Montana has reportedly now become the first state to prohibit individuals in drag from reading to children in public schools and libraries, as part of a slew of legislation aimed at protecting children from radical ideology and sexualization.
Bills in Florida and Tennessee also appear to prohibit drag reading events, but both require that the performances be of a sexual nature.
The law in Montana is special because it prohibits such events even if it specifies that they must be hosted by a drag king or queen who reads children’s books to young children.
According to Sasha Buchert, an attorney with Lambda Legal, a national group that works to defend the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV and AIDS, Montana’s statute is the first to expressly forbid drag reading events.
More than half of the Republican-controlled legislature joined in co-sponsoring the law, which was signed on Monday by Republican Governor Greg Gianforte.
The original intent of the measure was to prohibit children from attending drag shows.
Later, the law was changed to make it illegal for children to attend sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable performances on public grounds.