Following a ban on drag shows in Tennessee, Texas country-pun band Vandoliers played an entire show in drag.
The group performed their set at the Shed in Maryville, Tennessee with all six members of the group wearing dresses, reports Rolling Stone. Tennessee has enacted a new law that would ban drag in public places. “Fuck a drag bill,” the band writes on their Instagram post announcing the show. “Gonna auction off the dresses we wore onstage in Tennessee tonight and donate the money to a couple of LGBTQ charities in this state.”
There are currently bills in at least 11 states across the country that are working their way through the legislature. Tennessee is the only state with a bill that has been signed into law, and other states looking at regulating drag performances include Arkansas, Texas, South Carolina, Missouri, West Virginia, Arizona, Montana, North & South Dakota, and Nebraska. The wording of the bills in each of these states is vastly different on what it’s banning.
“If drag wasn’t rooted in gay culture and rooted in the queer community, I don’t think it’d be up for debate, Jonathan Hamilt told CNN. “Nobody is banning clowns, nobody is banning miming. This is nothing new, this is just the 2023 trending version of what homophobia looks like.”
Lead singer of the Vandoliers seems to echo the sentiment in his statement to Rolling Stone magazine. “As a band our core mission has always been to be a positive force for energy,” Joshua Fleming told the magazine. “What is happening in Tennessee is a blatant attack on a marginalized class, and we wanted to show all of our friends and fans in THE LGBTQIA+ community our unwavering love and support. We see you, we stand with you, and we’ll fight alongside you. Vandoliers is for everyone. Forever.”
The new Tennessee law will go into effect on July 1, shortly after Nashville Pride.