Keeping the home fires burning in the culture wars, over in Arizona where election denialists went down in defeat at the top of the ticket but Republicans remain firmly in control of the state legislature, far-right lawmakers have turned to a stack of anti-LGBT and other wedge issue legislation to keep the faithful ginned up. But as Ellie Willard of the Arizona Republic reported last week, the blowback against these far-right “message bills” is torching the culture warriors nicely:
Hundreds of demonstrators flocked to the Arizona Capitol lawn on Sunday afternoon to protest against the proposed anti-drag, LGBTQ, and abortion bills heading to legislators this session…
Earlier this month, an anti-LGBTQ bill was heard at the state Capitol. Senate Bill 1001, sponsored by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, would ban public school employees and contractors from using a student’s preferred name or pronouns unless a parent has given permission. The bill would also allow any school employee or affiliated contractor to refuse to use the student’s pronouns or chosen name because of “religious or moral convictions,” even if the parents gave permission.
While the state Senate approved the bill, Gov. [Katie] Hobbs’ staff has made it clear she would not let it become law.
Three laws are set to be heard in the Arizona Senate this session regarding the restriction of drag performance, including Senate Bill 1026 which prohibits state and federal tax money from being used to pay a drag performer who performs in the opposite gender assigned at birth for shows targeted to minors; Senate Bill 1028, which defines drag performance as “adult cabaret” and restricts performances on public property or in a location where a minor could view it; and Senate Bill 1030, which creates harsher zoning restrictions and necessary permits to host drag performances.
With a Democratic governor (narrowly) in charge in Arizona, none of these bills are going to become law even if they do pass the legislature. But with yet another anti-drag show bill more recently introduced by freshman MAGA Sen. Justine Wadsack of Tucson, clearly meant to be the most restrictive of all by straight-up criminalizing drag shows in view of minors, Senate Bill 1698, the overreach to protect the kids from men in tights takes a turn for the absurd:
(a) Inflicting or allowing sexual abuse pursuant to section 13-1404, sexual conduct with a minor pursuant to section 13-1405, sexual assault pursuant to section 13-1406, molestation of a child pursuant to section 13-1410, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor pursuant to section 13-3552, sexual exploitation of a minor pursuant to section 13-3553, incest pursuant to section 13-3608, UNLAWFUL EXPOSURE TO AN ADULT ORIENTED PERFORMANCE OR ADULT ORIENTED BUSINESS PURSUANT TO SECTION 13-3508 or child sex trafficking pursuant to section 13-3212.
From there, Sen. Wadsack goes on to add her definition of a “drag show” to the list of “adult-oriented performances.”
12. “DRAG SHOW” MEANS A SHOW OR PERFORMANCE FOR ENTERTAINMENT DURING WHICH A SINGLE PERFORMER OR GROUP OF PERFORMERS DO BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING:
(a) DRESS IN CLOTHING AND USE MAKEUP AND OTHER PHYSICAL MARKERS OPPOSITE OF THE PERFORMER’S OR GROUP OF PERFORMERS’ GENDERS AT BIRTH TO EXAGGERATE GENDER SIGNIFIERS AND ROLES.
(b) ENGAGE IN SINGING, DANCING OR A MONOLOGUE OR SKIT IN ORDER TO ENTERTAIN AN AUDIENCE OF TWO OR MORE PEOPLE.
What we have here is an incredibly expansive definition of “drag show” that could result in all kinds of legitimate artistic expression being turned into an allegation of child abuse. For one thing, Sen. Wadsack might want to be aware that since women were not allowed to act on stage in English theaters into the mid-17th Century, the parts in Shakespeare’s plays written for women were originally (hold on to something) played by men! Under this bill, a historically accurate Shakespeare performance in Arizona would be a crime.
This bill like the others that preceded it in Arizona this year will never become law–but in the same spirit as Colorado has become a haven for abortion rights, in the event it becomes necessary our state’s midnight screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show will be there to receive their huddled masses yearning to be fabulous.
Wadsack? Come on, man, that shit's gotta me made up!
Maybe the name is what makes her such a tight-ass.
I cannot for the life of me understand what Sen. Justine Wadsack has against drag queens.
Fear of competition.
"when we are together, Morticia, every night is Halloween…"
Wadsack looks a little like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
"Firmly in control of the state legislature" might be a bit of an exaggeration; Republicans are holding on by the thinnest of margins in Arizona. It's just that they're a bit more unified than McCarthy's Miserable Mob.
Republicans do control both chambers though, and have since forever. The question is whether the lunatic tail wags the dog of their majorities.
It's control by 1 vote, though. Not really "firm" in my opinion, but sufficient to the task for now.
Their first bill passed the Senate, so it’s fair to say hate is in control of the Arizona Senate.
In the long term I agree that Republicans are in trouble in Arizona and trends are moving the state leftward slowly and haltingly. The state will flip blue in coming years and this shit will help that happen.
Hate and stupidity. Remember, the Arizona state senate was the chamber that retained the services of the Cyber Ninjas who proved once again that Joe Biden won Arizona's electoral votes.
You have to love Senator Wad Sack's background photo of phallic-shaped cacti which resemble green dildoes.
Isn't that too sexually explicit for Gilead?
Ribbed, for her pleasure!
On the other hand, Democrats/liberals/progressives wanting to die on the hill of mixing children with drag queens is political madness.
Adults and drag queens … who cares?
Children and drag queens … “Here, take this baseball bat and beat me with it.”
On the third hand,
there’s simply no group of already marginalized persons whom the Republicans/Theocrats/Fascists/GOPers aren’t willing to further dehumanize, vilify, belittle, and demonize in their quest for any meager political gain.
And RIP to the original Wednesday Addams, who just passed a couple days ago!
Having been to a couple of drag shows back in the day and two coronations in 1990's, I must say they can be entertaining. But it is mostly adult humor some of which might be considered politically incorrect by today's standards.
Adult humor, sure…but certainly less titillating than most any cabaret show down at the Clocktower, which I love. Also, we had drag balls in college when I was down at Colorado College. Completely harmless. I even dressed up a couple of times (I had fun playacting, but I do wonder now if I, as a straight cisgender guy, was somehow diluting its importance to my LGBT friends.
I guess Sen. Wadsack wants to outlaw the Three Stooges who appeared in drag at least three times, including episodes entitled "Nutty but Nice" (1940), "Rhythm and Weep" (1946), and "Self-Made Maids" (1951). Who would have ever thought Larry, Moe, and Curly were sexually exploiting children over all those years and should have been locked-up.
I'm old enough to remember Flip Wilson and "Geraldine." Guess that needs to be verboten.
Try to prosecute this shit, and see how constitutionally defective this legislation is.
Jesus. I don't even know what to say.
I guess the good news is that she doesn't leave the child chained to a tree in her backyard in the Arizona heat with nothing but a bowl of water to stay hydrated while mom goes to Phoenix to legislate.
Focus on your own family, Senator Wad Sack.