Karine Jean-Pierre
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Republicans in Idaho Are Trying to Ban Drag Performances

Idaho state house

In the latest example of extreme conservative LGBTQ+ panic, Idaho legislators seemingly intend to introduce legislation banning the art form of drag performance.

During the Idaho Legislature's next session, a bill will be introduced that would ban drag performances in all of the state's public spaces, Idaho Family Policy Center president Blaine Conzatti told the Idaho Capital Sun.

Drag performance represents a sexualized representation of gender, according to Conzatti, and he compared it to the racist practice of blackface. 

“You overemphasize certain natural characteristics so much that it becomes a caricature of itself,” the Capital Sun reports him saying.

The Idaho Family Policy Center is an organization that appeared in 2021 with the sole purpose of far-right-wing indoctrination of the state’s lawmakers.

A few months into its existence, it became the organization to draft and push three of the most controversial and significant bills during the 2022 session — one to ban abortions by allowing civil lawsuits against medical providers, one to make gender-affirming care to minors a felony, and one to punish librarians who enable children to access “obscene materials,” according to the Capital Sun.

Conzatti and other conservative activists have protested drag queen events in public spaces and drag queen story times in public libraries. For example, organizers canceled a kids’ event during Boise Pride in September due to threats from negative publicity caused by Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon calling on sponsors to withdraw their names.

The paper reported that Conzatti refused to share the draft’s text with the paper and would not identify the legislators who helped him draft it despite promising to introduce it immediately after the session begins.

“No child should ever be exposed to sexual exhibitions like drag shows in public places, whether that’s at a public library or a public park,” he said.

An example of public indecency, according to Conzatti, is an incident at Pride in the Park in Coeur d’Alene, where a drag performer was accused of exposing himself. The area prosecutor, however, says that somebody edited a video to make it appear as if the drag queen had exposed himself when he had not. Eric Posey, who performed as Mona Liza Million, is suing right-wing Idaho blogger Summer Bushnell for defamation for that incident.

Members of the far right, white supremacist group Patriot Front were arrested on their way to threaten that event.

An Idaho Family Policy Center petition calling for a ban on drag performances in public places was distributed before Boise Pride, citing an Idaho Constitution clause that states that a good government is concerned with the virtue of its citizens and the purity of its homes, the paper reports.

“There were many Supreme Court decisions from the 19th century dealing with public virtue and how sexual practices should not take place in public because it degraded public virtue,” Conzatti said.

Tags: News, Drag, Idaho, Politics, Law

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