House Bill 1116 would prohibit the hosting of “lewd or lascivious” programs or events, including drag shows, on state-owned facilities.
The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1116. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and expression.
Drag is a visual expression and celebration of the culture and resilience of the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community, and is paved into the history of the movement. It is performance art and entertainment with elements of singing, dancing, lip syncing, and costuming. This bill violates the First Amendment rights of students and student organizations in South Dakota to build community and express themselves through drag performances.
Additionally, as written, House Bill 1116 would prevent schools from teaching certain pieces of classic literature depicting the existence of transgender individuals and drag performances that have long been included in educational standards.
We don’t want the government deciding which types of theater and entertainment are allowable and which aren’t beyond what is already an established constitutional norm.