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Yo La Tengo Dress In Drag To Protest Tennessee’s Drag Ban

Just weeks after Tennessee became the first state to pass legislation restricting drag shows, indie rockers Yo La Tengo staged a protest against the law by dressing in drag at a Nashville show.

About midway through their Monday night set at the city's Basement East venue, singer and guitarist Ira Kaplan and bassist James McNew took the stage after an intermission sporting new looks, according to photos and video shared by fans.

Kaplan wore makeup, a red dress and a black wig, while McNew donned a shawl and a sun hat, according to The Tennessean.

The New Jersey-based band reportedly did not address the recent legislation signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee, but played out the rest of their set in the clothing.

The law — which was signed on March 2 — restricts “adult cabaret performances,” which it defines as “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers” and “male or female impersonators,” and is set to go into effect next month.

It bans such performances both on public property and in locations “where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”

Image Credit: Pixabay

Republican state Sen. Jack Johnson, who sponsored the bill, told CNN that it “does not ban drag shows in public, it simply puts age restrictions in place to ensure that children are not present at sexually explicit performances.”

Still, it comes amid other similar legislation; on the same day Lee signed the drag bill, he also banned gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youths in Tennessee.

In the wake of the bills, stars like Maren Morris, Sheryl Crow, Brothers Osborne, Hozier and Paramore's Hayley Williams have teamed up for a benefit concert called Love Rising that will take place in Nashville on March 20, according to ‘People’. 

The event will raise funds for the Tennessee Equality Project, inclusion tennessee, OUTMemphis and The Tennessee Pride Chamber, while the Looking Out Foundation will be matching up to $100,000 (approximately £82,500)in donations from supporters.

“SB3/HB9 and SB1/HB1 are clearly targeted attacks on Tennesseans who haven't done anything wrong,” performer Jason Isbell said in a press statement. “These bills add up to an attempt to eradicate a valuable part of our community and force good people to live in fear. We can't in good conscience just stand by and let that happen.”

Read related myGwork articles here:

Daniel Scheinert  Says Drag “Is a Threat to Nobody” During 2023 Oscars Acceptance Speech

Tennessee Suppresses Drag Shows, Bans Gender-Affirming Care For Kids

Tennessee GOP Files Bill To Ban Public Drag Performances

Tennessee Governor Signs Trans Athlete Ban For Collegiate Sports

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