A northwest Missouri lawmaker wants drag performances to be classified as “sexually oriented businesses.’”

Rep. Mazzie Christensen, R-Bethany introduced the bill on Wednesday.

It would make engaging in an adult cabaret performance a class A misdemeanor for a first offense, and a class E felony for any additional offenses. The penalties would apply if the performance happens on public property, or in a place where the show could be viewed by a child.

“The intent of the bill is to protect minors,” she told a committee”. Exposing children to sexual content before they are emotionally mature enough to understand is extremely harmful to their brain development. This is about what’s best for our youth.”

The bill was strongly opposed by members of the LGBTQ community, but Rep. Brad Hudson, R-Cape Fair, clarified that the bill targets excessive sexual performances that targets children.

“So, the particular legislation that you brought before us, what you’re trying to do is to make sure that we don’t have these types of performances, these prurient performances, taking place where children could view them,” he said.

Maxi Glamour, a St. Louis-based drag artist, called the bill “homophobic” and “transphobic.”

“While I understand that this bill was put into place by an uncultured individual who hasn’t actually been to a drag show, the last time we were here, the bill was defeated because of the fact that there were many people stating the sociocultural artistic and economic benefits that drag provides to the state of Missouri,” Glamour said.

Rep. Mark Sharp, R-Kansas City, opposed the legislation. He said that singling out the LGBTQ community is “wrong.”

“I have a two-year-old daughter,” he said. “If me and her are at Union Station to go to Science City or to do whatever and there is a drag show happening at the same time, I’m not going to run from that. I’m not scared of her seeing some folks dressed how they want to be dressed. This is the world that we live in. We need to be more receptive to different kinds of folks.”

The bill could be voted on soon.

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