On Friday, opponents of an anti-drag bill, also known as LB 371, rallied in Lincoln.
When Pollie Pocket Roxia first started performing as a drag queen in 2020 there wasn’t much talk about banning drag shows.
But things have quickly changed over the last three years.
“What I do is an art form that has become my hobby and passion for the past 3 years, to have my hobby and passions stripped from me is hard,” said Pollie.
Pollie and her performances are in the crosshairs of a new bill, LB 371.
The bill looks to push drag shows into the realm of adult-only entertainment, banning any minor from attending drag shows or the increasingly popular drag queen story hours.
“This is about making sure kids are not at drag shows and introduced to overly sexual and inappropriate behavior far too early,” said Senator Dave Murman, the introducer of LB 371
The concern from supporters of the bill is that drag entertainment exposes children to sexual themes and performances that might not be age appropriate.
Murman cited examples of Twitter and Instagram posts his office had viewed of drag shows in Lincoln and Omaha as well as websites advertising drag performers with sexually suggestive stage names.
If passed those found violating the law would be guilty of misdemeanor child abuse.
But Pollie and her fellow performers say their shows are tailored to the audience they are performing for. She says when it comes to kids' shows, there is no sexual content.
“Our kids, it's just to show that queer people exist in everyday lives. There is nothing sexual going on ever,” said Pollie.
Pushback on drag shows and story hours has grown in recent years. What started as vocal opposition has turned into organized protests and in some cases, threats of violence.
“This last week though it came to a new level. We received a threat over email, we received a threat the next day before worship began. I have never received an email in my years of ministry, that said today you will die,” said Debra Mcknight, the minister of Urban Abbey in Omaha.
Mcknight says she has tried to reach out to lawmakers opposed to drag to show them that drag shows are harmless to kids.
She says those invitations have gone unanswered and her impression is that lawmakers aren’t interested in learning more about drag.
“They are filled with lies. They are filled with this narrative that we are grooming children, that we are inviting pedophilia. It's just completely unfounded,” said Mcknight.
LB 371 has only been through a committee hearing and hasn’t yet been debated on the floor. LGBTQ advocates say they will be following this and other anti-LGBTQ legislation closely and won’t give up their fight against these bills.
“We are brave, and we will not back down. And we are not going to give up on the trans youth and drag communities of Nebraska,” said Abbi Swatsworth, Executive Director for OUTNebraska
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