Arkansas Introduces Heinous Anti-LGBTQ Bill Targeting Trans People

Phaylen Fairchild
6 min readJan 14

The bill aims to classify Drag shows as “Adult Entertainment” similarly to Adult theaters, strip clubs and sex shops.

Conservative legislators have resurrected archaic ideologies in order to weaponize the law against LGBTQ performers and trans or non-binary people in society, specifically when it comes to strict dress codes.

According to the Republican leaders introducing SB43, the bill not only aims to define drag shows exclusively as adult entertainment, but goes as far to define drag as follows:

Exhibits a gender identity that is different from the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other accessories that are traditionally worn by members of and are meant to exaggerate the gender identity of the performer’s opposite sex.

Older generations of LGBTQ+ people will remember the shameful laws impacting the community throughout the 60’s and 70’s that saw trans people and drag performers being arrested and prosecuted for public indecency if they were wearing more than two articles of clothing intended solely to be worn by a member of the opposite sex. In that rather dark era of a history not long enough ago to forget, police frequently assaulted, verbally accosted and jailed any queer person guilty of this “crime” — which wasn’t repealed in New York until 2011, although had largely stopped being cruelly enforced by authorities. The earliest public dress code laws in America can be found embedded in the history books, first in Columbus, Ohio in 1848 where public code of conduct “forbade any person from appearing in public in a dress not belonging to his or her own sex.”

It’s not 1848 anymore, nor 1970, but 2023, and conservative lawmakers that remain deeply mired in religious zealotry have not since then had their appetite to destroy gay and trans people satiated, thus have laid in wait, just as the anti-abortion crusaders have, waiting until the government body leaned far enough conservative to spring into action and finally fulfill their nighttime prayers.

Phaylen Fairchild

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright