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Brits say a big bing bang BOG OFF to US-style drag bans, survey finds

New research has found that 62 per cent of Brits would not support a ban on drag performances, despite a slew of new anti-drag legislation in the US

New research carried out by the More in Common thinktank has found that the majority of the UK population would oppose a drag ban.

Researchers asked survey participants from across all generations and all political parties: “Several states in the United States have proposed legislation to ban public ‘Drag Shows’, a form of entertainment which involves performers impersonating men or women. Would you support such a ban in the United Kingdom?”.

Of the 2,018 respondents, 62 per cent said they would not support a ban on drag performances. A fifth said they would support such a ban, while 19 per cent did not know. 

Supporters of the Green Party and SNP were most likely to reject a ban on drag (74 per cent in both cases) while Conservatives were most likely to support a ban (24 per cent). 

The research comes after a slew of anti-drag laws in the US. Most notably, Tennessee passed a bill earlier this month which prohibits drag performances from taking place “on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.” Lawmakers argued that it is an inherently adult form of entertainment which “appeals to a prurient interest”.

Additionally, other anti-drag bills have been filed in at least 14 other states including Arizona, Kentucky, Texas and West Virginia, with more attacks on drag expected to be on the way. Many of these laws and proposals would make it illegal for children to watch drag, even in the context of Drag Story Hour, a children’s literacy programme which organises events where drag queens read children’s stories in public libraries.

Thankfully, some other states are adopting more progressive attitudes towards gender expression. California governor Gavion Newsom slammed Tennessee governor Bill Lee for the drag ban on Twitter, while President Joe Biden said Republicans’ efforts to block transgender rights are “cruel”. Additionally, in Maryland, the Trans Health Equity Act has just progressed out of committee. If passed, the bill would require Maryland Medicaid, beginning in 2024, to provide additional coverage for additional gender-affirming treatments, which are currently disallowed in the state’s plan but commonly covered by private insurance.