Alabama lawmakers introduce bills targeting drag shows, gender terms

State lawmakers have filed two new bills that opponents say unnecessarily target LGBTQ Alabamians.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2023 at 7:58 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Opponents say two newly filed bills in the Alabama legislature target LGBTQ Alabamians. The bills call for a ban on drag shows and create the “What is a Women Act.”

Rep. Arnold Mooney, R- Shelby County, has a bill to ban drag performances around children. The bill labels a child’s exposure to drag queens or kings as sexual conduct and a nuisance. It prohibits performances from schools, libraries and other public places where minors could be present.

Josh Coleman with Central Alabama Pride says they host drag shows all the time, but none specifically tailored for children.

“This really limits freedom of expression and free speech that we’re guaranteed under the Constitution,” said Coleman. “However, some parents have chosen to bring their children to drag brunches or stuff that happens during the day at venues that are safe and affirming.”

“I do agree with the concept that children need to be kept safe from issues that they are not prepared mentally to face,” said Rep. Susan DuBose, R-Jefferson County.

DuBose says her concern is that the drag show bill will limit speech or expression.

“Very important constitutionally to protect our freedom of speech and freedom of expression for consenting adults. But as long as this bill specifically protects children, I’m absolutely in favor of that,” she said.”

DuBose is the sponsor of the separate “What is a Women Act.” Some states know it as a Women’s Bill of Rights,” said DuBose. She said her bill is meant to protect women.

Her bill puts into state code the definition of certain terms in regard to sex and gender. These include:

  • Boy - A male who is under 19 years of age
  • Father - The male parent of a child or children.
  • Female - An individual whose biological reproductive system is designed to produce ova.
  • Girl - A female who is under 19 years of age.
  • Male - An individual whose biological reproductive system is designed to fertilize the ova of a female.
  • Man - An adult individual who is a male.
  • Mother - The female parent of a child or children.
  • Sex - An individual’s biological sex at birth.
  • Woman - An adult individual who is female.

It also requires school districts or state agencies that collect vital statistics to identify individuals as either male or female at birth.

“We’re all going to work, live, play together, go to church together. We’re going to all be friends, but there will be these rare instances when it’s very important to keep biological women separate and safe,” said DuBose.

The “What is a Women Act” is said to have bipartisan support. Jefferson County Rep. Patrick Sellers is the only Democrat co-sponsor, we were unable to reach him for comment.

Neither bill is on the committee calendar for this week.

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