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Yo La Tengo cross-dresses to protest Tennessee's drag ban


Yo La Tengo cross-dresses to protest Tennessee's drag ban

Story by LGBTQNation

The cisgender male members of the indie rock band Yo La Tengo dressed in drag during their Nashville concert earlier this week to protest Tennessee’s new ban on “obscene” drag performances.

During the second half of the band’s show at The Basement East live music venue, Yo La Tengo frontman Ira Kaplan appeared in makeup, a wig, and a dress, while bass player James McNew appeared in a sun hat and a knit shawl, according to photos taken at the event.

Though Tennessee was the first U.S. state to pass a law to restrict drag performances, Republican legislators have introduced at least 40 similar bills in state legislatures across the country.

In a statement, ACLU of Tennessee legal director Stella Yarbrough said that the law does not make drag performances illegal in the state. The law only bans drag performances that are “harmful to minors.”

“The legal definition for ‘harmful to minors’ in Tennessee is very narrow and only covers extreme sexual or violent content with no artistic value,” Yarbrough said. “Drag performances do not inherently fall into this category and are protected by the First Amendment.”

Yarbrough also said that the ACLU would “challenge enforcement of this law if it is used to punish a drag performer or shut down a family-friendly LGBTQ event.”


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