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A “drag ban” is a catch all term to describe legislation that prohibits people under the age of 18 (kids) from attending events where performers are dressed in a manner contrary to “their gender assigned at birth.”
So far, this legislation is just in the United States and is not present in every state.
The details of the bans are different and may have different punishments. One in Florida, for instance, says that an establishment in violation of this law may have their liquor license revoked.
Why is this important to pole event organizers?
Many common costuming and performance attire for pole dance showcases and competitions may unknowingly violate these types of laws. For instance, a person presenting male performing wearing pole or stiletto heels could trigger the violation if children are also present as other competitors or as attendees.
These issues may prevent hotels, bars, or other venues from wanting to work with your event for fear of losing their liquor license.
If you host showcases, competitions, or other events in your own studio or space or do not allow under 18 people to attend your events hosted elsewhere, you will likely not have any problems with venues.
What can you do?
Some pole events have chosen to make a stand about this issue which seems to be targeted at trans and non-binary people rather than about “protecting” children.
PoleCon, the largest convention-style event in our industry, for instance, has made several statements about this issue to draw attention to it. They will not host an event in any state with one of these bans, which impacts the local economy.
You could contact your local or state legislators, join a protest, write letters, or do other actions to draw attention to these discriminatory laws.
Are these bans present in your state? For a current list and status click here.