DAYTON — Darryl Bohannon, who has been performing in drag since the late 1990s, thinks a bill introduced in the Ohio House that would restrict drag shows is about people being fearing what they don’t understand.
If House Bill 245 becomes law, there would be fewer places where drag queens could perform.
Bohannon spoke with News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis outside the headquarters for the Rubi Girls, who have been performing since the 1980s.
And since the early 2000s, he has hosted an LGBTQ+ talk show, “Harpers Bazzaroworld Presents The Ms. Demure Show,” on Dayton Access TV.
Bohannon does not support the legislation.
“People are afraid of what they don’t understand,” he said. “The majority is changing. Just because the majority is changing doesn’t mean that people aren’t good.”
The language in the bill would make it illegal to perform in public places where the performers “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.”
Anyone found to have violated what the bill outline will be guilty of unlawful adult cabaret performance. If this happens with someone under the age of 18 present, then the violator would face a misdemeanor of the first degree, according to the bill’s language.
State Reps. Angela King (R-Celina) and Josh Williams (R-Sylvania) introduced the legislation, which has 40 co-sponsors.
News Center 7 did not hear back from King and a representative for Williams said he was unavailable for comment.
But Williams has been vocal on Twitter. Monday, he tweeted that the bill “would ban adult performances that are obscene from public parks, parades and other places children are present. When this bill becomes law it will be unlawful, and potentially a felony”:
King, via Facebook, said the plan’s only purpose is to protect children.
In reaction to the contention that drag performances are harmful to children, Bohannon said, “Um, I think you need to come to a drag show. I think you need to do your research.”
The issue has been politicized, Bohannon said.
“Something that has always been around is now being used as a tool to dumb down people, so while they’re being distracted, their rights are being taken away from them and we can’t allow this,” he said.
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