the bill, calling it discriminatory and a violation of their rights. Some have also organized protests and rallies to voice their opposition to the bill.

The LGBTQ+ advocacy group Fairness Campaign released a statement condemning the bill, saying that it “sends a clear message to LGBTQ+ Kentuckians that they are not welcome in their own state, and that their civil rights are under attack.”

The bill has also drawn criticism from national LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign. In a joint statement, the groups called the bill “an attack on freedom of expression and an attempt to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.”

The bill now moves on to the Kentucky House of Representatives, where it will be debated and voted on. If it is approved by the House, it will be sent to Governor Andy Beshear for his signature. Beshear, a Democrat, has not yet taken a stance on the bill, but many have called on him to veto it if it passes.

The passage of this bill is just the latest in a series of attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and its rights, both in Kentucky and across the country. In recent years, there has been a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed in states across the country, including so-called “bathroom bills” that seek to restrict transgender people’s access to public restrooms and other facilities.

These bills have faced fierce opposition from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, who see them as a direct attack on their civil rights. They have also been criticized by major corporations and business leaders, who argue that they could harm the economy and harm the ability of states to attract and retain talented workers.

As debates over these issues continue to rage on, it remains to be seen what impact this latest bill will have on the LGBTQ+ community in Kentucky and beyond. Whether it is ultimately defeated, or becomes law, it serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and the need for continued vigilance in the face of discrimination and prejudice.