Inflation is waning. Donald Trump is drowning in legal peril. Vladimir Putin and his despotic regime could go tyets up at any moment. SCOTUS’ Dobbs decision continues to pour rocket fuel into Democrats’ campaign engines. Meanwhile, Dark Brandon rises.
So what are Republicans to do? What they’ve always done, of course: Hector and abuse a traditionally marginalized and misunderstood minority for votes! It’s the shitty-American way!
Ohio, which grows redder every day as it brutally embarrasses itself by electing still more Republicans, is now going after drag performers because that’s all the rage among irretrievable assholes these days.
In fact, a bill introduced in the Ohio House on Monday would make some drag performances a felony. Because freedom.
Ohio Republicans are targeting direct democracy next month in order to preserve their extremely unpopular six-week abortion ban. Click here to write letters to Democratic-leaning voters urging them to vote “no” on Issue 1 in the Aug. 8 special election. We only have until Tuesday, Aug. 1, to drop these letters in the mail for maximum effect.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
House Bill 245, introduced Monday, is sponsored by 43 members of the GOP supermajority. It would define adult cabaret performers as drag queens, topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers and strippers, among others.
These performers would be guilty of unlawful adult cabaret performances if performed in any location other than an adult cabaret and in the presence of a juvenile under age 18. Violators would face a first-degree misdemeanor criminal charge. If the performance is considered obscene, they’d face a fifth-degree felony charge.
Even more chilling, if any such performance were seen by a child under 13, the charge could be as severe as a fourth-degree felony.
In other words, drag queen story hour is out because drag performances are only okay if Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, or Ronald Reagan star in them.
Under Ohio law, obscenity is a material or performance that, when judged by ordinary adults, is designed to “arouse lust by displaying or depicting sexuality activity, masturbation, sexual excitement, or nudity in a way that tends to represent human beings as mere objects of sexual appetite” or arousing lust by “depicting bestiality or extreme or bizarre violence, cruelty or brutality” without serving any genuine scientific, educational, sociological, moral, or artistic purpose.
Whoa! Wait a tick. So if I admit this video turned me on, I can get Giuliani arrested? Once again I find myself on the horny horns of a dilemma.
As the Plain Dealer notes, drag queen story hours are among the cultural wedge issues Republicans have been using to “other” LGBTQ+ citizens in order to score political points. The wholesome story hours have sparked right-wing protests across the country and in some cases, the “protests” have led to violence.
“There have been multiple documented incidents of self-identified Nazis showing up to performances in Ohio in the past nine months,” Mario Bruno, Equality Ohio’s public policy director, told the PD. “The Department of Homeland Security has sent out multiple alerts indicating the growing threat of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people. Yet instead of addressing guns, targeted intimidation, or any of the escalations of violence that we are seeing in our communities, Ohio’s statehouse politicians instead have chosen to broadly criminalize performing arts.”
One of the bill’s chief sponsors, Republican Josh Williams, tried to deflect attention from the bill’s primary victims by claiming it’s not actually about drag performers. “Nowhere in the bill will you see the term ‘drag queen,’” he said. “What we’re discussing is adult entertainment that is improper to be in the presence of minors, entertainment that would be classified as harmful or obscene.”
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Well, of course “drag queen” isn’t listed in the bill because that would be honest, and Republicans don’t play that game. They just want to herd as many people into the gay-lag as they can while histrionically defending Donald Trump’s right to show top-secret invasion plans to the orderly who administers his 6 PM gravy IV.
As the Plain Dealer noted, the bill’s definition of “adult cabaret performance” instead identifies drag queens as “performers or entertainers who exhibit a gender identity that is different from the performer’s or entertainer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts, or other physical markers.”
So that would include showings of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Tootsie,” “Some Like It Hot,” and “This Is the Army,” starring acclaimed actor
Divine Ronald Reagan. And you can forget about Benny Hill or Monty Python.
Of course some might think targeting mainstream films and TV shows would represent an overly broad interpretation of this bill, but for his part, Williams thinks drag shows definitely qualify as obscene.
“This is a woman in bad makeup reading to a kid,” said Williams, whose 41st District covers part of Toledo and several surrounding suburbs. “This is a performance that demonstrates a different gender in the presence of a child with the sole purpose of desensitizing” the child to drag performers.
Meanwhile, Rep. Angela King, the bill’s other chief sponsor, was recently spotted at a Pride festival in the central-western 84th District protesting gay rights. The LGBTQ+ publication The Buckeye Flame published a video of King with her merry band of protesters, who at one point stood just yards away from a group of neo-Nazis protesting the same thing. Which doesn’t mean she’s a Nazi, of course. It simply means she wholeheartedly agrees with Nazis. On this issue, anyway. But maybe it’s just a coincidence.
Then again, if my big issue were embraced by literal Nazis, I might think about reassessing my life. But that’s just me. And you. And every other decent, fair-minded person in this country, come to think of it.
RELATED STORY: GOP plan to sabotage Ohio abortion amendment failing in new poll
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