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Restrictions on Drag Performances

Drag is an art form dating back centuries and is a vital part of LGBTQ culture and history. While state laws restricting gender-based dress also date back to at least the 1800s, 2023 brought a resurgence of efforts to limit free speech and expression in the form of drag performances. These attacks are part of a much broader and coordinated effort attacking gender expression, transgender people, and the LGBTQ community more broadly. For more, read MAP's ongoing series Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State law explicitly restricts drag performances (2 states)
  • State law does not explicitly restrict drag performances (48 states , 5 territories + D.C.)
  • State has law about "adult" performances that could be used to target or restrict drag (4 states)
*Notes:
--Florida's law targeting drag is currently unenforceable due to a temporary block on the law issued June 2023. The state has already appealed the decision. 
--Montana's law restricting drag performances is currently unenforceable due a federal court order issued July 2023. 
--Tennessee's law restricting drag performances is currently unenforceable due to a federal court order issued March 2023, and a subsequent decision ruling the law unconstitutional. The state has already appealed the decision.
--Texas' law targeting drag is unenforceable due to a federal court decision ruling the law unconstitutional in September 2023. The state may appeal the decision.
--This map will be updated as these cases progress.

Recommended citation:

Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Restrictions on Drag Performances." https://www.mapresearch.org/equality-maps/criminaljustice/drag_restrictions. Accessed 05/20/2024.


Percent of Adult LGBTQ Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBTQ adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBTQ adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

2%

2 % of LGBTQ population lives in states with laws restricting drag performances

98%

98 % of LGBTQ population lives in states with no law restricting drag performances

16%

16 % of the population lives in states with laws about "adult" performances that could be used to target or restrict drag

Key
  • State does not have this lawState law explicitly restricts drag performances
State Drag Performance Restrictions
Alabama
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana State does not have this law
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee State does not have this law
Texas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Data current as of 05/20/2024
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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