Posted on January 27, 2023 at 2:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The freedom-of-expression organization PEN America is raising the alarm about a wave of bills attempting to restrict free expression in various state legislatures.

To be specific, they're targeting drag performances.

And while that may not seem relevant to a book-news blog, it does in fact interest with literature in several ways.

For one, some of the performances that have drawn ire are drag queen reading stories at libraries.

And for another, PEN points out that many bills define drag as "as anyone performing in clothing or in a manner different from the gender assigned to them at birth."

So anyone born as a female, whether they identify as female or not, would be considered to be breaking the law were they to accept a role in a play that presented as male.

That is, a historically accurate production of a William Shakespeare play, in which men played the roles of female characters, would be banned. 

So would any production, period, of Twelfth Night at a high school under certain state bills.

PEN's full statement in opposition to anti-drag laws is up on its website.

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Libraries, Politics

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