Right now in South Carolina, a small group of extremist lawmakers wants the government to investigate, punish, and even imprison small business owners for hosting drag performances.
A bill introduced in January 2023 (House Bill 3616) would place strict prohibitions on events where “a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer's gender assigned at birth” and would threaten hosts with up to 10 years in prison for allowing a minor to see a drag performer.
This is government overreach in its simplest form. Drag is a form of creative expression, and just like dance, fashion, and music, it is protected by the First Amendment. That’s why we at the ACLU of South Carolina are launching a campaign to defend drag.
Want to help?
Follow the link below to sign a petition against the drag ban, and we’ll keep you in the loop as we prepare for the return of the state legislative session in 2024.
In addition to the petition, we’re launching an email writing campaign that will connect you directly with your state representative and senator. Tell them we don’t want the government banning our art and our business.
Next, spread the word with your friends and on social media. We’ve made a few graphics for posting on social media below, so download those and share away. If you are in Charleston or Columbia and would like paper copies of cards and posters with scannable QR codes linking to the petition, email your friendly ACLU-SC Communications Director Paul Bowers (we also have digital copies if you’d like to print your own).
We aren’t in this fight alone. In the coming months at drag shows, brunches, and other events across the state, drag queens and kings will be inviting guests to sign the petition. At recent organizing meetings in Columbia and Charleston, performers expressed concern not just for their livelihood, but for the free expression of all South Carolinians. Their fight is our fight.
If you are a drag performer interested in organizing against the proposed South Carolina drag ban, reach out to the ACLU of South Carolina’s LGBTQ Strategist Matthew Butler via email.
Drag is nothing new. Drag is an expression of queer joy in a world that seeks to snuff it out. We’ll keep the pressure on state lawmakers when they return to Columbia in January, reminding them that We the People means all of us.