Ohio Republicans introduce bill aiming to restrict drag performances

COLUMBUS — Republicans in the Ohio House are trying to restrict drag performances across the state.

House Bill 245 aims to prohibit drag performances “in locations other than adult cabarets.”

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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.

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The bill described adult cabarets as “a nightclub, bar, juice bar, restaurant, bottle club, or similar commercial establishment, whether or not alcoholic beverages are served, that regularly features:”

  • Persons who appear in a state of nudity or semi-nudity
  • Live performances characterized by the exposure of specified anatomical areas or specified sexual activities
  • Films, motion pictures, video cassettes, slides, or other photographic reproductions characterized by their emphasis upon the exhibition or description of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.

H.B. 245 has over 40 co-sponsors. Reps. Angela King (R-Celina) and Josh Williams (R-Sylvania) are the bill’s primary sponsors. It has only been introduced in the Ohio House.

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