Idaho lawmakers are not trying to drag this out.

A bill banning drag performances in public venues is set to hit the Idaho Legislature in the first few days of its next session in January, Idaho Family Policy Center President Blaine Conzatti told the Idaho Capital Sun.

The bill has already been drafted, said Conzatti, who declined to reveal the lawmakers who worked with him on it.

“No child should ever be exposed to sexual exhibitions like drag shows in public places, whether that’s at a public library or a public park,” Conzatti said, equating the performances to blackface practices.

“You overemphasize certain natural characteristics so much that it becomes a caricature of itself,” he said.

The bill was prefaced by a petition circulated by the Idaho Family Policy Center leading up to Boise Pride in September. It asked state lawmakers to prohibit drag performances in public places because of its lewd content. The petition referenced the Idaho Constitution’s “first concern” of protecting the “virtue and sobriety of the people, and the purity of the home.”

More than 3,500 people signed the petition, according to the Idaho Capital Sun, and more than 26,000 emails were sent to corporate sponsors of Boise Pride over the course of a day and a half.

A drag queen who goes by the name Flame reads stories to children and their caretakers during a Drag Story Hour at a public library in New York, Friday, June 17, 2022.
Idaho legislators will introduce a bill banning drag performances from public venues.
AP/Seth Wenig

The petition was initiated last month after a biologically male drag queen was accused of exposing his genitals at a community event with children present. The performer was later cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation by Coeur d’Alene officials.

Boise Pride Executive Director Donald Williamson said the bill would be a violation of free speech.

“It’s just wrong on so many levels,” Williamson said. “If you don’t agree with the performances, then you don’t go. It’s just like any other venue. It’s why I don’t go to country music concerts; it’s not my cup of tea.”

In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021, file photo, lawmakers in the House of Representative debate a bill in the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho.
The bill was prefaced by a petition circulated by Idaho Family Policy Center.
AP/Keith Ridler

Idaho has hammered down on a series of drag events after recent protesting. “Drag storytime” was canceled in Twin Falls during Pride month, KMVT reported, and Boise postponed its “Drag Kids” performance for 11- to 18-year-olds after Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon called for constituents to put pressure on Boise Pride sponsors to pull their support from the event.

In Texas, a video of a drag queen performing in front of a child prompted legislators to call for lawful action.

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